童话故事中的场景 Straight out of a fairy tale
Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles, Bavaria, Germany
The Bavarian Alps, a mountain range in southern Germany, are home to these enchanting 19th-century castles, Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. Neuschwanstein Castle, on the left of our homepage image, was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Building work began in 1869 on this Romanesque Revival palace with its fairy-tale-like architecture and breathtaking mountain backdrop. Across the valley, gazing out over Lake Alpsee, is the equally spectacular Hohenschwangau Castle, built by Ludwig II's father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria. These two castles boast rich interiors with intricate artwork and historical artifacts. Both castles attract millions of visitors every year, offering a glimpse into the opulent past of Bavaria.
你知道“阿尔萨斯之眼”吗？ Did you know the "Eye of Alsace"?
Haut-Barr Castle, Vosges
Haut-Barr Castle is a medieval fortress situated at an altitude of 450 meters (1,476 ft), in northern Alsace. Built in 1170, it underwent significant transformations and restorations during the centuries. Its construction was initiated by the bishops of Strasbourg with the purpose of overseeing the Zorn Valley and the Alsace plain, earning it the evocative nickname "the eye of Alsace." On a clear day, it is possible to catch a glimpse of the spire of Strasbourg Cathedral.
The castle, constructed on three rocks, is connected by a bridge, known as "the Devil's Bridge." Legend has it that its construction is attributed to the devil as it would have been impossible for anyone to build such a sturdy bridge. The tale goes that a devil disguised as a peddler appeared at the castle's entrance and offered his services to build the bridge. In exchange, he asked for the soul of the first creature to cross it. To avoid sacrificing a human soul, the bishops reportedly sent an animal to cross the bridge first. Even the devil sometimes struggles to compete with the deceit of others!
Füzér Castle in the Zemplén Mountains, Hungary
Hungary is a country blessed with stunning landscapes and a host of historic castles. From the opulent Buda Castle in Budapest, with its commanding views of the Danube, to Eger Castle, renowned for its heroic defense against the Turks, each site has a story to tell.
Our homepage image shows one such stronghold, Füzér Castle, which crowns the Zemplén Mountains near Hungary's northern border and dates back to the 13th century. Perched at an elevation of over 1,800 feet above sea level, this castle stands on a mountain of volcanic origin. Here, within its ancient stone walls, the crown of Hungary was hidden following the country's defeat by the Ottoman Empire in the 1526 Battle of Mohács. After years of ruin, the castle's chapel was restored in 2016, and the keep was rebuilt to its former glory.
小心龙出没！ Watch out for dragons!
Though you might instinctively watch out for invading fleets or dragons overhead, you're more likely to encounter a tourist than a Lannister in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik. As you may know, 'Game of Thrones' filmed here frequently throughout the run of the show, and you can scarcely blame them; Dubrovnik's Old Town is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in the world. For centuries it flourished as the Republic of Ragusa, maintaining independence through diplomacy and robust trade networks. This 'Pearl of the Adriatic' has withstood military bombardments and devastating earthquakes, yet the city has always rebuilt and persevered. While pop culture, history, and UNESCO World Heritage Site status are all big draws, they might be too effective: A recent report estimated that in 2019 there were 36 tourists for every resident.
Cloughoughter Castle, County Cavan, Ireland
Cloughoughter Castle sits on a small island in the middle of Lough Oughter, a huge complex of lakes and waterways in County Cavan in Ireland. Its first stones are thought to have been laid in the early 13th century by the Anglo-Norman de Lacy family, but the O'Reilly clan took possession of the area in 1233 and completed the castle's construction. They retained control of Cloughoughter Castle for centuries, but by 1653, it had been bombed and abandoned. Since then, it has been in ruins, resplendent in a sort of tattered grandeur. It can only be visited by boat but, as a symbol of Ireland's medieval heritage, it is a must-see for history and castle enthusiasts alike.
奢华的迷宫 A labyrinth of luxury
Château de Villandry, France
The Château de Villandry in France is renowned for its exquisite gardens that are considered a masterpiece of Renaissance horticulture. The gardens, which are divided into sections, feature geometric patterns, vibrant flowerbeds, serene water elements, and meticulously trimmed hedges. Each section has its own theme, ranging from ornamental to practical, and is bursting with a stunning blend of colors and textures. The château's gardens showcase the harmonious relationship between architecture and nature. Stunning gardens have surrounded the château since it was built in 1532, but their appearance changed drastically over the centuries. After Joachim Carvallo acquired the estate, he spent 10 years from 1918 reinventing and restoring the Renaissance formal gardens. Other elements have been added in the decades since and the gardens continue to captivate visitors to this day.
历史在这里复活 Where history comes alive
Old Fortress, Corfu, Greece
This imposing structure is the Old Fortress on the Greek island of Corfu, off the western coasts of Greece and Albania. Situated in a strategic location between the Ionian and Adriatic seas, Corfu became one of the most fortified places in Europe amid successive sieges by the Ottoman Empire. The island was ruled by the Republic of Venice for 400 years until the late 18th century, which built forts in Corfu's Old Town to defend its maritime trading interests. They held off three Ottoman sieges in 1537, 1571, and 1716 but have been repaired, rebuilt, and added to over the centuries. The Old Fortress has witnessed the rise and fall of mighty empires for hundreds of years, from the tip of a rocky peninsula jutting into the sea. These days, however, it is home to the public library and Corfu's archives.