As a moated castle or moated castle are castles or palaces whose area is surrounded on all sides by moats or natural waters . Topographically, moated castles belong to the low castles type . In Westphalia these ditches are also called graves , in the Netherlands canals .
A distinction can be made between moated castles, which are protected by artificial moats or ponds (created protection) or moated castles, the main protection of which is provided by rivers or which are located on islands in ponds or lakes (natural protection).
In castles of this type, the water acts as an obstacle to the approach. That being said, the abundance of water was beneficial during sieges. Such a castle usually had only one entrance, which led over a drawbridge , which was pulled up for protection in the event of an attack. Some of these water castles had a fortress-like character. The pond house is a small, late medieval special type of the fixed house in the construction of a moated castle.
In many places in Central Europe, the formerly well-fortified castles have been converted or rebuilt over the course of time into primarily representative and residential castles. The formative moats thus lost their original protective function, but in some cases were retained as an element of the landscape design . Today, in the context of monument protection, they are often described as burdensome, because water damage to the foundations is costly, "historical contaminated sites". Since the 1960s in particular, many trenches in Germany have therefore been drained or, more rarely, backfilled.
Vittinghoff's castle , Essen city forest
Trakai moated castle with access bridge in winter
Vischering Castle , Westphalia
Glücksburg Castle , built from 1582: between well-fortified castle and representative castle building