Romantic Architecture? 15 Castles Built for Love

February 12th, 2012 Permalink

Love is the most powerful force that exists. In the throes of love, your feet are nowhere close to the ground but floating in the clouds. Love has inspired all types of art, poems, novels, plays, music and paintings. After Cupid shoots an arrow through the heart, some people are so inspired as to erect architecture. We’re not talking about building a Love Shack, but of big-scale and divinely romantic architecture such as castles built for love. Margaret Anderson once said, “In real love you want the other person’s good. In romantic love you want the other person.” Castles built by love seem like both. There are many examples of architecture built for love, but to celebrate Valentine’s Day we wanted to hone in on castles love built. While this amazing architecture seems like something out of a fairy tale, and a wonderfully romantic way to say I Will Always Love You, not all end with happily ever after. The irony is that almost all of these grand displays of love ended in tragedy. [15 Castles presented in 83 Photos]

Aerial view of Boldt Castle and some of the Thousand Islands in the Saint Lawrence River - Castles Built for Love

Happy Valentine’s Day! If you are a bah-humbug type of person on this holiday of romance, then perhaps you can at least appreciate all this architecture that was constructed for love? As many of us can appreciate beautiful castles, perhaps even saying “I love it” there are some castles that are divinely romantic since they were built by love and to honor love. This is an aerial view of Boldt Castle and some of the Thousand Islands in the Saint Lawrence River, near Alexandria Bay, New York. George Boldt had this five-acre castle estate built out of love for his wife. He planned to give his wife Boldt Castle on Valentine’s Day 1905. As you will see in many of these castles built for love, there is a reoccurring theme of tragedy striking at the heart of love. Photo #1 by Teresa Mitchell / Howcheng

Boldt Castle -- Alexandria Bay, NY

On the romantic Heart Island, part of the 1000 Islands Region of the St. Lawrence River, remains a monument of George C. Boldt’s love for his wife Louise. According to Boldt Castle history, “Beginning in 1900, the Boldt family spent summers in the 1000 Islands at the Boldt Families Wellesley House near Mr. Boldt’s Wellesley Island Farms while 300 workers including stonemasons, carpenters, and artists fashioned the six story, 120 room castle, complete with tunnels, a powerhouse, Italian gardens, a drawbridge, alster tower (children’s playhouse) and a dove cote. Not a single detail or expense was spared.” The plan was to give this medieval and Victorian architectural-styled castle, built as a testimonial of his love, to his wife On Valentine’s Day 1905. But the best laid plans, even those built by love, do not always end happily ever after. Photo #2 by A.D.Wheeler


Boldt Castle on Heart Island, New York - Castles Built for Love

Boldt Castle was supposed to be an eleven-building complex, the most grand in the Thousand Islands. But one year before Boldt Castle was completed, Louise died. George was brokenhearted, stopped construction, and never again returned to the island. For 73 years, the castle and other stone buildings were abandoned and abused by harsh winter weather and vandals. In 1977, the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority purchased Heart Island and the nearby yacht house for $1. It has been restored for future generations to enjoy. On the left is the staircase inside Boldt Castle. The upper right photo shows the main gate and Alister Tower. The middle shot is of the Boldt Castle yacht house. On the bottom right, the sunset reflects off the Boldt powerhouse. Photo #3 by kmaraj, #4 by Kiril Strax, #5 by Robert Scott, #6 by A.D.Wheeler

Boldt Castle

Among many amazing architectural landmarks of Boldt Castle, there is the Yacht House, a gigantic playhouse Alster Tower, the Power House, and a 120-room dream-come-true castle modeled after Rhineland Castle. It is the very fairy-tale romantic nature of the castle that continues to draw couples in love to get married here. Photo #7 by Thousand Islands Bridge Authority / Boldt Castle

Swallows Nest built for hot tryist love Swallows Nest Castle in Crimea Yalta

This romantic Neo-Gothic style castle, built in 1912, is the Swallow’s Nest Castle in Crimea, Yalta. While the Swallow’s Nest was built for love, it was of the hot tryist love flavor which was reflected even in the original name “The Castle of Love” or “Love Castle.” Photo #8 by desktop nexus, #9 by Иерей Максим Массалитин, #10 by hdoboi

Swallow’s Nest a symbol of Crimea Ukraine

Swallow’s Nest, a symbol of Crimea (Ukraine), is one of the best-known romantic castles near Yalta. While this lover’s nest may not have been inspired by true love, this Castle of Love suffered a sad fate. An earthquake measuring 6-7 on the Richter scale cracked the 130 ft Aurora Cliff in 1927 and this massive crack closed the castle for the next 40 years. Eventually the cliff and castle were fortified and restored. Tourists swarm the Swallow’s Nest Castle to dine in the restaurant inside, or to enjoy the romantic vibes while overlooking Ai–Todor Cape and the Black Sea. Photo #11 by Kirill Simonov, #12 by girlandlovelynotebook

