Bojnice Castle is located in Bojnice, Slovakia. The medieval fortress was originally built in the 12th century as a wooden fort with thick walls and a moat. Through the centuries, the wood structure was gradually replaced with stone. Bojnice Castle was home to King Matthias in the 15th century. He gifted the castle and grounds to his illegitimate son, John Corvinus. In 1528, the Thurzos family, the richest and most influential family in the Hungary Kingdom, acquired the castle. Renovations began and two wings were added, turning the once wooden fortress into a Renaissance Castle with Gothic elements. From the 16th century through the 19th century, the castle remained in the Paiffy family. Count Janos Ferenc Paiffy had the castle reconstructed to mimic the French castles he admired in the Loire Valley. Paiffy’s remains lie inside the castle in a red marble sarcophagus. The castle also boasts a natural travertine cave inside with two small lakes. The castle and lands were sold in 1939 to Jan Bata. In 1945, the Czechoslovak government confiscated the property. It suffered through fire in 1950 and was rebuilt at the government’s expense. Bojnice Castle is open to the public.
Ta Prohm is the modern name for the temple at Angkor. Located in Cambodia in the Siem Reap province, the temple was built in the late 12th and early 13th centuries. The temple became a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university, which was founded by the Khmer King, Jayavarman VII, who dedicated Ta Prohm to his mother. Ta Prohm is a traditional Khmer structure, consisting of a series of gradually smaller enclosures, with the center tower connecting the smaller towers through passageways. The site was home to more than 12, 500 people in the late 12th century, with a population of 800,000 in the surrounding villages. The temple was modified after King Jayavarman VII’s death, and modified later by Hindu and Thervada Buddhist kings in accordance with their own religious beliefs. After the fall of the Khmer Empire in the 17th century, the temple was abandoned. Restoration to conserve the temples of Angkor began in the early 21st century, but it was decided that Ta Prohm would be left in its ruined state. The jungle surrounding the temple merged with the ruins, giving it a new overall appeal to the tourists who frequent the temple. Although the ruins are bound by massive roots from the fig, silk-cotton, and kapok trees, the area was stabilized to make the temple accessible to tourists, which was necessary since Ta Prohm is Angkor’s most visited temple. Ta Prohm was inscribed by UNESCO and placed on the World Heritage list in 1992. The temple includes 260 statues of gods, 39 towers with pinnacles and 566 different residences. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was filmed there.
Inveraray Castle is located in the county of Argyll, in western Scotland. The castle sits on the shore of Loch Fyne, which is Scotland’s longest sea loch. The estate has been the seat of the Duke of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell since the 17th century. The castle’s architecture is neo-Gothic in design, with crenellated circular towers. Inveraray is believed to be haunted by a harpist, who was hanged in 1644 for “peeping at the lady of the house.” The television series Most Haunted has filmed at this location. And in 2012, the Christmas episode of Downton Abbey was partially filmed at Inveraray. The castle is home to the 13th Duke of Argyll, his wife, and their three children. The homestead boasts a 16-acre garden that encompasses only a small fraction of the 60,000 acres estate.
Olite Castle is located in the town of Olite, Navarra, Spain. The medieval castle was built during the 13th and 14th centuries and served as the Royal Court of the Kingdom of Navarre, until its union with Castile in 1512. King Charles III of Navarre extended the castle during the 15th century. Due to various expansions, the overall plan is irregular in design. Although the palace looks like a military bastion, the castle served as a residential palace. King Charles III kept many exotic animals like giraffes and lions at the palace. The castle has whimsical towers, battlements, and courtyards. It was seen as one of the most beautiful castles of Europe during Charles’ reign. The palace was invaded in 1512 and fell into ruin, although it was used to house the occasional nobleman. It was intentionally burned during the Peninsular War of 1813. The destruction by fire was to prevent French troops from using it for strategic positioning. In 1913, the provincial government acquired the ruins. The palace was declared a National Monument in 1925 to save it from destruction. In 1937, restoration began and was completed thirty years later, although according to documentation there are difficulties achieving its original state. The palace is open to the public, with the old palace serving as the Parador de Olite Hotel.