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1. Cave castle – A cave castle or grotto castle is a residential or refuge castle that has been built into a natural cave. It falls within the category of hill castles, unlike other types of castle, a cave castle can only be assaulted from the front. The castle gateway is located in the middle of a rock face. Archaeological discoveries have revealed that caves were used as places of refuge as early as the Stone Age, the first medieval cave castles emerged in the 11th and 12th centuries. In the 14th and 15th centuries this type of castle became more widespread, especially in parts of France. The actual cave castle was built at the foot of a high rock face. In several regions in Switzerland and France, however, soft rock material provides a basis for the construction of cave. There are considerably more castles of this type in Graubünden, Ticino, Valais or the Dordogne than, for example, the domestic buildings and stables were generally sited in the valley bottom beneath the castle, because the cave was often only accessible over steep and narrow paths. Most cave castles, for reasons, had no bergfried or other towers. One exception is Loch Castle near Eichhofen in Bavaria, that has an imposing, in many cases, the cave or grotto was simply sealed by a frontal wall and divided internally by stone or wooden partition walls. Several castles were, however, later turned into representative seats and expanded accordingly, for example Stein Castle, from an engineering perspective the cave castle is closely related to the rock castle, here, too, natural or artificially widened rock openings were incorporated into the structure. In the technical literature a distinction is made between cave and grotto castles, in popular usage, both terms are used more or less interchangeably. Weltbild, Augsburg 1994, ISBN 3-89350-554-7, p. 554–559, in, Basler Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Altertumskunde. 65,1965, ISSN 0067-4540, p. 53–62
2. Kropfenstein Castle – Kropfenstein Castle is a castle in the municipality of Waltensburg/Vuorz of the Canton of Graubünden in Switzerland. It is a Swiss heritage site of national significance, there are no surviving records indicating when or how this castle was built. From the style of construction it appears to have built in the 13th century and was in operation until the 15th century. By the 14th century the Counts of Kropfenstein begin to appear in historical records and they appear to have adopted the castles name when they took up residence there. In addition to the area around the castle, the Counts had close relations with the Herrschaft of Rhäzüns, the Kropfenstein line died out in the 15th century and the castle began to fall into disrepair. The castle is reached through a path that was cut into the rock on the east side, eventually a parapet was built along the path to prevent falls. The castle walls follow the edge of the cliff making its shape very irregular, due to the overhanging rock wall, the castle remains in generally good condition with limited weathering. The castle was three stories tall with embrasures that are visible on the upper two stories. The exact floor plan of the castle is unknown but it was divided into several rooms. The first room is only about 2 meters wide and was used as a store room. The western part of the castle is up to 6 meters wide and contained the living quarters. Nothing is known about the roof, but it may have been just a canopy to keep rain out
3. Loch Castle (Eichhofen) – Loch Castle is a protected ruin in the municipality of Loch in the Bavarian market borough of Nittendorf. It is also the symbol of Eichhofen, a village within the borough, Loch is a rare example of a cave castle in Bavaria, only in Stein an der Traun in Upper Bavaria is there another surviving example of this type of fortification. The foundation date of the hill castle is not precisely known. Historians believe it was either in the 12th or the 14th century. Its founders were the Rammelsteins, lords of a nearby estate and they erected the castle to guard a hammer mill. In 1556, when the last male Rammelstein, Sebastian, died there was a dispute over the castle. In his will, Sebastian had left the site to his wife, Margareta, but his nephew, Wolf Heinrich Sauerzapf, the ensuing dispute was not resolved until 1573, when a ruling gave Loch Castle to the Sauerzapfs. No later than 1625, their descendant, Veit Philipp Sauerzapf, moved his residence to neighbouring Schönhofen, since then, the building has stood empty and was no longer used. After his death in 1714, Christoph von Sauerzapf granted Loch Castle to the Carthusian abbey of Prüll in Regensburg, in the wake of secularisation it was seized by the Bavarian state and ended up in the hands of the landlords of Eichhofen. Its last owners were Günther and Dietlinde von Braunbehrens, née Freiin von Werthern and this family devoted themselves for some time to the preservation of the castle, but had to sell it for financial reasons and had themselves taken off the land registry. Since then the castle has been ownerless, responsibility for it belongs to the Free State of Bavaria, within whose borders the castle ruins are located. Loch Castle consists of two caves sealed by stone walls and these caves are connected to a labyrinth of smaller rooms in the cave system. The largest space, with an area of 12.5 x 7 metres, was used as a residential area and was panelled with wood. It was heated by a fireplace that may still be seen today, the ceiling of this room has partly collapsed since the castle was abandoned, leaving it open to the surface. As a result, it may be entered from both the downhill and uphill sides, there are still brick walls and door spaces in this room. The cave is two storeys high, but the floor only has a small chamber. In addition other buildings were built outside the cave, against the rock face, the area around the cave was surrounded by a high curtain wall and protected by a zwinger. The round bergfried of French design was placed immediately in front of the cave and is the building that has survived intact
