Jean-Jacques’s grandson was married to a member of the Rothschild family, and with the help of their finances, they set about doing right by the old building. The interior’s now rich, ornamented woodcarving is reminiscent of the interior of a Roman Catholic church. The same carver even designed the tableware.
There are lots of pieces of art from Japan and China, including classic pieces of porcelain. The centerpiece is a carrier coach of the wife of a Japanese Shogun, reportedly one of only two in the world. Many visitors take the opportunity to tour, but Japanese tourists, in particular, are interested in the carrier coach.
Still Intact Despite the Ruins
The castle is in ruins (on purpose), but there are still several structures that are intact enough to visit and take in. These include the Ottoheinrich Building, which is a large section of the castle, as well as the gardens, the palace, and the “Barrel Building”. The latter housed the castle's large wine and spirits collection and has seen the different residents host huge blowout parties.
This location has been a tourist destination for hundreds of years. Descriptions from 1465 mention that the city (meaning the castle) is “frequented by strangers.” Of course, tourism wasn't a big industry then, but in the nineteenth century, the place became a major tourist attraction.
De Haar Castle – Utrecht, Netherlands
As the largest castle in Holland, De Haar Castle lies just outside of Amsterdam. Constructed in the late 1800s, it's reminiscent of fairytale castles. Art-filled halls and sprawling gardens are always open to visitors.
The current structure is relatively new, compared to some other entries on this list. However, the oldest records of a building on the spot come from 1391, when the De Haar family received the lands from Hendrik van Woerden. Ownership passed through plenty of hands and families until it landed at the doorstep of Jean-Jacques van Zuylen van Nyevelt. Jean-Jacques's grandson set about restoring the castle, which had fallen under the ruin of time.
Predjama Castle – Predjama, Slovenia
This list has castles on top of mountains, on islands, on lakes, and on rivers, but Predjama Castle is built into the mouth of a cave. This Renaissance-style castle appears in writing as far back as the twelve hundreds, and it's one of the most famous attractions in Slovenia.
It has a substantial legacy as the largest “cave castle” in the world. The underground tunnels – used by plundering knights in the Middle Ages – add even more to this castle's history. As a balance, a natural vertical shaft was enlarged, which allowed for the castle to be secretly resupplied during times of siege.
A Stony Climb
Of course, visitors nowadays aren't allowed anywhere near these secret passages. No, there's only one way in and out of Predjama Castle now, and that's a passageway through the cavern that it's built into.
The castle was one of the favorite summer residences of the Cobenzi family, which included famous art collector Philipp von Cobenzi as well as diplomat Count Ludwig von Cobenzi. In 1810, Count Michael Coronini von Cronberg inherited the castle, and in 1846 he sold it to the Windischgrätz family. This family remained the owners until the end of World War II when the Yugoslav Communist authorities confiscated it and turned it into a museum.