Why Wales is the Place to Go for Medieval Castles (Video)
The rich history of Wales can be explored though its numerous medieval castles. William the Conqueror's conquest of England in 1066 left the resilient Welsh tribes unconquered for two centuries. By the late 13th century, Edward I aimed to assert English control over Wales. Harlech Castle, perched on a rocky outcrop near the Irish Sea, was one of many fortresses he constructed to demonstrate authority. Harlech, renowned for its near-impregnability, withstood a seven-year siege during the Wars of the Roses in the 15th century. It faced another prolonged siege in 1642 during the English Civil War, finally surrendering to parliamentary forces.
Not far from Harlech, Caernarfon Castle stands as an imposing symbol of English dominance. Built in the image of Constantinople's walls, it features polygonal towers and formidable gatehouses equipped with murder holes to repel attackers. This was where Edward's queen Eleanor gave birth to the first English Prince of Wales in 1284, and where Prince Charles was invested as the Prince of Wales in 1969. Further to the northeast lies Conwy Castle, an architectural masterpiece designed by James of Saint George. Despite its eight towers and two fortified gateways, it briefly fell to Welsh rebels in 1401 during the last war of independence. These castles in Wales tell a tale of power, resistance, and historic significance.
- Harlech Castle: Wales’ Most Formidable Fortress
- Caernarfon Castle: The Imposing Welsh Constantinople
Top image: Caernarfon Castle, Wales. Source: peresanz / Adobe Stock.