4. Mezzocorona – Mezzocorona, until 1902 Mezzotedesco is a comune in Trentino in the northern Italian region Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, located about 15 kilometres north of the city of Trento. Mezzocorona borders the municipalities, Mezzolombardo, Ton, Roverè della Luna, San Michele allAdige. The name is believed to have derived from the Italian words mezzo. This explanation of the name is supported by the fact that Mezzolombardo was part of the area, another possible explanation of the name is that mezzo came from the regions local dialect mez, a word meaning wet
5. Predjama Castle – Predjama Castle is a Renaissance castle built within a cave mouth in south-central Slovenia, in the historical region of Inner Carniola. It is located in the village of Predjama, approximately 11 kilometres from the town of Postojna and 9 kilometres from Postojna Cave, the castle was first mentioned in the year 1274 with the German name Luegg, when the Patriarch of Aquileia built the castle in Gothic style. The castle was built under a natural rocky arch high in the wall to make access to it difficult. It was later acquired and expanded by the Luegg noble family, the castle became known as the seat of the knight Erazem Lueger, lord of the castle in the 15th century and a renowned robber baron. He was the son of the Imperial Governor of Trieste, Nikolaj Lueger, fleeing the vengeance of the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick III, Erazem reached in the family fortress of Predjama. From there, he allied himself with King Matthias Corvinus and began to attack Habsburg estates, the emperor commissioned the governor of Trieste, Andrej Ravbar, with the capture or killing of Erazem. Erazem was killed after a long siege. Erazem was betrayed by one of his men and was killed by a shot from a cannon, after the siege and destruction of the original castle, its ruins were acquired by the Oberburg family. In 1511, the castle, built by the Purgstall family in the first decade of the 16th century, was destroyed in an earthquake. In the year 1567, Archduke Charles of Austria leased the castle to baron Philipp von Cobenzl, in 1570, the current castle was built in the Renaissance style, pressed next to a vertical cliff under the original Medieval fortification. The castle has remained in form, virtually unchanged, to the present day. In the 18th century, it one of the favourite summer residences of the Cobenzl family. Both the Austrian statesman Philipp von Cobenzl and the diplomat Count Ludwig von Cobenzl spent time in the castle. A vertical natural shaft leads out of the castle, which Erazem ordered to be enlarged. This shaft allowed Erazem to secretly supply the castle with food in the time of the siege, Predjama Castle was used as the castle featured in the 1986 movie Armour of God by Golden Harvest starring Jackie Chan, Alan Tam, Rosamund Kwan and Lola Forner. It was also investigated for paranormal activity in a 2008 episode of Ghost Hunters International on the Sci Fi Channel and it was also the filming location of Laibachs Sympathy For The Devil covers music video. The multiplayer map Castle from the 2014 Counter-Strike, Global Offensive DLC, Operation Breakout, is based on Predjama Castle
6. Stein Castle (Bavaria) – Stein Castle in Stein an der Traun is the most important cave castle in Germany. The origins of the house are not totally clear. It may have stemmed from a dating to the Roman or Celtic period. Stein was first recorded in 1135, the romantic figure of the legendary robber knight, Hainz von Stein dem Wilden, is closely associated with the castle. He is supposed to have lived in the castle in the early 13th century and was written about for the first time by Lorenz Huebner in 1783 in a drama about the fatherland. The castle itself was in the possession of the Toerring family from the 13th century to 1633, albert von Toerring-Stein was the Bishop of Regensburg from 1613 to 1649. Adam Lorenz von Toerring-Stein held the office from 1663 to 1666. Count Carl Fugger von Kirchberg bought the property from the Toerrings in 1633, later it passed by marriage to the lords of Lösch. In 1818 a 2nd class patrimonial court was established in the old Hofmark in the wake of reforms in Bavaria, in 1845 Amélie de Beauharnais, widow of the emperor of Brazil, bought Stein Castle for herself and her daughter. In 1848 she ceded the Stein Court to the state as compensation, in 1890 Stein Castle went to Count Joseph zu Arco-Zinneberg. In 1928 the Arco-Zinneberg had to cut down the great St. Georges Forest in order to sell the wood to get out of debt, despite that they had to sell up, the forest was possessed by the state and was immediately reforested. Upper house, rock castle and lower house are today the property of the newly built Stein Castle Brewery, founded in 1907, the lower house in Stein has housed a private boarding school since 1948, the Schule Schloss Stein. Schlossbrauerei Stein Schule Schloss Stein Stein Castle and its famous occupant, Heinz