History of Castles

Although fortified cities and residential structures have been around since the dawn of civilization, the term castle usually refers to such structures built during the Middle Ages.

Castles differ from fortresses in that castles were not only defensive military structures, but served as residences as well. Castles also served as a safe haven for the surrounding civilian population in the event of an attack.

Originally, castles usually consisted of a wooden palisade surrounding a wooden tower, which was typically placed on top of an artificial mound called a motte. Later, stone became the building material of choice in Europe, while wood was used to build castles in Asia until modern weapons rendered all castles militarily obsolete.

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