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Top 10 Best Castles In The World

Top 10 Best Castles In The World

Whenever we hear the word ‘castle’, a large structure with great walls comes to our mind. Particularly, if you are a fan of the ‘Game of Thrones’ series, you might visualize the boisterous castles of Westeros, Bravos, and all around the mythical land, being guarded by armored soldiers. From ‘Dragon Heart’ to ‘Resident Evil’, many historical movies and games have their stories begin and end in castles.

Basically, a castle is a private, fortified residence of the nobles. However, the scope of the castle is highly contested. But contests aside, if you ever wonder visiting the world’s best castles, here is the list of the ‘Top Ten Best Castles in The World’.

1. Edinburgh Castle

1

    Edinburgh Castle is situated in Edinburgh, Scotland. The name Edinburgh is derived from ‘Din Eidyn’, which basically means ‘the fortress of Eidyn’. It was built in the extinct volcanic crag.

    Many buildings in the castle can be dated back to the 16th century. Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest surviving building of Edinburgh, which can be dated to the 12th century is also located here. It covers an area of 35737 square meters. In present day, it is a tourist center and one can take a guided tour of the castle.

    2. Citadel of Aleppo

    2

      Citadel of Aleppo is one of the oldest castles of the world. It covers an area of 39804 square meters. It is situated on 50 meters high hill in center of Aleppo in Syria. It is found that the hill has been in use since the middle of the 3rd millennium for various purposes.

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      The majority of its construction was completed in the 13th century. It has stood on the crusader era fortification and has served as stronghold for crusaders. Various civilizations including the Greek, and the Byzantine had occupied this partly conserved fortress. It spreads on 39804 square meters area.

      3. Trim Castle

      3

        Trim Castle is located in Trim County on the southern bank of the River Boyne in Ireland. It was built in the 12th century during Norman rule by Hugh de Lacy and is one of the largest among Norman castles, which is spread over area of 30,000 square meters.

        The castle was built in three stages, the later 2 of which were done by Walter de Lacy during his time. It was used as the administrative center of Norman administration for the Lordship of Meath. The castle is also referred in “Song of Dermot and the Earl”.

        In present day, you can access the castle with a small admittance fee. Ireland is the perfect place for castle tours as there are many outstanding castles in Ireland which are sure to leave one awestruck.

        4. Himeji Castle

        4

          Himeji Castle is one of the most beautiful castles of Japan, situated in the Himeji, Hyogo prefecture of Japan. It is a sample of prototypical oriental castle architecture which was built in the 14th century and expanded throughout the century.

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          The construction was completed in 1609 A.D. Since then, it has survived many civil wars, bombings and earthquakes. It occupies 41648 square meters area. Presently, it has 83 buildings; each equipped with defensive system. One of the noticeable features of the castle is its complex, which looks like a bird that is about to take a flight.

          5. Buda Castle

          5

            Buda Castle is located in the southern tip of castle hill in Budapest of Hungary. After the attack of Mongols, Buda’s citizen built the castle to defend themselves against the Mongols.

            Despite the effort, the castle has been invaded numerous times. This effect can be seen in the styles of buildings in the castle, which ranges from Baroque styles to Gothic styles. The castle took several years of construction. Its present day form was completed in 1266 A.D. It covers an area of 49485 square meters. In present day, it is a museum and also includes National Gallery of Hungary.

            6. Spis Castle

            6

              Built in the 12th century AD, Spis castle is one of the largest medieval castles in Central Europe. It is located in the countryside of eastern Slovakia. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by the tectonic quake.

              Stone wall was used to fortify the main building during the first half of the 13th century for anticipated Tartar incursion. Lower courtyard was fortified in the middle of the 11th century. The fortress was changed into homes for the noble families of Hungary later on.

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              In 1780, the castle caught fire which destroyed most of it. In present day, it is one of the sites listed in the world heritage by UNESCO.

              7. Hohesalzburg Castle

              7

                Hohesalzburg Castle is one of the largest castles in Europe. It is situated in the city of Salzburg in Austria. It was actually built in 1077 AD, but further works of expansion were done from 1495 A.D to 1519 A.D.

                It is the best preserved and one of the biggest medieval fortresses in Central Europe. It covers an area of 54523 square meters. This castle is believed to have never been captured by any enemy. In present day, it stands as fortress museum and displays a wide range of ancient weapons, coins and many musical instruments.

                8. Windsor Castle

                8

                  Windsor Castle is one of the largest and oldest inhabited castles in the world. It is located in England and spreads over an area of 54835 square meter. It is one of the various official residences of Queen Elizabeth II where she has spent many weeks and weekends.

                  The castle is also used for various state functions. The notable structures in the castle are Queen Mary’s doll house and State apartment. The castle has also served as the burial site of some monarchs.

