The 15 Oldest Castles In The World

Written by Patrick MacFarland
Published: March 8, 2024
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Calling all castle chasers! Castles are these magnificent buildings that are grandiose. Many of them were built in medieval times to protect from enemies. Surely, you’ve heard of castles in fair tales — the fortified walls, the moats, and the towers. There are such buildings throughout the world. Some look like the castles in those fairy tales you read as a kid, but others look different. Some castles have existed for thousands of years, whereas others are only a couple hundred years old. Let’s take a look at the 15 oldest castles in the world.

15. Alcázar de Segovia

Alcazar Castle in Segovia, Spain

The Spanish castle, located in Segovia, was built before 1120.

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Once an Arab fortress that was built on top of a Roman one, the Alcázar was seized by King Alfonso VI. He and his English wife lived there and started building an expansion and renovation, which is what exists today.

14. Byblos Castle

Byblos Castle

The castle located in Lebanon was built in 1103.

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Known as the Castle of Gibelet during the Crusades, the Crusaders built this castle in the 11th century as a form of defense. The castle located in Byblos is now a museum that is open to visitors.

13. Hohenbaden Castle

Panorama over Baden-Baden, showing the surrounding parks, trees and hills, including Hohenbaden castle, Germany

The German castle was built in 1102.

©Glen Berlin/Shutterstock.com

Located in Baden-Baden, the margraves of Baden made their home in the castle for about 400 years. It was built by Herman II and served as a residence. Furthermore, it was expanded several times over the years and now are ruins.

12. Cardiff Castle

Norman Keep, Cardiff Castle, Autumn, Cardiff, Wales, UK

The Welsh Castle was built in the late 11th century.

©Billy Stock/Shutterstock.com

Located in Cardiff, Wales, the castle was made of motte and bailey and was built by the Norman invaders on top of a Roman fort. Over the years, it was expanded and also refurbished to its current look. Today, you can visit the castle.

11. Rochester Castle

A view of Rochester castle and cathedral, UK from the castle grounds

The English castle was built in 1087.

©Nicola Pulham/Shutterstock.com

Located in Rochester, Kent, William II wanted to control a river crossing and so ordered the construction of the fortification. Moreover, the castle was made of stone, which was innovative and avant-garde for the times. Today, it is open to the public for visits.

10. Tower of London

Tower of London, England

The English castle and fortress were built around 1078.

©iStock.com/rabbit75_ist

The Tower of London is infamous for being a prison, but that was not what it was built for originally. Moreover, it was a royal residence that had fortified walls and a moat. Today, the crown jewels are held here and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

9. Hohensalzburg Castle

Beautiful view of Salzburg skyline with Festung Hohensalzburg and Salzach river in summer, Salzburg, Salzburger Land, Austria

The Austrian castle was built in 1077.

©canadastock/Shutterstock.com

Gebhard I of Helffenstein was the person who ordered the construction of the castle in 1077. It was a fortress that was later expanded. Furthermore, it was used by the archbishops of Salzburg for hundreds of years. Today, it is a tourist attraction in Salzburg.

8. Hohenwerfen Castle

Burg Hohenwerfen, Werfen, Austria

The Austrian castle was built in 1075.

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Also built by Archbishop Gebhard, it started construction in 1075 and finished in 1078. Furthermore, it was used as a prison, military base, and other things. Today, it is owned by the state of Salzburg where you can still visit.

7. Windsor Castle

The English castle was built in 1078.

©iStock.com/iweta0077

Owned by the Royal Family, Windsor Castle was built around the time William the Conquerer was leader. Every monarch since King Henry I has used Windsor Castle and today it is a tourist attraction.

6. Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle,England

The English castle was built in 1078.

©wolfman57/iStock via Getty Images

William the Conquerer ordered the construction of the castle, but 200 years later, it was rebuilt over time. Furthermore, this is where Caesar’s Tower and Dungeon are located, which was added in 1350. Today, the castle is owned by the Tussauds Group.

5. Reichsburg Cochem

Fantastic view of the beautiful German town of Cochem at the Moselle River and the world-famous Reichsburg against a blue sky

The castle located in Germany was built in 1000.

©Karl-Hendrik Tittel/iStock via Getty Images

The Palatine Count Ezzo is believed to have ordered the castle built for himself and his family. Built in the Gothic Revival style of architecture after it was somewhat destroyed in 1688, the castle is owned by the city of Cochem.

4. Château de Doué-la-Fontaine

Old red bike in the vineyards in France.

The French castle, built in 950, is located in the Anjou province.

©Labellepatine/Shutterstock.com

Located in Doué-en-Anjou, the castle served as a fortress for an entire commune. Known as Motte de la Chapelle, the castle was built on top of a 9th-century Carolingian foundation. Today, the castle is not in good condition, but you can visit the grounds.

3. Prague Castle

Prague Castle and Mala Strana, Czech Republic

The castle located in the Czech Republic was built in 880.

©KavalenkavaVolha/iStock via Getty Images

Located in Prague, the castle looks mysterious and as if it were haunted. Furthermore, the castle holds the record as the largest one in the world — a whopping 70,000 square meters. Built as a fortress, you can visit the castle and it is also the office of the Czech Republic’s President.

2. Ghumdan Palace

Old city of Sanaa the capital of Yemen. View on the city from roof

Located in Yemen, Ghumdan Palace was built in the mid-3rd century.

©Oleg Znamenskiy/Shutterstock.com

Although Ghumdan Palace is not a working castle, there are ruins of it that you can visit in the city of Sana’a. This centuries-old castle was built over time, by Shem (the son of Noah) in the 3rd century and then finished in the 8th century. Lastly, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

1. Citadel of Aleppo

Citadel of Aleppo

The castle located in Syria was built in the 3rd millennium BCE.

©dmitriymoroz/iStock via Getty Images

Located in Aleppo, the Citadel of Aleppo has been around for at least a millennium, but it was during the Ayuubid dynasty that the current castle was built. That happened in the 12th century. Lastly, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The photo featured at the top of this post is ©


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About the Author

Patrick Macfarland is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel, geography, and history. Patrick has been writing for more than 10 years. In the past, he has been a teacher and a political candidate. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from SDSU and a Master's Degree in European Union Studies from CIFE. From San Diego, California, Patrick loves to travel and try new recipes to cook.

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