10 Largest Castles in the World

Finding the largest castle in the world is not as straightforward as it might sound. First, although commonly defined as “a defensive structure built as a residence for a ruler or nobleman” it isn’t always clear what a castle really is. Most people would agree that the Moscow Kremlin is not a castle but how about the fortresses in India and Japan?

Second, what should be used as a measure of size and how to determine this? According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Prague Castle is the biggest castle complex while Wikipedia describes Windsor Castle as the largest inhabited castle.

In this interesting article the author measures the area size of a number of large castles using Google Maps and an KML Area Calculator and comes up with a top 5 list. With this method I went out on a search of my own and found some other large castles including a new number 2.

10Edinburgh Castle (35,737 square meters)
Edinburgh Castleflickr/VerseVend

Situated on an extinct volcanic crag, Edinburgh castle dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh in Scotland. Few of the present buildings pre-date the 16th century. The notable exception is St Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh, which dates from the early 12th century.

9Citadel of Aleppo (39,804)

The Aleppo Citadel is one of the oldest castles in the world. It stands on 50 meter high hill in the center of Aleppo, Syria. Usage of the hill dates back at least to the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. Subsequently occupied by many civilizations including the Greeks, Byzantines, Ayyubids and Mamluks, the majority of the construction as it stands today dates from the 13th century.

8Himeji Castle (41,468)
Himeji Castleflickr/celie

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.

7Buda Castle (44,674)
Buda Castleflickr/kenyai

Located on the southern tip of Castle Hill in Budapest in Hungary, Buda Castle was first fortified in the 13th century, after a Mongol attack led Buda’s citizens to seek a more easily defended neighborhood. Today, the castle has a mixture of architectural styles, ranging from Gothic to Baroque, being invaded repeatedly, followed by rebuilding in the style of the period.

6Spis Castle (49,485)
Spis Castleflickr/MiloÅ

Spis Castle in eastern Slovakia is one of the largest Medieval castles in central Europe. The main body of the castle was fortified by stone walls in the first half of the 13th century and the lower courtyard in the middle of the 15th century. It is beautifully situated in the countryside and frequently used as a location for films, including Dragonheart (1996) and The Last Legion (2006).

5Hohensalzburg Castle (54,523)
Hohensalzburg Castleflickr/DHausBT

Hohensalzburg Castle located in the Austrian city of Salzburg is one of the largest and best preserved castles in Europe. The castle was constructed in 1077 and was significantly enlarged between 1495 and 1519 when it reached more or less its present proportions.

4Windsor Castle (54,835)
Windsor Castlewikipedia/Mark S Jobling

Windsor Castle is often called the largest inhabited castle in the world and is definitely the largest castle in England. It is one of the official residences of Queen Elizabeth II who spends many weekends of the year at the castle, using it for both state and private entertaining.

3Prague Castle (66,761)
Prague Castleflickr/liber

Prague Castle is one of the largest castles in the world (the largest according to the Guinness Book of Records). The castle dates back to the 9th century and was expanded several times until second half of the 18th century. The castle itself houses a complex of sights including the St. Vitus Cathedral and the St. George’s Basilica.

2Mehrangarh Fort (81,227)

Although officially called a fort, Mehrangarh Fort can easily be considered an Indian castle. It is situated on a 122 meter (400 feet) high hill, has 36 meter high and 21 meter wide walls and is entered after crossing seven gates. The fort was initially built in 1459 by the founder of Jodhpur, Rao Jodha after he shifted his capital here from Mandore. However, most of what stands today dates back to the 17th century.

1Malbork Castle (143,591)
#1 of Largest Castles In The Worldflickr/janusz l

Located in Poland, Malbork Castle is the largest castle in the world. The castle was founded in 1274 by the Teutonic Knights who used it as their headquarters to help defeat Polish enemies and rule their own northern Baltic territories. The castle was expanded several time to host the growing number of Knights until their retreat to Königsburg in 1466.

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Map of Largest Castles In The World

22 comments

  1. Arys

    I think you forgot the palace of Versailles, there.

    It’s 51,000 square meters, according to wikipedia

  2. Peter

    Wawel Castle is roughly the same size az Hohensalzburg Castle, even a little bigger. Probably there are other, bigger castles which are not on the list.

  3. Robin
    Author

    @Davin, @Peter,

    I’v checked out these castles using the area calculator. The result for Caerphilly Castle is 21,415 square meters. So the claim of Wikipedia that Caerphilly Castle is the second largest castle in Britain doesn’t appear to be right.

    Wavel Castle is 55,932 square meters, which is in fact bigger than Hohensalzburg (and even Winsdor) and this result would make it the 4th biggest castle in the world!

  4. ashley

    i live in caerphilly, the town itself is comprised of two castle’s. and if it’s outer walls were still standing it would probably be the largest castle to have ever been built. but unfortunatly the outer walls, became a ruin like the rest of the castle. but then during the coal mining days a lot of the rocks used to make the outer walls, were stolen to make the house’s. and judging by how many house’s were made the outer walls would have been massive. i would also like to add that caerphilly is infact recognised as the 3rd largest castle in the world.

  5. Robin
    Author

    One extra note about Caerphilly Castle. I measured the area size of this castle as enclosed in the inner walls. Other sources who give a much larger area size are probably based on the outer walls. But as ashley mentioned, large parts of Caerphilly Castle’s outer walls were removed, so I think the inner walls give a better indication of the size of the castle.

  6. dj

    well, spis castle (slovakia) is “only” 4.1 ha large, BUT another castle complex in slovakia has ca. 7.6 ha (which will be 3rd largest castle complex) – its Pusty Hrad (complex of 2 castles)

  7. dudule

    The list does not have two fortresses from Serbia built on the Danube river
    Smederevo fortress 145.000 Square Meter
    Petrovaradin fortress 1.120.000 Square Meter

  8. Dale

    Alnwick and Arundel castles are both sometimes named as the second largest in England. I get 23,600 and 22,800 square metres for them respectively, so neither would make this list.

  9. Mohamed Haggag

    Saladin castle Egypt cairo is the largest military castle and castle over the last 8 centuries at all you can use area calculator:
    290235.759 m²
    0.290 km²
    71.719 Acres
    3124071.717 Feet²

  10. Ajay Singh

    Well, I believe there must have been a segregation between castles/palaces and forts. If you talk about Mehrangarh making its way into this list, you should consider the City Palaces in Udaipur and Jaipur in Rajasthan, India. Moreover, Chittaurgarh is the largest fort in India and perhaps amongst the largest forts in the world.

  11. Andrew

    I would argue Topkapi palace in Istanbul is the largest, but everyone can argue and justify one point or another based on various criteria.

    Just my own argument/viewpoint particularly since nobody here has mentioned it yet. Either way it is a stunning complex.

  12. Chris

    Edo Castle, now the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, was considered the largest castle in the world in the 19th Century. At 16km in circumference it was by far larger than Himeji Castle listed here at No. 8. Even Nagoya Castle’s keep was bigger than Himeji.

  13. Georgee P

    Castle Akrocorinth located SW of ancient Corinth. The total perimeter of the walls is 3,000 meters
    Cemented the era of the legendary king of Corinth, Sisyphus, and the first fortification dating to the end of the 7th-6th century BC
    Three successive defensive lines the walls with an equal number of pillars leading to the interior of the castle, with a total surface of 240,000 square meters, where there are ruins of buildings of all time.

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