If you’re a lover of history, a museum visit doesn’t always cut it. Sometimes the most satisfying experience you can have is actually visiting structures that have been standing for hundreds of years and walking in the footsteps of some of the most prominent figures in history.
Luckily, several buildings from the medieval period are still standing, and are open to visitors. Inside places like Venice’s Doge’s Palace and London’s White Tower, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time as you learn all about the building’s extensive history. Check out these 10 amazing medieval buildings that are still standing today.
10 De Haar Castle, Netherlands
One of the most spectacular medieval castles to visit is the De Haar Castle of the Netherlands. With centuries of history behind it, the castle came into the ownership of the De Haar family in the 14thcentury, according to The Culture Trip. In the years that followed, it put up with war, pillages, and periods of abandonment.
In the late 1800s, the castle was restored thanks to funding provided by the Rothschild family. As part of the refurbishments, many of the rooms were fitted with electric lights and central heating.
9 Dublin Castle, Ireland
One of the most popular landmarks in Dublin, Dublin Castle was originally constructed with the intention of creating a fortress. King John of England ordered the castle to be built on a piece of raised land that once housed a Viking settlement. Between 1204 and 1922 the castle served as the seat of the English and their rule in Ireland.
In 1684, there was a fire that caused major damage to the castle. Luckily, parts of the original building are still standing today, and are open for visitors to explore.
8 The Doge’s Palace, Italy
There are several buildings in Venice that make the city seem as if it’s filled with magic, and one of them is the Doge’s Palace in St. Mark’s Square. A Gothic building dating back to the 14th century (with origins extending back to the fall of the Western Roman Empire), the palace was once the seat of the Venetian government. It has been operating as a museum since 1923.
The Doge’s Palace is one of the most popular landmarks in Venice and tends to appear on many people’s itineraries right beside taking a gondola ride and visiting the Rialto Bridge.
7 The White Tower, England
The Tower of London is one of the most famous attractions in the English capital for those who are even remotely interested in history. Dating back to the 11thcentury, the White Tower was built by William the Conqueror and is a fine example of Norman architecture.
According to History Extra, many prisoners were interned and executed in the White Tower. Notable prisoners, such as Guy Fawkes, are even said to have been tortured in the basement of the White Tower. An eerie and fascinating place to visit, this is one medieval attraction not to be missed.
6 Corvin Castle, Romania
Sometimes referred to as Hunyadi Castle, Corvin Castle looks like something out of a fairytale. Located in Hunedoara, Romania, the castle is one of the largest in Europe and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Romania. Corvin Castle was originally built in 1446 and restored in the 1800s.
Players of the computer game Age of Empires II might recognize this castle, as it served as the inspiration for the wonder building of the game’s Magyar civilization. Once serving as a fortress, the building was later upgraded into a Transylvanian castle.
5 Dunrobin Castle, Scotland
If you’re interested in medieval buildings, Scotland is one of the best destinations to add to your bucket list. One of the most notable structures is Dunrobin Castle, located on the country’s northern coast. Boasting 189 rooms, the castle is the biggest of its kind in the northern Highlands and is the historic home of the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland.
The castle dates all the way back to the early 1300s and is now open for self-guided tours. Inside you’ll find grand staterooms, a formal garden, and a Victorian museum.
4 La Conciergerie, France
During its history of around 800 years, La Conciergerie has had many purposes. At one point or another, it has served as a royal residence, a courthouse, and even a prison. During the French Revolution, the former palace was primarily used as a place of detention, and it was here that Marie-Antoinette was imprisoned.
While touring the building today, you can see the chapel that exists on the site of Marie-Antoinette’s cell. You’ll also discover the original kitchens built under King John the Good, as well as the Guards Room and Hall of Soldiers.
3 The Rector’s Palace, Croatia
Situated in the Croatian coastal city of Dubrovnik, the Rector’s Palace once served as the seat of the Rector of the Republic of Ragusa. Between the 14thand 19thcenturies, it was home to an armory, a prison, and a watch house, and is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
Though the Palace was originally built in the Gothic style, it was badly damaged by a gunpowder explosion in 1463. As a result, Renaissance-style repairs were made to it. Elements of the Baroque style may also be found, and according to Interesting Engineering, these were made during reconstructions in the 16thcentury.
2 Dover Castle, England
Dover Castle was constructed under the order of King Henry VII in the 1180s and designed to defend the British coast. It was also used to impress guests, and according to History Extra, the king spent £5,991 building, decorating, and perfecting the castle in order to make it truly impressive.
The castle stands on a strategic spot as it overlooks the shortest sea crossing between England continental Europe. During its time, the castle has had to protect England several times, and in the process, it has been part of many violent conflicts.
1 Kilkenny Castle, Ireland
Ireland’s Kilkenny Castle became the property of Ireland in the mid 20thcentury, but construction actually finished in 1213. Historians believed that it was used to help defend the town against attackers during the Norman Conquests from its strategic position overlooking the River Nore.
In the original design, the castle had four towers surrounding its square shape, although only three of them remain visible today. On the grounds, you’ll find an art gallery, a farm, beautiful gardens, and the official guesthouse of the Irish State. Out of all the stunning castles to see in Ireland, this is one of the best!