The oldest castle in the world is Su Nuraxi, also known as Nuraghe

Самый древний замок в мире Внутренний двор Нураги

Today we’ll talk about the Su Nuraxi complex, located in Sardinia, which can be considered the oldest castle in the world, partially preserved to this day.

Su Nuraxi di Barumini, or Su Nuraxi, is an archaeological site of Nuragic architecture. The center of the complex is a three-story Nuraghe tower, built around the 15th century BC (over 3000 years ago). Four other towers are built around the tower, positioned clearly in the cardinal directions. The outer ring was made up of seven smaller towers connected by a wall, only five of which have survived to this day.

Реконструкция внешнего вида Су-Нуракси
The reconstruction of the Su Nuraxi complex

This complex was a symbol of power and a defensive structure (it may have also had a religious purpose, but we will never know for sure).

Entry to the central tower and courtyard was only possible from the inner ring of towers and was located high above the ground. It is believed that a rope ladder was used, which could be removed. A 15-meter well is dug in the courtyard – its diameter is 4 meters at the bottom, and towards the top, its stone walls narrow down to the size of a regular well. Water still fills it.

Previously, there were loopholes in the main Nuraghe, but later, due to the subsidence of the structure, its walls were reinforced with an additional 3-meter layer of stones and the loopholes ceased to exist. After the Bronze Age, the settlement was used by other peoples; in the Iron Age, they built rectangular houses under the shelter of the wall. Their masonry differs in shape and color from the ancient stones. Then the towers were used by other settlers, right up to the Romans. They were used both as a fort and as a warehouse, and even for burying the dead.

We are currently starting a project to build the medieval castle (Minsk region). If you would like to participate in the construction and development of the castle, please contact us:

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Why can Su Nuraxi be classified as a castle?

As we previously discussed, there are differences between the concepts of a castle, a palace, and a fortress.

For a structure to be called a castle, it must meet the following criteria:

Parametera CastleSu Nuraxi
Based functionprotection of inhabitants from external threatsfits the description of a castle
For whom is the building intended to livefor military garrison accommodation and lord’s familyfits the description of a castle
Additional functionsdefensive and administrative functionsfits the description of a castle
The presence of a closed wall around the perimeter of the structureyesyes
Presence of other defensive structuresyesyes
Architectural stylethick walls, narrow windows around the perimeter, the presence of loopholes, a minimum level of architectural delights and decorationsfits the description of a castle
Locationstrategically important places (hills, river banks, trade routes)strategically important places
Compactness and sizecompact, most buildings are connected (walls, towers, living spaces) premisescompact
Average number of inhabitants30-150 peopleup to 50 people

As can be seen from the table, thanks to its high walls, inaccessible entrance, towers, loopholes, strategic location and small size, Su Nuraxi can be fully attributed to the category of castles.

Внутренний двор Нураги
The courtyard of the Nuraghe

Now you know what the oldest partially preserved castle in the world is, and it was created long before the beginning of the Middle Ages.

In addition, you can find more interesting information on the Middle Ages and medieval castles at this link.