The 'Swallow Nest' castle in the night, Gaspra, Yalta vicinity, Crimea - architecture Built for Love

The Swallow Nest’s at the night. This dark scene seems to reflect and remind us of the shadowy sad past of how the Castle of Love, built for making love, is now more about the love of money as a tourist attraction. Still it is a striking castle that many can now enjoy. Photo #13 by Grigory Gusev

Casa Loma in Toronto, Canada

This Gothic Revival style castle is Casa Loma in Toronto, Canada. It was built in 1911–1914 after Major-General Sir Henry Mill Pellatt promised his wife Mary a sprawling castle. While Maryhill Castle was considered as a name for this castle built for love, Pellatt decided upon the name Casa Loma, which is Spanish for “House on the Hill.” He spared no expense and the castle was considered very modern at the time. This architecture constructed for love cost over $5,000,000 to build and furnish. Today that amount would be equal to about $65 million. They lived for only 10 years in this dreamy love castle, since they fell behind in taxes during the depression that followed WWI. Pellatt was forced to auction off $1.5 million in art and furnishings for only $250,000. Photo #14 by paul (dex) bica, #15 by Steven V. Rose, #16 by SimonP

Built for love in Canada -- Casa Loma

It took 300 workers to construct this built-for-love, 98 room, 3-story castle. Casa Loma was the largest private residence in Canada. It had massive stables and a two-story hunting lodge which was 4,380 sq ft. Inside the very modern castle was “an elevator, an oven large enough to cook an ox, two vertical passages for pipe organs, central vacuum, two secret passages in Sir Henry’s ground-floor office and three bowling alleys.” After Sir Henry Pellatt and his wife left the castle, it functioned for short periods of time in the 1920s as a luxury hotel and then a popular nightspot. The city seized the castle and it fell to disrepair until there was talk of demolishing Casa Loma. Meanwhile during WWII, Casa Loma was used to conceal research on sonar for U-boat detection. Photo #17 by Jeffrey Vanneste

Gardens of Casa Loma in Canada a castle built for love

Casa Loma is now a museum and landmark popular with tourists. The exterior has been undergoing restoration for 15 years. Casa Loma has five-acres of lovely gardens. Photo #18 by Casa Loma, #19 by Benson Kua

Captain's Castle - Cameron, Oklahoma

Captain’s Castle in Cameron, Oklahoma, may not be the most grand or large, but it makes our list based off the love story behind it. Apparently Captain J.E. Reynolds was a prince among big, dumb jerks prior to the Civil War. In fact, “Reynolds was considered as The ‘Original Male Chauvinist’ as he had little respect for women and even less respect for women’s work.” He was wounded several times during the Civil War, “once so seriously that he would have died had it not been for the two daughters of his commanding confederate officer.” After they tenderly nursed him back to health, guess what? Prince Scum Sucker changed into Captain Chivalry. Photo #20 by © Oklahoma Historical Society, #21 by Explore Southern History

Captain's or Reynolds' Castle in OK

Captain Reynolds married Felicity, a descendant of a prominent Choctaw leader, and settled in a small Oklahoma town. In 1890, he started construction on a castle, built it with love for his love, his wife. Captain’s Castle is sometimes also called Reynolds’ Castle. Photo #22 by Southern History

Taj Mahal from Agra Uttar Pradesh, INDIA

Taj Mahal from Agra Uttar Pradesh, India. While the Taj Mahal is a ‘castle” love constructed, it begins with tragedy and love lost. This is a mausoleum created in memory of “true love” after the death of a “favorite wife.” Photo #23 by Ramesh NG

Taj Mahal sideview

Mumtaz Mahal, Emperor Shah Jahan, had this tomb created, wanting it to be the most resplendent monument that a man ever built for a woman. This is the side-view of the Taj Mahal; the mausoleum’s dome and four standing minarets are built out of white marble. Photo #24 by Driftwithwind

Taj Mahal built for love in life and death

The inside and outlying buildings are primarily built of red sandstone. The architectural styles of the Taj Mahal include Indian, Islamic and Persian, but the main reason for the entire “castle” is the tomb and repeating mantra of love lost. Photo #25 by Poco a poco, #26 by Airknight, #27 by William Donelson, #28 by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

