From the beginning, the humans have learnt that defending personal land was of the uppermost importance. To defend the land, fortify it. And thanks to this, we now have many great forts around the world.
The word “fortification” came from Latin fortis and facere which respectively means “to make strong”.
The very first forts started with earthworks and woods. Only it was until hundred years later that the forts evolved into more complex ones. And when the warriors started to use gunpowder and canons, forts started to evolve into star forts, low rise earthworks. And the explosive shells revolutionized fortresses’ design.
Rock of Gibraltar – the Pillars of Hercules.
The rock of Gibraltar or simply “The Rock” is a monolithic limestone promontory locating in Gibraltar, the British overseas. In this day and age, the majority of the area becomes a nature reserve.
Standing in The Rock was the old Moorish Castle as a relic of the former reign of Gibraltar and Spain. It was built around 711 AD according to the archaeologists. In 1704, United Kingdom famously took control over Gibraltar during the war of Spanish Succession.
Ankara Castle in the heart of Turkey
Castle of Ankara is an impressive and among the most famous forts at the heart of Ankara, capital of the Republic of Turkey. It consists of many defensive walls.
It was under the control of Roman and Byzantine then the Selijuk Turks in 1073 and Crusaders in 1101.
1882 witnessed the restoration of the fort by the Ottomans.
Spiš Castle covering 41,000km
Spiš Castle is among the largest European castles covering up to 41,000 km. It lies in Slovakia. This place is a UNESCO World Heritage site as of 1993.
The castle consists of a combination of architecture of Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance. In the 15th century, it was owned by the Kings of Hungary.
Edinburgh Castle is the symbol of UK’s great forts and is strategically positioned on top of a volcanic plug.
It dominated an important role in the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century and the Jacobite uprising in 1745.
Viking Aggersborg – Viking largest fort in Denmark
Under the reign of King Harald Bluetooth, the Vikings erected the Viking Aggersborg. It has been by far the largest Viking fort. The historians believed that King Harald ordered to build the Aggersborg to defend off other Vikings.
Viking fort must be the simplest construction in the list as it was earthwork (no stones at all). Yet, the historians considered the Viking ring-shaped fort or trelleborg to be the most geographically precise. This defensive construction of the Vikings almost reached perfection.
Malbork Castle – Largest Brick Castle of the World
Formerly Marienburg, the Malbork Castle is the world’s largest castle built from brick. The Teutonic Order erected the castle in 1406 after their Poland conquest.
Murud-Janjira: Fort on island
The Murud-Janjira fort was constructed on an island off the coast of coastal village of Murud in the 15th century. Until now, there are about 19 bastions intact.
Masada – Israel fort on rock
Masada was an Israel fort that lies on rock plateau in the Southern District of Israel. The historians believed that this fort could survive thanks to its location on such high rock plateau. It overlooks the Dead Sea and Judaean desert on the other side.
Mehrangarh Fort – Colossal wall of India
In Indian state of Rajasthan lies a fort, Mehrangarh. In 1459, the founder of Jodhpur, Rao Jodha, order to build the castle when he shifted capital from Mandore. The castle rests in a hill about 112 meters high (~367ft). Surrounding was colossal defensive walls.
Great Wall of China – Mighty Dragon of the Asian
Great Wall has become the symbol of China for centuries. It is among the Seven Modern Wonders of the World as well. The Chinese name of the Great Wall is WanLiChangCheng “万里长城” meaning “10,000-li great fort”. And in reality, the Great Wall stretches 21,196 kilometers (~13,170.70 miles). Some theory is put forward that the Great Wall of China could be seen from the Moon. Although many scholars have debunked it, this idea is deeply in the mind of many people.