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7 Real-Life Fairytale Castles

Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful young girl, who was a lot like you. She had no mother to protect her, and suffered some horrible injustice at the hands of someone who was jealous of her beauty. But eventually, Prince Charming came along on a white horse and rescued her. He took her off to his fabulous castle, where they lived happily ever after. The end. But where is this castle now? Many of our Disneyfied visions of fairy tale castles are modeled on real medieval castles in Europe. Barring acts of war or total abandonment, they are still there for us to see.

1. Burg Eltz

Eltz Castle is near Münstermaifeld, Germany. It is a complex of palaces serving different parts of the original family of the House of Eltz, first mentioned in official records in the year 1157. The manor house of that time, called Platteltz, has been added to over the centuries. The section called Rübenach house was completed in 1472. The Rodendorf house section was built over the next fifty years, and the Kempenich house was completed around 1530. The current owner is Dr. Karl Graf von und zu Eltz, of the 33rd generation of the family to own Burg Eltz. The castle is open to tourists. 

2. Schloss Neuschwanstein

Neuschwanstein Castle is not literally medieval, as construction began in 1869. King Ludwig II of Bavaria commissioned the building to resemble earlier German palaces. However, the result combines elements of Romanesque, Gothic, and Byzantine architecture. The king, who lived in the castle for only six months, died in 1886, but construction of the palace went on until 1892. Neuschwanstein Castle is still not totally completed. The Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland was modeled in part on Neuschwanstein Castle.

3. Château de Pierrefonds

Pierrefonds Castle is a medieval fortress in the French Forest of Compiègne. It was first built in the 12th century and rebuilt by King Charles VI's brother Louis from 1393 to 1407. Badly damaged by an attack in 1617, it lay in ruin for two centuries. Emperor Napoleon III ordered the restoration of the castle in 1857, which went on until 1885. The restoration project was abandoned due to lack of funds. The castle is now open for tourism.

4. Burg Hohenzollern

Hohenzollern Castle near Hechingen, Germany, is the ancestral home of the royal Hohenzollern family of Prussia. The original castle was built prior to 1267, which is the oldest written reference found. It was destroyed in 1423 and rebuilt beginning in 1454, but that version fell into ruin after centuries of neglect. Crown Prince Frederick William of Prussia began a reconstruction in 1850. The castle, stilled owned by the Hohenzollern family, is open for tours

5. Schloss Sigmaringen

Sigmaringen Castle in the Baden-Württemberg region of Germany, was built for the Sigmaringen family, which eventually became a branch of the Hohenzollern family. The earliest part of the castle was built prior to 1077, the date of its earliest written reference. The castle has been expanded many times since then, but the original edifice exists, buried under additional construction. The castle is owned by Prince Karl Friedrich of Hohenzollern, who lives elsewhere. The castle is open for tours

6. Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel was built on a tiny tidal island just off the French coast in the 8th century as a monastery. It was greatly expanded in the 11th and 12th centuries, then converted to a prison after the French Revolution. The prison closed in 1963. Mont Saint-Michel has been featured in numerous movies, cartoons, and even video games. Photograph by Flickr user poluz.

7. Lohrer Schloss

The Lohr Castle is in the town of Lohr a. Main, Germany. Currently it houses the Spessart Museum. This Bavarian castle was the birthplace of Maria Sophia Margaretha Catherina von Erthal, believed to be the inspiration for the Brothers Grimm story Snow White. To this day, the castle has a mirror on display known as the "Talking Mirror."

This post was inspired by a thread at reddit.

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Ker Robertson, Getty Images
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5 Scrapped Designs for the World's Most Famous Buildings
Ker Robertson, Getty Images
Ker Robertson, Getty Images

When an architect gets commissioned to build a skyscraper or a memorial, they’re usually not the only applicant for the job. Other teams of designers submit their own ideas for how it should look, too, but these are eventually passed over in favor of the final design. This is the case for some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks—in an alternate world, the Arc de Triomphe might have been a three-story-tall elephant statue, and the Lincoln Memorial a step pyramid.

GoCompare, a comparison site for financial services, dug into these could-have-been designs for Alternate Architecture, an illustrated collection of scrapped designs for some of the most famous structures in the world, from Chicago's Tribune Tower to the Sydney Opera House.

Click through the interactive graphic below to explore rejected designs for all five landmarks.

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Paul Wegener
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Design
For Sale: The Safest House in America, Complete With Hidden Command Center
Paul Wegener
Paul Wegener

For some people, locking the front door just isn't enough to feel fully safe at home. Maybe they set up a home security system. Maybe they go out and buy a fancy smart home hub with a security camera. Or maybe they spend six years and $30 million to build a veritable fortress mansion, as one guy in Atlanta did. That house, called the Rice House and referred to as one of the safest homes in America, is now up for sale for $14.7 million.

Built by an entrepreneur who hired a security architect with a background designing Justice Department buildings (and his own bunker/house), the Rice House is billed as a "modern fortress" in the real estate listing.

For its owner, creating an impenetrable home was more of a personal challenge than a real security need, according to Bloomberg. But by its features, you'd think it was built for a Bond super-villain or a head of state, not a businessman in a wealthy Atlanta neighborhood.

A secure door with several locks
Paul Wegener

It has its own water and power supply, a 5000-square-foot command center hidden behind a waterfall, a vault, and doors capable of withstanding machine gun fire. There’s an indoor gun range, in case you need some target practice. There’s enough room in the garage for 30 cars, in case you have a few dozen Batmobiles—or you want to invite friends to hunker down with you during the apocalypse.

And since anyone who lives there might be more invested in staying safely inside the gates than going out on the weekends, the place has plenty of amenities that make it a standalone mini-community. It’s got its own art gallery, a gym, a bowling alley, a wine cellar, a home theater, and a pool. It has three kitchens and two commercial elevators, with staff quarters so the servants you inevitably need to cater to you never need to leave, either.

But wait, there’s more. If the house lacks something you want, that’s fine! Because according to the listing, “the property purposefully awaits final personalization.” In other words, for your $14.7 million, it’s not finished.

Check it out here.

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