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Castles in Eastern Europe

What's Special about Castles in Eastern Europe?

One of the most remarkable things about many in-city castles in post-communist “new Europe” is the approach to them on foot. Whereas in western European cities the downtown castle tends to be surrounded either by 21st century junk or a band of sterilized nothingness, in eastern Europe it usually sit among the same aristocratic or tradesmen’s residences that have surrounded them for several centuries.

Many of these historic out-buildings now have storefronts that hawk souvenirs, but even that seems in the right spirit, as these structures were built for and by opportunists. Others have been transformed into somewhat snobby private residences – but there again they reflect their builders’ original intent.

Since most eastern European castles top a hill, these very cool townhouses gradually reveal themselves during the ascending slog towards the citadel. Thanks to their entrepreneurial owners, they provide a nice place for a breather, whether for window-shopping, serious shopping or light refreshments.

Excellent examples of this kind of living, breathing can be found in UNESCO sites like the Czech Republic’s Cesky Krumlov, Romania’s Sighisoara and Poland’s Torun. The surprising thing is to find the same clustering of extant medieval or renaissance out-buildings can right in the middle of busy cities like Prague, Bratislava and Krakow.

Castles in Eastern Europe:

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