Belvedere Castle in New York City

One of NYC's most iconic attractions is the Belvedere Castle in Central Park. With the park's second-highest elevation, the castle offers beautiful scenic views of the city and surrounding areas.

The 152-year-old miniature castle, designed by architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, features exhibit rooms and the Henry Luce Nature Observatory Deck. Architects chose to place Belvedere Castle on top of the massive 130 feet high Vista Rock, the second tallest peak, next to Summit Rock. The castle appears to be a part of the giant stone from a distance.

In 1872, the builders completed the project by adding Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles. The castle's original intent had no real purpose except to provide picturesque views for visitors.

The pavilions, terraces, and structure became known as the Belvedere, which means. 'beautiful view' in Italian.

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Today the castle houses one of the park’s visitor centers and a park gift shop. During operating hours, visitors can explore the additional terraces for an incredible view of the park’s Ramble, Turtle Pond, and the Great Lawn, a 55-acre area popular destination for picnicking, sunbathing, and bird watching. Central Park’s Ramble is a 38-acre winding area of trails between 73rd and 78th Street.

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In 1919, the U.S. Weather Bureau converted the building into a weather station. The Central Park Weather Service added doors, windows, and offices inside the structure. Central Park Weather Service also began using the facility to take scientific measurements.

In the 1960s, when the Weather Bureau evacuated, the building fell into disrepair, and vandals began looting the area. Then in 1983, the Central Park Conservancy renovated the building, added the visitor’s center, and reopened it to the public. The bureau still measures temperature, wind, and rainfall at the Belvedere from a fenced-in area to the south of the building.

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The first floor of the castle is open daily. There is no admission fee, but donations are accepted.

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Written By Erin

Erin Poche` is a Utah-based writer and editor for Tripster and contributing writer for BeyondType1. She also writes and edits for an indie publisher of fanta ...

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