The castles of Wales are among the most spectacular in Europe, and are among the best preserved medieval fortifications in the world. They were built by and on behalf of the great princes of Gwynedd, the Welsh kingdom that covered most of modern Wales at the time of their construction, and they are among the most spectacular in Europe.
Welsh castle history is a chronicle of the medieval world, as well as of the struggles between England and Wales, which are reflected in their architecture. Castles were constructed to defend the territorial claims of the English kings, who ruled the majority of Wales at the time of their construction.
Castles have risen to nearly mythological status over the years, acting as symbols of tremendous bravery and heroism in times of war and conflict. Many of them were also important cultural, educational, and government hubs.
The castles of Wales are the remnants of the immense feudal lands of the Plantagenet monarchs of England, which were destroyed during the English Civil War. Built to dominate important sites, they were frequently the nerve centres of their respective regions and acted as de facto capitals. Some of them, such as Caernarfon, were also in charge of the legislative process itself. The castles of Wales were designated as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization in 2004.
Castles were also constructed as political and military strongholds, having the capacity to dominate wide territories via the use of military force. For the same reason that English castles were important to regional, national, and even international power in Wales.
King Edward I constructed the Iron Ring, also known as the Iron Ring of the Castles, around Snowdonia in order to quell any potential uprising. This stronghold would be protected by a ring of castles, all linked together in a mutual support system, with a supply line running from Chester to Rhuddlan Castle in the east and along the coastlines below the mountains, at Conway, defending the bridge across the river, and Caernarfon.
When a siege occurred, the castles were all within a day’s march of one another and could all be supplied by sea if necessary. Due to the paucity of rebellious individuals after the conquest, and their short duration, this approach has shown to be successful. up until after the Glyndwr Rebellion, after which the system was abandoned.
The sites have been collectively designated as a “World Heritage Site” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), under the name “Castles and city walls of King Edward in Gwynedd,” as the best examples of military architecture from the end of the 1200s and beginning of the 1300s in Europe.
Immediately following his conquest of North Wales, King Edward sought to secure the region against prospective rebellions. New fortified cities, secured by castles, were built by him so that English colonists might reside and reign over the newly conquered regions. Later, Edward’s battles in Scotland began to deplete royal funds, causing production to slacken once more, this time significantly. Construction work on all fortifications had come to an end in 1330, before Caernarfon and Beaumaris had been built to their full extent.
The locations of castles such as Caernarfon and Conwy, which were built on land that belonged to Welsh princes, were chosen for their political significance as well as their military relevance. The castles were designed to include luxurious apartments and gardens, with the goal of providing opulent support for the great royal courts of Europe. Costly stone works were used in the construction of Caernarfon’s castle and city walls.
The ruined castles grew more popular with visitors and artists from all over the region between the end of the 1700s and the beginning of the 1800s.
The transportation infrastructure of the region continued to improve over the course of 1800, increasing the number of tourists to the attractions, including the future Queen Victoria, who visited in the year 1832.