A water castle[a][dubious ] is a castle whose site is largely defended by water. It can be entirely surrounded by water-filled moats (moated castle) or natural waterbodies such as island castles in a river or offshore.[dubious ] The term comes from European castle studies, mainly German Burgenkunde, but is sometimes used in English-language popular science books and websites, and is mentioned in other more academic works. When stately homes were built in such a location, or a Wasserburg was later rebuilt as a residential manor, the German term becomes Wasserschloss, lit. "water palace/manor".
Forde-Johnston describes such a site as "a castle in which water plays a prominent part in the defences."[clarification needed] Apart from hindering attackers, an abundant supply of water was also an advantage during a siege. Topographically, such structures are a type of low-lying castle. Such a castle usually had only one entrance, which was via a drawbridge and that could be raised for protection in the event of an attack. To some extent these water castles had a fortress-like character.[clarification needed]
There is a further distinction between:
- castles that are protected by artificial water-filled moats or man-made ponds, i.e. a moated castles
- castles whose primary means of protection is from natural water bodies such as river courses, or which stand on islands or peninsulas in a natural marshland, pond, lake or sea. Island castles and marsh castles are such examples.
In many places in Central Europe castles that had formerly been fortified changed their role or were converted over the course of time so that they became largely representational and residential buildings. The characteristic moats thus lost their original security function, but were retained in some cases as an element of landscaping. Today, in monument conservation circles, they are often described as burdensome, cost-intensive "historic legacies" because of the water damage caused to their foundations. As a result, many moats around castles in Germany have been drained, or more rarely filled, especially since the 1960s.
- Fallersleben Castle
- Hülsede Water Castle
- Wendhausen Castle
- Wolfsburg Castle
- Benrath House in Düsseldorf
- Burgau Castle
- Gimborn Castle
- Haus Kemnade in Bochum
- Morsbroich Castle in Leverkusen
- Moyland Castle in Bedburg-Hau
- Nordkirchen Palace
- Rheydt Palace
- Dyck Palace
- Vischering Castle
- Wilkinghege Water Castle in Münster
- Wittringen Castle in Gladbeck
- Cannenburgh Castle
- Hoensbroek Castle
- Ammersoyen Castle
- Kasteel Radboud
- Brederode Castle
- Älvsborg Fortress
- Dybäck Castle
- Ellinge Castle
- Gåsevadholm Castle
- Gripsholm Castle
- Häckeberga Castle
- Hjularyd Castle
- Kalmar Castle
- Krageholm Castle
- Krapperup Castle
- Kronoberg Castle
- Kulla Gunnarstorp Castle
- Landskrona Citadel
- Malmö Castle
- Maltesholm Castle
- Örebro Castle
- Örup Castle
- Osbyholm Castle
- Skabersjö Castle
- Stegeborg Castle
- Strömsholm Palace
- Tosterup Castle
- Trolle-Ljungby Castle
- Trolleholm Castle
- Vadstena Castle
- Vaxholm Fortress
- Vegeholm Castle
- Vibyholm Castle
- Viderup Castle
- Vittskövle Castle
- Kızkalesi (castle), formerly Gramvoussa (Greek) and Gorygos (Armenian)
- The term is sometimes hyphenated, see e.g. 
- Gothein 2014, pp. 22, 52, etc. sfn error: no target: CITEREFGothein2014 (help)
- Forde-Johnston, James L. (1979). Great Medieval Castles of Britain. The Bodley Head. p. 163. ISBN 0370302362. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
... Caister is based on the Wasserburg of the Rhine area in Germany. Wasserburg means literally 'water castle' and denotes a castle in which water plays a...
- Kaufmann J.E. & Kaufmann H.W. 2004, p. 229. sfn error: no target: CITEREFKaufmann_J.E.Kaufmann_H.W.2004 (help)
- 12 Wonderful Water Castles at theworldgeography.com. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
- Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History 2005, p. 44. sfn error: no target: CITEREFProceedings_of_the_Suffolk_Institute_of_Archaeology_and_History2005 (help)
- Water castle route at achen-tourismus.de. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
- Water Castles Route at nrw-tourism.com. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
- Fry 1980, p. 89. sfn error: no target: CITEREFFry1980 (help)
- Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History (2005). Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History, Vol. 41, Part 1. Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History.
- Fry, Plantagenet Somerset (1996). Castles of Britain and Ireland: The Ultimate Reference Book. David & Charles.
- Gothein, Marie Luise Schroeter and Walter P. Wright (2014). A History of Garden Art. Cambridge: CUP.
- Kaufmann, J. E. and H.W. Kaufmann (2004) The Medieval Fortress: Castles, Forts and Walled Cities of the Middle Ages. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo.
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