Ron Lyons Jr.
- Member since
- 4th June 2007
What do you think about when you see a castle? It’s just another building or pile of rocks like the last one, it’s a nice place for a picnic, or maybe it’s something touristy to do while visiting Europe? For me, castles were going to be just that, something fun to see when visiting a friend in Germany.
That was until I took that first trip to Germany in 1990 and I saw a castle up close for the first time and I was mesmerized. Since then I have been fascinated with castles, almost to the point of an obsession. They have occupied most of my free time; visiting them, photographing them, and studying them. Every castle has its own personality, its own feel, and its own reason for being.
When I set out to visit a castle, it is an all day exciting event which begins with the ride to the castle, anticipating what I will see and discover long before I arrive. Then it happens, off in the distance sometimes still miles away, I catch that first glimpse of the castle. A feeling of awe starts to build and my mind starts to race. Thoughts of knights and legends of old start to spring forth.
Once I arrive at the castle and start to explore, my mind fills with a rush of questions. Why was this castle built? Who lived here? Why did they choose this specific location for the castle? What historical role did the castle play in charting history? I wonder if it is haunted? How did they build it? How did it evolve through the centuries? How well does it use the natural landscape around it in its defenses? And if it is a ruin, what caused its downfall and what did the towers and walls look like when it was still in tact?
As I explore more and more of the castle, the focus shifts to the unique architectural features of the castle I am visiting. Why did they choose to have towers built into the curtain wall and no central keep? Why did they build the chapel on the side of the castle most vulnerable to attack? How many people could defend this castle against a siege? Why do the spiral staircases always go up in a clockwise direction? Why does the bottom of the tower project out further than the top and at a wider angle than the rest of the tower?
Now almost 20 years later and over 100 castles visited and counting, I know the answers to most of the questions that I have wondered about. Norman castles, concentric castles, fairytale castles, hilltop castles, border castles, toll castles, coastal castles; they are all out there waiting to be discovered. They all have their own stories to tell.
Come and explore them with me..........
- August 2007
- July 2007
Ron Lyons Jr. reviewed Warwick Castle in Birmingham, United Kingdom
Born in the storm of the Norman Invasion, Warwick Castle has evolved over a thousand years from a wooden motte and bailey castle into the stone giant that exists today. Warwick must have been an imposing sight to any would-be attackers.
- June 2007
Ron Lyons Jr. rated Burg Eltz
Neuschwanstein is not a thousand year old castle build for defense like most other castles, but the dream castle of a Bavarian King in the 19th century. In 1869, King Ludwig II began to build this castle in the sky. The castle is set high in the Bavar…"
Ron Lyons Jr. reviewed Tower of London in London, United Kingdom
In the center of London on the north bank of the River Thames stands the Tower of London. For almost a thousand years this castle has served many functions; a defensive fortress, prison, royal palace, armory, mint, and place of execution. It has seen mo…"
Ron Lyons Jr. reviewed Caernarfon Castle in Wales, United Kingdom
Caernarfon Castle is not the biggest castle in Wales, but it looks the most imposing. The castle was built after Edward I conquered Wales in 1283 as part of his iron ring to control Snowdonia and Northern Wales. Caernarfon was built not only for defense…"
Ron Lyons Jr. reviewed Chateau de Chambord in Loire Valley, France
The Loire Valley is where the Kings and Queens of France chose to build the most beautiful castles in the world. Francis I became King of France in 1515. Shortly thereafter, he set out to Italy to win back the Duchy of Milan. In Milan he saw first hand t…"
Ron Lyons Jr. reviewed Caerphilly Castle in Cardiff, United Kingdom
Construction on Caerphilly Castle began on April 11th 1268 by Red Gilbert de Clare as defense against Prince Llywelyn of Wales. Gilbert fought beside Edward Plantagenet, future King Edward I against Simon de Montfort at the Battle of Evesham. Simon was k…"
Ron Lyons Jr. reviewed Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, United Kingdom
In the year 1018, King Malcolm II won the Battle of Carham against the English and secured lands between the Firth of Forth and the River Tweed for Scotland. Towards the end of the 11th century, a royal castle begins to emerge in Edinburgh. The oldest an…"
Ron Lyons Jr. reviewed The Marksburg in Koblenz, Germany
The Middle Rhine region of Germany between Mainz and Koblenz is dotted with dozens of medieval castles towering above the River Rhine. One castle stands alone among them as the only castle never to be destroyed, the Marksburg. The castle was built in the…"
Ron Lyons Jr. reviewed Burg Eltz in Rheinland, Germany
As you walk along a tree covered road, suddenly the trees open to reveal Burg Eltz crowning a hill at the bottom of a forest valley. With its tall stone walls and half-timbered turrets, this fairytale castle is all at once powerful and beautiful. Burg El…"
Ron Lyons Jr. reviewed Windsor Castle in London, United Kingdom
Windsor Castle has been home to the Kings and Queens of England for over 900 years. It is the largest inhabited castle in the world and the oldest in continuous occupation. Windsor Castle began as a motte and bailey castle just after the Norman invasion …"