Deal Castle, UK

Built between 1539–1540 under Henry’s Device Programme, Deal Castle was a coastal fort made to protect England from invasion by Catholic countries after Henry’s split from Catherine of Aragon and the Church.

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Travel postSandra Alvarez
Nuremberg Castle by Sydney Gobin

Fortifying one of the most important medieval trade centers in Germany, Nuremberg Castle dominates the skyline of the city. Stationed upon a rocky bluff above the Pegnitz Valley and along the edge of a vast forest, the castle was built, expanded, and refurbished on numerous occasions from 1039, when the Imperial Castle (Kaiserburg) was first built by Holy Roman Emperor, Henry III (r. 1039-56), well into the sixteenth century. While only remnants of this original structure remain, a contemporary visitor is still able to see its early medieval foundations.

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St. Hilarion, Cyprus by Dr. Helena Schrader

A little off the beaten track, in the Turkish part of Cyprus, the ruins of three spectacular medieval castles can still be visited today. Embedded into the contours of the mountains, these castles were constructed by the Byzantines after the Greeks expelled the Muslim invaders and re-established firm control over the Island. They were later expanded and modified by the Lusignan kings of the crusader Kingdom of Cyprus. Only fragments of their history have survived, yet the legends and hints of past glories combined with the dramatic ruins invite speculation and ignite the imagination.

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Zutphen’s Chained Library - Zutphen, Netherlands

I happened to visit the Netherlands last Fall and I stayed in the idyllic city of Zutphen, about a two hour drive east of Amsterdam. Zutphen has a long history that dates back to at least the fourth century. The city has retained much of its medieval charm with cobbled narrow streets, and lovely historic buildings. If you’re passing through Zutphen and had to pick just one thing to see, the best place to visit is the Church of St. Walpurgis and its library, one of only five remaining chained libraries in Europe!

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Sandra Alvarez
Santiago de Compostela

The route in Northern Spain follows the ancient Roman trade route along the coast that ends a Finisterre. Pilgrims and visitors alike have been venturing to this northwestern Galician city since the early 9th century when St. James’ remains were discovered. From then on, believers from across the peninsula made their way to the saint’s resting place. It is not until later in the 11th century that there are records of pilgrims from beyond the Pyrenees making the journey.

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Bamburgh Castle, UK by Dr. Dan Spencer

Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland is one of the most attractive castles in England and has a long and interesting history. It is located on a volcanic outcrop that overlooks the sea and covers approximately a quarter of a mile. The first fortress was established on the site by the Anglo-Saxon rulers of the kingdom of Bernicia, with the Normans building a castle there in the eleventh century.

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Medina de las Torres, Spain by Andrea Vincenti

Extremadura is a land full of nature, culture, and heritage. It is one of the fairly unknown regions of Spain, but no doubt it is one of the most beautiful areas. The great unknown is characterised by extreme and harsh climatic conditions, with a range of temperatures between -10 ºC and +45 ºC. In Extremadura, you can not only find authentic natural paradises such as Monfragüe, Sierra de Gata, Hervás, and Valle del Jerte, but also astonishing historic and archeological sites. this hesitation?

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El Escorial, Spain

Nestled at the foot of the Monte de Abantos in the Sierra de Guadarrama is the monumental monastery, San Lorenzo del Escorial. The monastery is located just outside of Madrid and is accessible by car, train or bus. Out of all the possible day trips you can take from the capital, El Escorial is essential and not as frequented by tourists such as Toledo or Avila. It is also a perfect choice if you choose to venture to the Iberian peninsula in summer, as its mountain location is always a few degrees cooler and refreshing. Upon arriving in El Escorial, the monstrous dome of the basilica towers over the landscape and is visible from practically any point from the village, including the train station. It truly a hidden gem tucked into the foothills.

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Prague

For the medieval history buff, Prague is truly spectacular. It boasts the honor of being one of the top ten most intact medieval cities in Europe. It is certainly a title well earned; its historic center has been considered a UNESCO heritage site since 1992. The city was spared bombing during WWII, so it has retained its almost untouched Gothic charm. I was lucky to spend four days visiting Prague, and while this list of things to see is but the tip of the iceberg, it is a good place to start your journey in this medieval paradise.

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