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Caernarfon Castle

Listed under Castles & Palaces in Wales, United Kingdom.

  • Photo of Caernarfon Castle
  • Photo of Caernarfon Castle
  • Photo of Caernarfon Castle
Photo of Caernarfon Castle
Photo by ronlyons
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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 but as a seat of government and royal residence. The castle does not have round towers like Edward’s other castles. Instead it has unique massive multi-angular towers to distinguish it from other castles. The castle walls are also built using a linear pattern of different colored stone. This is said to be modeled after the walls of Constantinople, which Edward must have seen first hand during the crusades.

Caernarfon Castle is linked with the Prince of Wales. According to legend, Edward promised the Welsh natives that he would name a Prince born in Wales, who did not speak a word of English as Prince of Wales. He then dubbed his own son, Edward II, as Prince of Wales. Edward II was born in Caernarfon Castle and was still so young that he could not yet speak English. Subsequent Monarchs have dubbed their first born son as Prince of Wales through the centuries, with the latest being Prince Charles. Construction of Caernarfon Castle was never actually completed. Like most other medieval relics, the castle fell into disrepair through the centuries until the 19th century and early 20th century when repair work began on the castle. Massive ceilings were restored in the principle towers. The most impressive part of the castle is Eagle Tower which housed apartments on each of the three floors. Today it is used for a multi-media show that provides a history of the castle to its visitors.

Written by  Ron Lyons Jr..

Other expert and press reviews

“Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd”

'The castles of Beaumaris and Harlech (largely the work of the greatest military engineer of the time, James of St George) and the fortified complexes of Caernarfon and Conwy are located in the former principality of Gwynedd, in north Wales. These extre… Read more...

Written by press. UNESCO

“One of the finest Edward I castles in Wales”

Begun the 1290s, and left incomplete in the 1330s, this is the finest of Edward I’s castles in North Wales, and is accompanied by a small but almost complete circuit of town walls with many D-shaped towers and two gateways. The castle has very lofty cur… Read more...

Written by  Mike Salter.

“Wales: Edward I's seven magnificent castles”

By Anthony Gardener for The Telegraph. First published 17th October 2008. ...An even more monumental castle was created along the coast at Caernarfon, with polygonal towers and walls banded with different-coloured stone. Caernarfon seems all the more m… Read more...

Written by press. See the full article in The Telegraph, 17th Ocotber 2008

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers


Caernarfon was Edward I's attempt to recreate the imposing scale both of the walls of Constantinople and imperial Rome. Overlooking the River Seiont and the walled town of the same name, it's probably best known these days as the venue for the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales in 1969.

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