Tower of London, England. A close up of the battlements - the openings cut out of the parapet to allow for shooting arrows. This is a defining architectural feature of castles.Castles were built for, or evolved into, the residence for the monarch or for nobility. As such, castles were often a central place to entertain, and the architectural grandeur increased in importance to reflect the position of the main inhabitant of the castle. With the invention of gunpowder, and the resulting changes in military strategy, the use of the castle moved from defense more to residence. This transition began in the 14th century, and was fully underway by the 15th century.
One of the most famous castles in England, residence of the Queen of England, Windsor Castle. It is the largest occupied castle in the world, and is over 900 years old.From the late 18th century through the 20th century, there was a revival in interest in Medieval times and Gothic Revival architecture. The castle was reinvented purely as a grand country home. These castles had no defensive purposes, but had stylistic elements of castles (called castellation) such as towers, crenellations, and battlements. These mock-castles were particularly popular on the British Isles.
Castle Neuschwanstein, perhaps the most famous 19th century neo-romantic castle in world, in part because it is the model for the Disney castle.
St. Mary's Church in Ontario, Canada, has castlellation, as seen in the towers and battlements.
America has its share of castles too. There is the self-proclaimed 'America's castle', the Hearst Castle, in California.
In recent days, a Malibu landmark, the historic Castle Kashan, has been in the news. This modern day castle was burned to the ground this week as a result of the raging California wildfires. The owner was philisophical about the loss, and said that she was always taught not to let her possessions possess her. She was able to save much of the vast collection of Elvis memorbilia that was housed in the castle, however.
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