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                  9. Prague Castle

                  St Charles Bridge Prague

                    Prague Castle was built in the 9th century and now stands as one of the largest and majestic castles in the world. Although it was built in the 9th century, its expansion can be dated back to the second half of the 18th century.

                    It is situated in Czech Republic and covers an area of 66761 square meters. It consists of St. Vitus Cathedral, where the crown jewels are kept. It is full of Gothic structures. The castle has been used as the seat for the Czech monarchs since its construction in 880 A.D.

                    It also served as the residence of many religious leaders and Holy Roman emperors. In present day, it is used as the official house for the head of the state.

                    10. Malbork Castle

                    10

                      Malbork Castle is the largest castle in the world with an area of whopping 143591 square meters. It is located in Poland.  It was founded by Teutonic Knights, which was the Roman Catholic religious order based in Germany.

                      The knights used it as headquarter to defeat the Polish enemy, which also helped to rule the northern Baltic territories. Several expansions were done to accommodate the growing number of knights until they retreated in 1466 A.D in Konigsburg.

                      In 1466, it was home to Polish monarchy. Now, it consists of monasteries and museums. It is also listed in the ‘World Heritage Site’ list by UNESCO.

                      Featured photo credit: Wikipedia via upload.wikimedia.org

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                      Last Updated on November 15, 2019

                      Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

                      Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

                      Wouldn’t you like to be able to eat twice as much as you do now without gaining weight? If so, I have good news for you because this is possible when you learn how to increase metabolism.

                      How Much Do You Know About Metabolism?

                      Before we get to the meat, let me say that metabolism is a term that describes all the chemical reactions in your body.[1] These chemical reactions keep your body alive and functioning, however, the word metabolism is often used interchangeably with the metabolic rate or the number of calories you burn.

                      The metabolic rate is a rough estimate of how much energy your body needs to simply stay alive and perform all its biochemical reactions. These reactions require energy, aka burn calories.

                      Imagine that your brain alone consumes nearly 20% of your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure at rest),[2] your digestion and the detoxifying system come second, repairing tissues third and so on.

                      Staying alive is expensive for your body and its two main currencies are fats and sugars.

                      When I am talking about improving your metabolic rate (metabolism), I mean improving the amount of energy, your body requires to (pretty much) lay down in bed and do nothing for 24 hours.

                      Extra physical activity, extra thinking or fighting illness are things that require a lot of energy (burn a lot of calories) but they don’t really increase metabolism… actually they can decrease it.

                      Can You Naturally Change the Speed of Your Basal Metabolism?

                      The answer to this question is yes and you can also achieve an increase in metabolism and a drop in body fat by eating more.

                      Shocked? Well, I was too.

                      The way I came across this phenomenon is quite funny. Over my 10 years as a coach, I helped many busy professionals to naturally increase their metabolism by getting them leaner, fitter and stronger but, at the beginning of my career, I actually had no idea whether they were losing weight because of an increase in metabolism or because we created a calorie deficit with diet and exercise.

                      When I was training my clients regularly, they would lose weight. Every time I would take a few weeks of vacation, I would come back to London and find out that most of them gained back a generous amount of weight despite the fact that they were following their diet and they swapped our weight training sessions with cardio.

                      On the contrary, when they were going on vacation, they would do zero exercises and binge like there was no tomorrow but come back either lighter or weighing the same (but looking more muscular).

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                      Observing this phenomenon happening over and over again, got me curious about the mechanics of our metabolism and the ways to hack it.

                      Was it really possible that by relaxing and eating more food, someone could actually maintain his/her current weight or even be losing fat?

                      Driven by the desire to answer this question, I spent a good amount of years researching and testing different food strategies until I finally cracked the code to an improved metabolism that allows you to eat like a king and look like a Greek God.

                      Does Eating More Increase Metabolism?

                      Before I explain why eating more increases your metabolism, let me dig into something that I see people doing much more often: “eating less and moving more.”

                      It is quite common to see people embarking their yearly weight loss journey (usually after Christmas or Easter) by following very restrictive diets and bombarding their body with several hours of exercise per day.

                      Despite the short-term effectiveness of this approach, in the long run, if the goal is to increase metabolism and lose a lot of fat over an extended period of time, this simply won’t work.

                      As I have mentioned before, eating fewer calories and exercising more are energy-consuming activities for your body. In the first case, your body needs to use its own energy reserves to top up the missing energy it needs to fully function; and in the second, it takes your body extra energy to contract your muscles.

                      In both cases, your TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure at rest) doesn’t vary much; therefore your metabolism stays unchanged.[3]

                      A different scenario happens when you eat less and move more for an extended period of time (weeks or months). In that case, your metabolism will slow down because your body is receiving a “we have little access to food and we need to run away from threats” signal.

                      Your metabolism is like your bank account.

