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Public-images-osm logo.svg historic = castle
Castillo de Montuenga, Montuenga de Soria, Soria, España, 2017-05-23, DD 04.jpg
Used for various kinds of castles, palaces, fortresses, manors, stately homes, kremlins, shiros and other. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Rendering in OSM Carto
Group: historic
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesshould not be used on waysmay be used on areas (and multipolygon relations)should not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)
Useful combination
Status: de facto

The tag historic=castle is used in OpenStreetMap for various kinds of structures, most of which were originally built as fortified residences of a lord or noble. The scope of the tag currently also includes non-fortified residences like palaces; and also fortresses, which were not always a residence for nobility. Have a look at the key castle_type=* for common sub-types of this tag.


Residential and often fortified buildings often from medieval times. These include:

  • [W] Castles: A fortified residence of a lord or noble. Most of them where built in Europe, the Middle East and Japan during the Middle Ages.
  • Fortresses: Heavily fortified structures with emphasis on military use which were not always a residence for nobility. Generally older than historic=fort.
  • [W] Palaces: A grand residence, especially a royal residence or the home of a head of state or some other high-ranking dignitary, such as a bishop or archbishop.
  • [W] Stately homes ([W] châteaux) and [W] manor houses: Unfortified residences of a lord, a noble or a gentry.
  • [W] Kremlins: Major fortified central complexes found in historic Russian cities.
  • Roman [W] castra.

How to map

Place a node at the centre point, or draw an area covering the outline. Tag with historic=castle. The outline should include all still-existing features, for example the [W] moat. A park on the estate should probably not be included, gardens need discussion.

Detailed mapping instructions:

  1. If the are several buildings and/or additional features (like a moat): add an outline and add the tag there.
  2. If there is only one building…
    1. mapped as simple area area: add the tag to the building.
    2. mapped as multipolygon with one outer and inner way(s): add the tag to the outer way.
    3. mapped as multipolygon with several outer and inner way(s): check whether the multipolygon can be simplified, if not, create another multipolygon re-using only the outers and add the tag there.

Buildings and actual ruins ("stones") inside the castle need to be mapped with their own tags using e.g.

Site Relations

Site relations (type=site+historic=castle) allow a more detailed tagging of the historic pieces of a castle. They should always be used in addition to the point/area mapping described above. Discussion about a link between relation and node/area should be done when the technical necessity arises.

Tags to use in combination

  • name=* - name of the site, for example Windsor Castle
  • castle_type=* - classification of the castle
  • wikidata=*
  • wikipedia=* - an alternative to the wikidata tag. For most of the castles in Central Europe an article in Wikipedia exists. You should tag articles linking to one of the different languages available, e.g.
German: wikipedia=de:Schloss_Pillnitz
English : wikipedia=en:Pillnitz
  • ruins=yes - set this tag when the castle is a ruin, that means if only remains of buildings without roof or at least some walls exist. (don't use historic=ruins anymore).

Similar tags


For proposed icons see the ones at the page castle_type=*.

See also

Talk-de Roman Grabolle Thu, 11 Sep 2008 14:56