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Famous fantasy castles and their real-life representations

Castles, the now-lavish, over-dimensioned historical structures, were built at a time when muscle-fuelled weaponry was the front and centre in battles and invasions. The European continent boasts some of the most famous and massive castles and fortresses found with preponderance in Wales, Italy, and France, among other states. Surprisingly or not, despite the natural association of these structures with medieval England, 25,000 of the 1MN castles worldwide are found in Germany.

You don't get to see castles built for defence in the USA, as there were no such attacks when building such structures was the only and best way to protect a kingdom from enemies. Still, you can see huge houses resembling defensive castles built by the wealthiest during the Gilded Age. And many of these showy and extravagant constructions were, interestingly and paradoxically, being constructed when the concept of one-bedroom apartments had already caught on. The cleverly-packed studio flat kitchen that sees booming demand these days and has its roots in the artsy New York of the 19th century is, if you want, the concept that succeeded in holding up to this day, unlike the castle-inspired mansions. History has its way of leaving the modern generation open-mouthed, yet the contemporaneity of castles and studio flats is only the tip of the iceberg.

Fictional writings and cinematographic pieces have gained a lot of inspiration from real-life castles, while some artistic works inadvertently evoke real castles in their depictions of settings. With this in mind, we're diving into the constructions you're likely to visit these days if you're planning your trips around this motif. The big thing here is that the following castles are the palpable counterparts of those you're coincidentally seeing in the movies, books, video games, and more.

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Alnwick Castle and Hogwarts

Even if we may never be the lucky recipients of a Hogwarts acceptance letter, we're blessed to have a pretty similar version of it in England. One of the most massive inhabited fortresses to date, Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, has to rank among the most breathtaking castles you'll see. While it was used as a filming setting for the Chamber of Secrets and the Philosopher's Stone, many small details convince even the most critical Potter-heads that this construction is just a 1:1 rep. Mainly the fortress behind the magical Hogwarts, the medieval castle was built in the 11th century, so we have all the reasons to believe there could be a connection between the two besides the fact that the baileys and courtyards hosted staff and students serving at the realization of the iconic fantasy masterpiece.

Fans of the Harry Potter movie and films alike don't have to dream about entering the magical courtyard. The castle is part of Durham University and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so it gathers plenty of visitors, among whom you could find yourself one day. You'll set foot in the place that starred in the first two H.P. movies, which comes close to getting the sought-after acceptance letter.

The Castle on the Rock and the Eyrie

The Eyrie, also known as the main fortress of House Arryn, lays dormant on the Westeros' east coast, straddling a summit within the Mountains of the Moon. And the Eyrie, remarked as a petrifying formation owing to the lack of access, is easily one of the most dramatic evocations of a fantasy stronghold. For a little context, it's worth remembering that those who came close to the fortress were at risk of suffering. Three way-castles, namely Stone, Snow, and Sky, represented some of the most iconic locations, alongside the 'sky cells' that pushed the Eyrie to popularity as a terrible imprisonment space.

The Eyrie resembles the SF-like England years-long fortress known as the Castle on the Rock in numerous vital points. The height, for instance, is a critical attribute of both. Similarly to Eyrie's construction, the 'Castellum de Rupe' protected the interior ward through the position of the natural peaks around. And regarding the famous sky cells in the Games of Thrones, known for holding Tyrion Lannister, England's strongholds are by default just as intimidating.

Hence, you can visit 'Beeston, the Rocky Castle' if you've adored the GOT's starred magical settings – you're promised to get goosebumps.

Bran Castle and Dracula Castle

There's a place that's not precisely marketed for every faint of heart. Bram Stoker, the famous author behind Count Dracula's novel, has passed down through generations a gift around which perplexities have yet to be clarified. The author is said to have never visited the Bran Castle near Brasov, in Romania. Yet, the castle of Dracula depicted in its books resembles the Bran Castle, also known as Hunyadi Castle. Furthermore, some literary analysts have drawn parallels between the Romanian fortress perched atop a hill and the Whitby Abbey in England.

Outside Transylvania, the famous Romanian fortress is associated with and known as the homeland of Vlad the Impaler. Expect to see a one-of-a-kind architectural structure built in Gothic style to serve as a fortress. As you may observe, it's not a 1:1 rep of the castle you may imagine when thinking of a fortress where people are tortured and impaled. However, the Huffington Post ranked it among the top fairytale-like structures to date and the second most frightening castle in this category worldwide.

Neuschwanstein Castles and the Sleeping Beauty Castle

Neuschwanstein Castles, one of the most famous, massive, and uniquely designed structures of this type worldwide, often resemble a God's wonder. With deep blue turrets and a limestone façade, the buildings are said to be the live inspiration behind the castle evoked in the Sleeping Beauty masterpiece, which inspired Walt Disney when Cinderella was envisioned. Furthermore, it doesn't matter if you're a fan of the artwork.

The Neuschwanstein Castle, residing on the edge of an Alpine mountain, stands out in numerous ways, such as ranking among the most visited German landmarks and being designed to bewilder the viewers.

As you'll get to see, fantasy often turns into reality if you're down to meet your favourite SF locations halfway!

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