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Plan of Doorwerth Castle (Gelderland, the Netherlands)

Bodiam Castle (Sussex, England)

Mespelbrunn Castle (Bavaria, Germany)

A water castle (German language: Wasserburg or Wasserschloss) is a castle or stately home whose site is entirely surrounded by moats or natural waterbodies. Topographically water castles are a type of lowland castle.

There is a further distinction between:

  • Water castles, that are protected by artificial water-filled moats or ponds (man-made defences) i.e. a moated castle
  • Water castles, whose primary means of protection is from river courses or which stand on islands in a lake or natural pond (natural defences). Island castles are an example.

In all cases, water is used as an obstacle to hinder an attacker. That apart, an abundant supply of water was also an advantage during a siege. Such a castle usually had only one entrance, which was via a drawbridge and that could be raised for protection in the event of an attack. To some extent these water castles had a fortress-like character.

In many places in Central Europe castles that had formerly been fortified changed their role or were converted over the course of time so that they became largely representational and residential buildings. The characteristic moats thus lost their original security function, but were retained in some cases as an element of landscaping. Today, in monument conservation circles, they are often described as burdensome, cost-intensive "historic legacies" because of the water damage caused to their foundations. As a result, many moats around castles in Germany have been drained, or more rarely filled, especially since the 1960s.

Examples


Water castles in Germany

Bad Rappenau

Brennhausen

Friedewald water castle

Schwerin Castle

Vischering Castle

Klaffenbach Castle, (16th century, Saxony)

Gommern Water Castle

Baden-Württemberg

  • Bad Rappenau Water Castle

Bavaria

  • Brennhausen
  • Irmelshausen
  • Kleinbardorf
  • Mespelbrunn Castle

Berlin

Brandenburg

Bremen

  • Blomendal Castle
  • Schönebeck Palace

Hamburg

  • Bergedorf Palace

Hesse

  • Friedewald Water Castle in Friedewald
  • Fürstenau Palace near Steinbach

Lower Saxony

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

  • Schwerin Castle

North Rhine-Westphalia

  • Benrath House in Düsseldorf
  • Gimborn Castle
  • Haus Kemnade in Bochum
  • Morsbroich Castle in Leverkusen
  • Moyland Castle in Bedburg-Hau
  • Nordkirchen Palace
  • Rheydt Palace
  • Dyck Palace
  • Vischering Castle
  • Wilkinghege Water Castle in Münster
  • Wittringen Castle in Gladbeck

Rhineland-Palatinate

  • Alte Burg (Boppard)
  • Alte Burg (Koblenz)

Saarland

  • Gustavsburg in Homburg
  • Kerpen Castle near Illingen

Saxony

  • Moritzburg Castle
  • Hainewalde Water Castle

Saxony-Anhalt

  • Gommern Water Castle
  • Köthen Castle
  • Reinharz Water Castle

Schleswig-Holstein

  • Eutin Castle
  • Glücksburg Castle

Thuringia

  • Kapellendorf Water Castle

Croatia

The walled city of Dubrovnik

  • Dubrovnik

Czech Republic

Slovenia

Gradac Castle

  • Gradac Castle

Netherlands

Italy

England

Caerphilly

Wales

Scotland

Baltic

Trakai Castle

  • Āraiši (Arrasch)
  • Trakai

Denmark

Portugal

External links

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