For a thousand years they dominated the landscape, towering over their surroundings, their role so critical that the capture of a single one could seal the fate of an empire. In this series, historian and popular presenter Dan Snow unravels the stories of three of the world's most famous castles, from Europe to the Middle East. Built and fought for by men like Richard the Lionheart, these are the sites of some of the most legendary power struggles of all time. All are all prime examples of their era, a testament to the engineering and military expertise of the day.
Chateau Gaillard (#104H) Duration: 46:24 STEREO TVPG
Towering above the River Seine, Chateau Gaillard was built by King Richard I to assert England's authority over his French holdings. Its multiple walls, deep moats and ingenious geometry were designed to terrify any foe. In 1203, a French king and his massive army lays siege, determined to push the English from the continent. Could its formidable defences repel the ambitions of Philip II, king of France?
Conwy Castle (#105H) Duration: 46:24 STEREO TVPG
Positioned the wilds of northern Wales, Conwy Castle was one of several strongholds raised by King Edward I to rule over the Welsh. Its mighty towers, elongated arrow slits and majestic water gate were built to intimidate. In 1294, a rebel force arrives to put the king's castles, and English domination, to the ultimate test. Would the welsh force headed by Madog ap Llewelyn, the last recognised native Prince of Wales succeed in taking the castle?
Malbork Castle (#106H) Duration: 46:24 STEREO TVPG
Stretched along the bank of the River Nogat in modern-day Poland, Malbork Castle was built by an elite group knights during the Baltic Crusades. Its distinct brick architecture, soaring walls, and deadly battlements were built to intimidate the local population. In 1410, a pagan-turned-king marches on the castle, determined to put an end to the Teutonic Order's reign.