Dasha Fayvinova
April 29, 2017 12:24 pm
DeAgostini/Getty Images

Ever since Harry Potter came onto the scene, our fascination with castles quadrupled. Lucky for us, even muggle researchers want to know the intricate reasoning behind their medieval architecture. And once you learn this amazing fact about castles, you will never look at spiral staircases the same way.

As much as M.C. Escher knew how to draw a spellbinding staircase, he most likely never looked into their past. Because according to The Vintage News they weren’t just decorative or simply functional. Spiral staircases were also part of the castle’s defense. That’s right! Macaulay Culkin might have been way ahead of his time.

 

The first way that spiral staircases helped increase a castle’s defense was by playing to it’s owners strength. A clockwise design would give any swordsman that was right handed an automatic advantage and a much greater range of movement.

As they say, home-court advantage baby!

As you fight your way up or down the stairs, your opponent would have to adjust and improvise. The design would hinder the attacker’s range of motion and cause them to strike near the wall. Genius!

Even the stair size mattered.

Size does matter! (Uh, at least when it comes to defending your castle in battle.) In addition to giving the owner an advantage by limiting movement, the spiraling staircases would trip up anyone unfamiliar with the design. By having varying sizes of stairs, the attacker would have to constantly make sure he or she doesn’t trip. The owner of the castle would already be familiar with the pattern.

Obviously, staircases weren’t castles only forms of defense. Moats and draw bridges also helped keep unwanted visitors at bay for a prolonged time. But spiral staircases have been the unsung heroes of castles for hundreds of years — and it’s pretty cool to learn they’re more than just gorgeous to look at.

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