Kellie's Castle in Malaysia

Kellie’s Castle is Malaysia’s oldest castle and it was indeed built for love by Scottish planter William Kellie Smith. He made his fortune and returned home to marry his Scottish sweetheart Agnes before bringing her to Malaysia in 1903. The castle did not make Agnes happy, since she was terribly homesick. When she had a son in 1915, Kellie decided to expand the castle. This was when Kellie’s Castle became Kellie’s Folly. Photo #29 by Matthew Reeve

creepy haunted Kellie's Castle

During the additional construction, to celebrate the birth of his son, Kellie wanted to combine three architectural styles – Greco-Roman, Moorish, and Indian. Almost immediately a Spanish flu epidemic killed most of the 70 Indian construction workers, and threatened to scare off the few who survived, so Kellie had a Hindu temple constructed near the castle built for love. This pleased the workers into restarting construction on the creepy and supposedly haunted castle. Photo #30 by Sharqawi Bakar, #31 by Matthew Reeve

Kellie's Castle (Kellie's Folly) by for love

After construction restarted, Kellie ignored the supposed curse or hauntings and left for England to purchase a crane for the castle tower. He died shortly thereafter from pneumonia. Workers fled and construction on Kellie’s Castle was left uncompleted. This location is allegedly haunted and has been visited by many paranormal groups including Ghost Hunters International who investigated the castle ruins. Photo #32 by Mohd Najib, #33 by chee.hong, #34 by chee.hong, #35 by salehi hassan

Thornewood Castle set for the Stephen King film Rose Red

Thornewood Castle was built for love. The bricks were from a dismantled 15th century house which was imported from England to Tacoma, Washington. The love story behind this castle is not like the others, neither built for a new bride nor as a nest for passionate lovers. Instead Chester Thorne had been married to his wife Anna for over 20 years when construction of Thornewood began. You may recognize Thornewood Castle, since it was the set for the Stephen King film Rose Red. The top photo was taken Circa 1910 during construction of ‘Rose Red.’ The lower left shows the interior living room. The photo on the lower right shows the interior fireplace in the living room and is looking toward the dining hall. Photo #36 by Unknown/Circa 1910, #37 by © Christy R. Hansen, #38 by © Christy R. Hansen

Thornewood Castle gardens

Thornewood “castle” gardens are where weddings are often held, but were originally built for Anna. She called the sunken English garden her “Secret Garden.” The giant chess set still remains as well in this tribute to romance and to true love. The Thornes lived at Thornewood with their daughter who later married, had children and continued to live at Thornewood. As Margaret Anderson once said, “In real love you want the other person’s good. In romantic love you want the other person.” This castle built for love is an example of both — with no tragic ending. Photo #39 by © Thornewood Castle, #40 by © Thornewood Castle, #41 by Lara604, #42 by Lara604

Taj Lake Palace Udaipur

Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur: Taj Lake Palace began as a prince’s rebellious gesture, but was later turned into one of the most romantic hotels in the world. According to Taj Lake Palace history, “Glowing moonlight. Gentle lakeside breezes. A whole entourage of courtesans. What young prince could resist? Certainly not Maharana Jagat Singh II. Legend has it that the young prince indulged in moonlight picnics with the ladies of the Zenana on the lake island palace of Jag Mandir. A pleasurable pastime – until his father found out. With that option closed to him, there was only one solution. He built his own pleasure palace on a different island in Lake Pichola.” Photo #43 by Dennis Jarvis, #44 by Jasvipul Chawla, #45 by Aditichopra7

Taj Lake Palace begun as a prince's rebellious gesture but was turned into one of the most romantic hotels in the world

This luxurious lover’s nest was built for love, but the passionate kind. This is the Lily Pond exterior view of Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur. Construction on this “castle,” a pleasure palace, began in 1743 and was inaugurated in 1746. It was named Jag Niwas and now Taj Lake Palace, and is on one of four lovely Lake Pichola islands. Photo #46 by Sreejithk2000

Castle of Torrechiara, Italy

This massive castle in northern Italy was built between 1448 – 1460. Pier Maria II Rossi, the count of San Secondo, had the Castle of Torrechiara constructed in honor of his lover Bianca Pellegrini. Torrechiara became her luxurious home. Look familiar? Scenes of the film Ladyhawke were shot at Castle Torrechiara in 1985. Photo #47 by Renaud Camus

Castle of Torrechiara - built for his lover

Even the four towers showed his love for her as one, the “Lily Tower” (Torre del Giglio) carries Bianca Pellegrini’s coat of arms. This castle built for love and passion was a wonderful lover’s nest. The “Golden Chamber” is one of the most famous erotic chambers in Italy, decorated with — among other things — paintings of a woman searching for her lover. Also in that room are two entwined hearts forever marked with the lovers’ initials and joined by a ribbon bearing the motto “Nunc et Semper,” which means “now and forever.” This is another example where love won instead of a tragic unhappily-ever-after ending. Photo #48 by Silla, #49 by Luigi Alighieri, #50 by Emilio Dellepiane

