Top Ten Asian Castles

Top Ten Asian Castles

  1. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

    The ruins of Angkor Wat are located amid forests and farmland to the north of the Great Lake (Tonle Sap) and south of the Kulen Hills, near modern day Siem Reap in Cambodia. Although not a castle per se, Angkor represents the seat of the Khmer empire that flourished in this region from approximately the ninth to fifteenth centuries. This period of rule began when the Khmer Hindu monarch Jayavarman II declared himself the “universal monarch” and “god-king” of Cambodia in about 802 CE until 1431 CE, when Thai invaders sacked the Khmer capital and caused its population to migrate south to the Phnom Penh area. The temples are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the main building, Angkor Wat, is said to be the world’s largest single religious monument. Many of the temples at Angkor have been restored, and together they comprise the most significant site for Khmer architecture. With the help of satellite photographs and other techniques, an international team of researchers concluded in 2007 that Angkor Wat was the largest preindustrial city in the world, with an urban sprawl of 1,150 square miles. The closest rival would have been the Mayan city of Tikal in Guatemala, which was roughly fifty square miles in total size.
    Links: Top Ten Cambodian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angkor_Wat,
  2. Forbidden City, China

    As the seat of supreme power for over five centuries from 1416 to 1911, the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, contains four high towers on the four corners of the city wall. This is a fort that contains a city and the walls are approximately one meter thick. Landscaped gardens and many buildings (whose nearly 10,000 rooms contain furniture and works of art), constitute a priceless testimony to Chinese civilization during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Imperial Palace of the Qing Dynasty in Shenyang consists of 114 buildings constructed between 1625–26 and 1783. It contains an important library and testifies to the foundation of the last dynasty that ruled China before it expanded its power to the center of the country and moved the capital to Beijing. This palace then became auxiliary to the Imperial Palace in Beijing.
    Links: Top Ten Chinese AttractionsCities, Top Ten Asian Cities, Museums and Galleries, Top Ten Asian MuseumsPaintingsTop 100 Asian PaintingsTemples, Top 100 Chinese ArtifactsTop Ten Thrones, Top Ten Vases, Top Ten Asian Vaseshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forbidden_City,
  3. Himeji Castle, Japan

    “Himeji Castle is generally considered Japan’s most beautiful castle and is one of the few that has escaped the ravages of civil war, earthquakes and bombings. A fort was first built on the current site in the 14th century and gradually enlarged over the centuries. The castle complex, as it survives today, was completed in 1609.”
    Links: Top Ten Japanese Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himeji-jo,
  4. Shuri Castle, Okinawa, Japan

    Shuri Castle is a gusuku (Ryūkyūan castle) in Shuri, Okinawa. It was the palace of the Ryūkyū Kingdom. In 1945, during the Battle of Okinawa, it was almost completely destroyed. In 1992, it was reconstructed on the original site based on photographs, historical records and memory.
    Links: Top Ten Japanese Attractions, Top Ten Thrones, Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuri_Castle,
  5. Matsumoto Castle, Japan

    Matsumoto Castle, also known as the “Crow Castle” because of its black exterior, is one of Japan’s premier historic castles. It is located in the city of Matsumoto, in Nagano Prefecture and is within easy reach of Tokyo by road or rail. The keep (tenshukaku), which was completed in the late 16th century, maintains its original wooden interiors and external stonework. It is listed as a National Treasure of Japan. Matsumoto Castle is a flatland castle (hirajiro) because it is not built on a hilltop or amid rivers, but on a plain. Its complete defenses would have included an extensive system of inter-connecting walls, moats and gatehouses.
    Links: Top Ten Japanese Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matsumoto_Castle,
  6. Hideyoshi’s Osaka Castle, Japan

    Osaka Castle is a Japanese castle in Chūō-ku, Osaka, Japan. Originally called Ozakajō, it is one of Japan’s most famous castles, playing a major role in the unification of Japan during the 16th century of the Azuchi-Momoyama period.
    Links: Top Ten Japanese attractions, Top Ten Warriors, Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures, Top Ten Roof Ornaments, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osaka_Castle,
  7. Kumamoto Castle, Japan

    Kumamoto Castle is a hilltop Japanese castle located in Kumamoto in Kumamoto Prefecture. It was a large and extremely well fortified castle. The castle keep is a concrete reconstruction built in 1960, but several ancillary wooden buildings remain of the original castle. Kumamoto Castle is considered one of the three premier castles in Japan, along with Himeji Castle and Matsumoto Castle.
    Links: Top Ten Japanese Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumamoto_Castle,
  8. Nijō Castle, Kyoto, Japan

    Nijō Castle is a flatland castle located in Kyoto, Japan. The castle consists of two concentric rings of fortifications, the Ninomaru Palace, the ruins of the Honmaru Palace, various support buildings and several gardens. The surface area of the castle is 275,000 square m, of which 8,000 square m is occupied by buildings.
    Links: Top Ten Japanese Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nij%C5%8D_Castle,
  9. Gyeongbokgung or Gyeongbok Palace, South Korea
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    “While Seoul, Korea, contains five castles (or, palaces), this building may be the largest and most spectacular palace in Korea. It was originally built in 1395 by Korean architect Do-jeon. King Taejo then added on to the building to make it the main palace of the Joseon dynasty. The Japanese burned the building during an invasion in 1592 and it was left in ruins until King Gojong restored the area in 1868. At one time there were 330 buildings in the palace complex. Many of these are being reconstructed. It is said that the Korean alphabet, known as Hangeul, was created inside this palace during the 15th century under the reign of King Sejong.”
    Links: Top Ten South Korean Attractions, Palaces, Top Ten Asian Palaces, Top Ten Thrones,
  10. Malacca A’Famosa, Malaysia

    This is all that’s left of a 16th century Portuguese fort, a tiny gate called the Porta de Santiago. In 1511 a Portuguese fleet arrived in what was then known as Melaka in Malaysia, under the command of Alfonso de Albuquerque. His forces attacked and successfully defeated the armies of the native Sultanate, and Albuquerque built a fortress near the sea. This commander believed that Melaka would become an important link between Portugal and China along the Spice Route. As Melaka’s population grew, the fort was expanded around 1586. The fort changed hands in 1641 when the Dutch drove the Portuguese out of Malaysia. The property changed hands once again in the early 19th century when the Dutch handed it over the British to prevent Melaka from falling into Napoleon’s hands. Knowing that they would need to hand the property back to the Dutch at the end of the Napoleonic wars, the British tried to make the entire city useless. Sir Stanford Raffles,Singapore’s founder, convinced the British to allow the population to remain, but all that remains of the buildings was the gate that stands today.
    Links: Top Ten Malaysian Attractions,
  11. Bonus: Nakagusuku Castle, Japan

    Nakagusuku Castle is a gusuku in the village of Kitanakagusuku, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. It is currently in ruins. The legendary Ryukyuan commander, Gosamaru, built the fortress in the early 15th century to defend against attacks from the east by Lord Amawari of Katsuren Castle. The six courtyards of this fortress with stacked stone walls make it a prime example of a gusuku.
    Links: Top Ten Japanese Attractions, Top Ten Warriors, Top Ten Generals, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakagusuku_Castle,
  12. Links: Attractions, Artifacts, Top Ten Asian Artifacts, http://www.intlistings.com/articles/2008/top-25-most-beautiful-castles-in-the-world/, 

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