MEDIEVAL CASTLESCastles were built between 600 and 1,000 years ago. Castles were mainly used by kings and recruits for houses and forts. Castles were usually the biggest buildings around and towered over the countryside. Many castles were built in England, Scotland, France, Germany, and other European countries.
The majority of castles were built in the Middle Ages. During those times Europe was divided into states. In these states, also known as kingdoms, war was common. Kings tried to defend their lands by giving money to the nobles to build castles, and raising recruits to build private armies. The recruits were called knights. The knights bravely protected their castle and the land around them. The knights lived safely behind the castle walls.
Castles were built to have a good view of the kingdom. A castle owner also constructed a castle so it would be difficult to access during an attack. Many castles were built along shores of lakes, rivers, and on hilltops. Castles of earlier times were built using wood and soil. These castles weren't very strong against weather or fire. Castle builders soon realized this and started building castles using stone instead of wood and earth.
In Europe, castles were important for about 400 years. In the 1400's castles lost a lot of their usefulness. They were no longer as safe as the previous years. By that time gunpowder had been invented. Invaders would use gunpowder to fire cannons that could penetrate castle walls. Kings also started using one large army instead of many small ones. To counteract these developments, kings stated shaping the walls of the castles to be round because it would be easier to take down the castle with square cornered walls. The kings did this because if walls were rounded invaders would not be able to aim at the corners. However, this design was not always safe. Believe it or not some famous castles were captured by the attacking force sending a peasant up the toilet shaft and through the castle. After the person got into the castle he let in the attacking army so they could take over the castle.
As you can see the castles of medieval times were pretty impressive. They were the greatest structures at that time. A castle was protective and royal and strong. So you can see why castles were a big part of the Middle Ages