                      To understand this concept, let’s imagine that you have $4,000 coming into your bank account each and every month. The money you spend on housing, transport, food and leisure are calibrated according to this monthly income.

                      Now, imagine that a rich uncle starts to send you $1,000 each day. What would you do? Probably, you would save that money for the first two or three days but, when you notice that $1,000 keep on coming every single day, you would likely start to spend more right?

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                      What if, instead of a rich uncle sending you money, a poor uncle needed your financial help to pay for the treatments of his illness? You would probably try your best to adjust your spending according to your old $4,000 monthly budget.

                      That’s exactly how your body reasons:

                      More Resources Coming in = More Energy Released (Improved Metabolism)

                      Fewer Resources Coming in = Less Energy Released (Decreased Metabolism)

                      Note that activities like weight training[4] and high-intensity interval training (HIIT),[5] when combined with an increase in nutrient-rich foods, will also improve your metabolism.

                      For this reason, today, when I coach a new client, I always start by increasing their daily food intake and their physical activities. Usually, people are quite confused because they come to me to lose weight and I tell them to eat more but, without fail, the next weekly weight-check shows a lower number.

                      Be aware that not all foods are equal and only certain foods have the power to increase metabolism to a noticeable extent.

                      Foods That Increase Metabolism

                      Doubling up on Snickers bars won’t improve your metabolism and you know that. What you may not know is that certain foods that are marked as “healthy” doesn’t help you with increasing your metabolism. They also make you gain weight.

                      Before giving you a list of foods to eat or avoid, let me explain a simple principle of human biochemistry.

                      Your body uses energy from three (or four) main sources:

                      • Sugars: whether you eat a Snickers bar or a banana, the carbohydrates contained in both get absorbed in the gut and become blood glucose (the basic form of sugar our body utilizes as a source of energy).[6]
                        When blood glucose is present in the bloodstream (elevated levels), the body always uses it as its primary source of energy. When blood glucose levels drop (this phenomenon happens when you’re using these sugars to fuel a physical activity or when your pancreas produced a spike of insulin and stores that glucose into fat and muscles), your body starts to release fatty acids into the bloodstream to use as a source of energy.
                      • Fatty acids: either from your own fat cells (adipocytes) or from whatever fat-containing foods you ate in the past 2-3 hours. Fatty acids are a slower and more consistent form of energy than sugars that your body can utilise.
                      • Amino acids: Amino acids are the broken-down form of proteins. Proteins cannot be used by the body as a source of energy, not even in their broken-down form. Your body can transform amino acids into glucose with a process called gluconeogenesis.[7] This is a very inefficient process where a decent amount of energy gets wasted (and that’s a good thing for us but I’ll get to that later).
                      • Ketones: when you don’t feed your body any source of carbs (or proteins in excess), your liver produces an alternative source of energy called Ketones. It can replace the need for glucose (most of it at least).[8]

                      Now that you know the four energy sources the body can use to fuel its metabolism, let’s get to the meat (quite literally).

                      To make this simple for you, I am going to divide foods into three categories:

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                      1. Red Flags – Avoid the red foods because they slow your metabolism. They are usually extremely low in micronutrients and high in antinutrients (agents that are highly toxic). They are highly processed or spike your insulin levels (therefore stopping your fat burning process).
                      2. Orange Foods – Limit your consumption of orange foods. The orange foods on the list are suboptimal choices but they don’t have a negative impact on your metabolism when consumed in moderation. In fact, they contain a decent amount of micronutrients and, if eaten in small amounts, they shouldn’t stop your fat burning process.
                      3. Green Foods – These are foods to consume most. Green foods will improve your metabolism and should be the main bulk of your diet.

                      Next, I’ll get into details exactly what foods to eat and avoid:

                      Sugars and Carbs

                      Sugars do not directly improve metabolism because they stop the process of fat utilisation. There is an exception to this rule though. When you eat a diet extremely low in carbohydrates and sugars for an extended period of time (two to six days onwards), introducing carbohydrates and sugars can actually improve metabolism quite a bit.

                      Unfortunately, for most of us that love eating bread, pasta, fruit and yoghurt, unless we were on a low-carb diet for the past few days, these foods are not an optimal choice.

                      Sugars like fructose (found in fruit or commercial sugar) actually decrease metabolism and should be limited. Heavily processed sugars and carbohydrates should be also limited. Here is the colour list of sugars and carbs that affect metabolism:

                      Red Flag Sugary Foods You Should Avoid:
                      • Dried fruit
                      • Commercial and packaged corn
                      • High fructose corn syrup
                      • All sorts of candies and lookalike
                      • Packaged fruit juices and purees
                      • Sugary dairy products like flavoured yoghurt, condensed milk etc
                      Orange Sugary Foods You Should Limit:
                      • Bread and flour-based products
                      • Milk and also vegan milk alternatives that are sweetened
                      • Most fruit (exceptions are in the green list below)
                      • Potatoes and potato starch products
                      • Oatmeals and other grains
                      Green Sugary and Carb-Containing Foods That Improve Metabolism
                      • All berries except strawberries
                      • Tubers like squash, carrots, parsnips etc
                      • Sweet potatoes
                      • White rice
                      • All green vegetables

                      Fats

                      Fatty acids and fats, in general, can improve or decrease metabolism depending on their composition.