Layton Castle, Utah

This is Layton Castle in Utah — although the castle does not really have an official name — just officially near Layton, Utah. This is nowhere close to a castle built for true love, but a castle built for spite due to love scorned. According to a Dupon Castle, a man and his wife lived elsewhere before this castle was built. The story goes that “the wife was always being told by her mother that her husband would never amount to anything and that she should leave him and marry someone richer. After a time she did just that and her new husband never amounted to much.” She moved to Utah, and built herself a nice home in the valley. But not long after she remarried, her first husband made a great deal of money and became successful. Out of spite…and love (he wanted to be with her), he moved there and built a castle up on the east bench in Layton — almost in her backyard. He could see every house all the way to the Great Salt Lake…including hers. It was his way of watching over her. Every time she stood at her kitchen sink and looked out the window, her ex-husband’s beautiful castle was her view. Moral of the story? Sometimes it isn’t best to listen to your mother! Photo #51 by © Ben Steiner

Layton Castle in Utah

In the continuing story of Layton Castle in Utah, the castle built for spite after spurned love, there is a different real Cinderella love story behind this castle: Gary Willey (a very charming and handsome man) one day saw a beautiful dark-haired, dark-eyed lady named Lynda Roundy who had also endured a harsh first marriage. It was “love at first sight.” They met, courted, and traveled the world, falling even more madly in love, before they were married. A short time later Lynda was diagnosed with breast cancer. During one of the remission periods, Gary vowed to build her the home of her dreams — including a pool, tennis courts and a lovely stable area. Soon after they began to build, Lynda lost her battle with cancer. Although she did not live to see her dream home finished, the love of her life completed construction on the castle just the same. Gary later dedicated the home to his lost love and held tours for a short while. In this sad ending version, Layton Castle was built for love and not spite. Photo #52, #53, #54 & #55 by Homes of the Rich

Dobroyd Castle

Dobroyd Castle in Todmorden, England, began like something out of a fairy tale. In a booming cotton town, rich industrialist John Fielden fell in love with local weaver Ruth Stansfield. She told him that she would marry him only if he built her a castle. What started as a promise of love and then a honeymoon home, became a place of turmoil and the marriage was increasingly strained during the construction. Eventually Dobroyd Castle, a castle love built, had 66 luxurious rooms, four turrets, a main tower and a stable for 17 horses. Most romantic of all was the testimony of John and Ruth’s love, the dozen different places where their initials were engraved, the monograms JFR forever captured and carved into the Devon marble and Caen stone. The bottom photo is of the now-abandoned stables. Photo #56 by Dvprknsn, #57 by Dvprknsn

Dobroyd castle in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, England

Sadly the reoccurring theme of love and tragedy struck when John decided Ruth was not refined enough for socializing in Dobroyd Castle as he intended to “immortalize the name of Fielden.” John sent his beloved wife to finishing school in Switzerland to improve her social etiquette and education. That seemed to kill the love and eventually her, only 8 years after the castle was completed. Although John remarried, he was kicked by a horse and crippled so that he spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair. Photo #58 by William Warby, #59 by William Warby

Did you know there was a castle in Kentucky? This is Castle Post (previously Martin Castle and Versailles Castle) aka Kentucky Castle located on Versailles Road between Lexington and Frankfort. Construction of 50-acre estate and castle began in 1969 with coal boom money, but the money ran out and construction ground to a halt. Dupont Castle tells the tragic tale: The original owner and builder, Rex Martin, and his new bride honeymooned in Europe where she fell in love with castles. He built her this replica of a castle upon their return, but they divorced before it’s completion. Inside the turreted wall is a 10,400-square-foot, six-bedroom house complete with a huge library and swimming pool. Add chickens, goats, and peasants and you’d have a medieval village fort. With its dozen turrets, four corner towers and 12-foot walls, the derelict castle was both a forbidding sight and a vision of whimsy. Photo #60 by Christina Ramey, #61 screengrab virtual tour by Castle Post

Kentucky Castle -- Martin Castle, also known as Post Castle and Versailles Castle

In 2004, a Miami attorney spent almost $2 million to buy the castle, but a fire destroyed it — a fire which was later labeled arson. By 2008, the Kentucky Castle underwent extensive reconstruction. It is now known as Castle Post where tourists can vacation, have a fanciful bed and breakfast, or choose to hold a wedding ceremony. Photo #62 & #63 by Wave3, #64 by Dupont Castle, #65 by Relocation Blog, #66 by Dupont Castle, #67 & #68 by UrbanDaddy, #69 & #70 by Castle Post

