Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Sam. Sam Wonders, “What Country Has The Most Castles?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Sam!
Picture it: It’s a beautiful day, and you’ve just come in from the yard. You hear music from the great hall. You’re ready for some rest, so you climb the steps of the tower. Finally in your room, you lie down. You’re safely surrounded by stone walls, armed guards, and a moat. It’s great living in a castle!
Few people live in castles today, but these great structures have been around for a long time. They were very popular during the Middle Ages when royal families built them to live in. Today, most castles are non-residential.
Instead, castles welcome thousands of tourists each year. Would you like to see one? If you want to see as many castles as possible, where should you go? What country has the most?
If castle-gazing is what you’re after, your first stop should be Germany. It has more of the structures than any other country. There are so many castles in Germany that the total number is not known. Some think it could be over 25,000! The European Castle Institute started recording German castles in 2018 to get an exact number. However, it expects to spend ten years completing its count.
Why does Germany have so many castles? There’s no one reason, but the nation’s history can provide an explanation. Before Germany became one nation, it was made up of many tribes. Records dating back to 3,500 B.C.E. show that these tribes fought with each other. They were also under constant threat from outside invaders. German tribes built castles to protect themselves.
Germany wasn’t alone. Castles popped up all over Europe to keep out both Vikings and Romans. Many castles still stand in France, Spain, and Great Britain today. Wales even has the highest number of castles per square mile. Still, no other country built as many castles as Germany.
Wouldn’t it be great to see all 25,000 German castles? Where would you even start? Most people likely wouldn’t have time to see them all. Two of the most often visited are Wartburg Castle and Lichtenstein Castle.
Wartburg Castle is one of the oldest castles still standing in Germany. Built in 1067, it has a long history. It once attracted many famous poets and even hosted a yearly poetry contest. In 1521, Martin Luther stayed at Wartburg after he left the Catholic Church. There, he translated the Bible into German in just ten weeks.
Lichtenstein Castle stands on a cliff. A drawbridge connects it to the nearest land. The castle was built in 1377, but its tallest tower was added a hundred years later. Today, visitors to Lichtenstein Castle say it looks like it could be from a fairytale.
Other famous castles in Germany include Marksburg, Munzenberg, and Burghausen. With so many structures, no one in the country has to look far for a new castle adventure. Would you like to tour a castle in Germany? How about all 25,000? Visiting German castles is a great way to learn about history and architecture. You can also learn a lot by visiting old buildings where you live! What interesting structures are near you?
Standards: C3.D2.2, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.8, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2