                      Red Flag Fatty Foods You Should Avoid:
                      • Margarine and hydrogenated fat
                      • Lard
                      • Gmo oils
                      • Most vegetable oils from seeds and peanut oil
                      Orange Fatty Foods You Should Limit:
                      • Nuts
                      • Meat fat
                      • Nut oils (macadamia, almond, cashew etc..)
                      • Seeds
                      Green Fatty Foods You Should Eat Daily
                      • Extra virgin olive oil (non-heated)
                      • Avocado
                      • Coconut oil
                      • Butter (organic)
                      • Egg yolks (free-range)
                      • Bone marrow

                      The fatty foods in the green section tend to be very effective in increasing metabolism, especially in the absence of carbohydrates because they stimulate the production of ketones (I’ll talk about this later).

                      Bear in mind that 1 gram of fat has 2.5 times the calories of a gram of protein or carbohydrates; therefore “eating more fats” to increase metabolism should be done very gradually to avoid weight gain.

                      Proteins

                      Eating food not only sends regulatory signals to your brain about abundance vs scarcity of resources, but it can also increase your metabolism for a few hours. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF).[9] It’s caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal.

                      Protein causes the largest rise in TEF.[10] It increases your metabolic rate by 15-30%, compared to 5-10% for carbs and 0-3% for fats

                      Eating protein has also been shown to help you feel more full and prevent you from overeating, in fact, a study found that people were likely to eat around 441 fewer calories per day when protein made up 30% of their diet.[11]

                      Also, proteins help preserve muscle mass.[12] The more muscle mass we have, the higher our basal metabolism is.

                      For these reasons, the first nutritional advice I usually give to clients is to reduce sugars and increase proteins. This quick swap is often enough to kickstart their metabolism and commence the fat burning process.

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                      Red Protein Sources That Should Be Avoided
                      • Cheap whey proteins
                      • Soy proteins
                      • GMO meat
                      • GMO eggs
                      • Packaged meat
                      Orange Protein Source to Be Limited
                      • Canned tuna
                      • Canned fish
                      • Canned meat
                      • Gluten-rich products like Seitan
                      • Farmed fish
                      Green Protein Sources to Have Daily
                      • Free-range meat
                      • Free-range eggs
                      • Wild meat and fish
                      • Whey protein isolate
                      • Collagen and beef protein hydrolyzed

                      Note that this is a general categorisation of the foods that, when added to your diet, have the power to increase or decrease metabolism. There are some specific foods and supplements worth mentioning because they have been proven to improve metabolism by increasing thyroid output or resting heart rate, they are as follows.

                      Other Foods and Supplements

                      Cold water

                      Drinking water may temporarily speed up your metabolism. Studies have shown that drinking 17 ounces (0.5 litres) of water increases resting metabolism by 10-30% for about an hour.[13]

                      This is not a surprise since our body is made up mainly by water and proper hydration is key to a fast metabolism. This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature.

                      MCT Oils or Powders

                      Medium-chain triglycerides or MCT have been shown to improve metabolism by stimulating Ketone production.[14] Coconut oil contains MCT fats and, when used as a replacement for cooking oil can help you improve metabolism.

                      You can buy the concentrated version of MCT oils and eat it separately to further enhance this effect. Either way, coconut oil or pure MCT oil can be a great addition to your diet if you’re following a ketogenic or intermittent fasting protocol.

                      Caffeine

                      Caffeine and coffee have been shown to improve metabolism by improving heart rate and, therefore improving calorie consumption.[15]

                      Green Tea

                      Green tea

                      is thought to increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation, and to reduce fat production and absorption.[16]

                      Bottom Line

                      In this article, I just covered the basics of food and metabolism but, there are many other non-food related things you can do to improve your metabolism, like improving your sleep quality and following certain exercise routines.

                      For now, just know that making small and gradual changes to your diet can increase your metabolism and improve your general health. Starting from changing one habit at a time is always the best strategy to accomplish any goal.

                      Once you improve your diet, your hydration and your supplementation you can think about testing more advanced “bio-hacks” or techniques like ice baths and fasted HIIT training.

                      And remember, having a higher metabolism doesn’t only help you lose weight and keep it off but it also give you more energy and a feeling of vibrancy. If you give it time, it really is worth the investment.

                      Featured photo credit: Fitsum Admasu via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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