Craigdarroch Castle

This is Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, British Columbia. According to Stronghold 2 Heaven, after Scottish immigrant Robert Dunsmuir made his fortune, he “promised to build a new home for his wife Joan. Dunsmuir commissioned Warren H. Williams and Arthur L. Smith of Portland, Oregon to design the castle in 1887. Williams died four months into the project, but Smith carried on and finished the castle. Robert Dunsmuir died in 1889, one year before the castle’s completion. The cost of the Victorian mansion is estimated to have been close to $500,000. The interior woodwork alone filled 5 railway cars from Chicago and cost $32,000.” Photo #71 by Christopher Sibley

Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, British Columbia

Stronghold 2 Heaven added, “The original grounds of the castle encompassed 28 acres. It takes 87 steps to reach the tower on the top level, but once you’ve reached it, the view is impressive: Victoria Harbour to the west, the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the south, the Olympic Mountains and the San Juan Islands to the east, as well as the city of Victoria itself. The castle is over 20,000 square feet, spread throughout 39 rooms on 4½ floors. It has 17 fireplaces. The exterior is constructed of marble, granite, sandstone, terra cotta, and Vermont slate in the Romanesque/Chateauesque style.” It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada and is now owned by the Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum Society. Besides a 150,000 yearly tourists, Craigdarroch Castle has been used in the movies: Little Women (1994), Spooky House (2000) and Cats & Dogs (2001). Photo #72 by Shayne Kaye, #73 by Hayley E. Lavik, #74 by Fletcher6

Larnach Castle, Otago Peninsula, New Zealand

This is Larnach Castle which is located on the Otago Peninsula in New Zealand. According to CNN GO, “Construction began on the castle in 1871, when Australian William Larnach broke the turf for his first wife, Eliza Jane Guise. It was completed in 1887, with the final addition of a ballroom as a 21st birthday present for his daughter Katie.” Wikipedia notes, “The finished house contained 43 rooms and a ballroom, and required a staff of 46 servants.” Larnach called it “The Camp,” and although built for love, it “did not ensure his happiness.” Photo #75 by Poco a poco

Larnach Castle in New Zealand

Larnach Castle in New Zealand is allegedly haunted by “a very unhappy” presence. In 2008, there were about 30 reported sightings of “cranky spirits,” “touches,” “pushing” and other “odd occurrences.” As rumors of the notorious haunted castle spread, several paranormal teams visited, including investigators from local New Zealand television shows such as Ghost Hunt and Spookers and then Ghost Hunters International. Photo #76 by ~boonie, #77 by robin_waarts, #78 by Dunedin NZ, #79 by Gordon Wrigley

Leeds Castle

This is Leeds Castle near Kent in England. According to InfoBritain, “Leeds Castle was originally a Norman fortification,” but the castle has a “stronger association with love than war. One of the most romantic kings in history, Richard II, gave Leeds Castle as a gift to his adored wife Anne of Bohemia. Richard was a sensitive man, who aspired to peace in a warlike age. To escape constant power struggles waged by aggressive nobles, he would spend fleeting dreamy hours at Leeds Castle with Anne. The chronicler Jean Froissart describes how he presented a richly illustrated book to Richard at Leeds Castle in 1395. The king, Froissart wrote, was delighted when told that the book was ‘about love.’ A first edition of Froissart’s Chronicles remains at the castle. It is heartening that a building originally created for war should have slowly turned into a extravagant gift for the ladies.” Photo #80 by Marc Evans

Leeds Castle, Kent, England

“Leeds Castle is a feminine castle. Apart from Queen Eleanor and Anne of Bohemia, it was also owned by Edward II’s wife Isabella of France and Edward III’s wife Margaret of France. Henry V also realised Leeds Castle’s romantic qualities, giving it to his wife Catherine de Valois. A bedroom at the castle has been decorated to appear as it would have done when Catherine lived here. There are also displays related to Henry VIII who brought Catherine of Aragon here.” InfoBritain adds, Leeds Castle in Kent England is linked to love. The chapel on the lower left was built by Edward I “for the purpose of a daily Mass to be sung for his beloved wife Eleanor who died in 1290. Edward was a ruthless king, but he clearly loved Eleanor. It is fitting that evidence of this affection should be linked with Leeds Castle.” On the lower right is the queen’s bathroom. Photo #81 by Diliff, #82 by Leeds Castle Foundation, #83 by Richard Croft


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