The keep is the central stronghold and main residential tower of the castle. It served as the lord’s residence and the last line of defense during a siege.
The curtain wall is the fortified perimeter wall that encloses the castle. It provides protection and serves as a defensive barrier against attacks.
The gatehouse is the main entrance to the castle and is fortified with heavy doors, portcullises, and defensive features such as murder holes and arrow slits.
A moat is a water-filled trench surrounding the castle, acting as a defensive barrier. It made it difficult for attackers to approach the castle walls and provided an additional layer of protection.
The drawbridge is a movable bridge that spans the moat, allowing or denying access to the castle. It could be raised or lowered, providing control over who enters or exits the castle.
The barbican is an outer defensive structure located near the main entrance. It often consisted of a fortified gatehouse or tower, serving as an additional layer of defense.
The great hall is a large central hall within the castle where the lord would entertain guests, hold feasts, and conduct important gatherings. It was the social and ceremonial heart of the castle.
Many medieval castles had a chapel where the lord and residents could attend religious services. It served as a place of worship and offered spiritual solace within the castle walls.
Towers were strategically placed along the curtain wall and within the castle complex. They provided vantage points for surveillance, housing for residents, and defensive positions for archers and soldiers.
The bailey or courtyard is an open space within the castle walls where various activities took place, such as training, markets, and other daily routines. It could also serve as a gathering point for troops during times of conflict.
These are just some of the important components of a medieval castle, each playing a crucial role in the castle’s defense, functionality, and daily life of its residents.
1. Keep or Donjon: Tower of London, England
2. Curtain Wall: Conwy Castle, Wales
3. Gatehouse: Carcassonne, France
4. Moat: Bodiam Castle, England
5. Drawbridge: Château de Langeais, France
6. Barbican: Krak des Chevaliers, Syria
Official website (Note: Due to the current situation in Syria, the castle is not accessible for visits)
7. Great Hall: Warwick Castle, England
8. Chapel: Château de Chillon, Switzerland
9. Towers: Hohensalzburg Fortress, Austria
10. Bailey or Courtyard: Castel del Monte, Italy
Please note that access and visiting hours for each castle may vary. It is advisable to check the official websites for the most up-to-date information before planning a visit.