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Through their turbulent and blood-stained history, most castles changed hands many times with the shifting political fortunes of the age. Some of the most dramatic and picturesque castles in Europe were built after the 16th century. Eventually, the growth of artillery and cannon fire reduced the defensive nature of castles but their administrative, and interestingly, romantic aspects continued to be significant. Today, castles continue to function as private residences, museums, and monuments open to tourists. They interest not only historians and architects, but also the layperson, who cannot help but be attracted by the air of romance and mystery they evoke. This book documents 100 of the most noteworthy castles in the world, through a concise description and uncomplicated format. The diverse selection covers the first motte-and-bailey structures, crusader Strongholds, polygonal and square constructions, star-shaped Vauban fortifications, gothic-inspired fairy tale castles and more. Each castle is placed in context with an introduction, and is followed by a short timeline with key dates and names of associated personalities including rulers, master masons, architects, and military figures.