100 famous ruins of castles, fortresses and palaces

What ancient castles looked like before they turned into ruins

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How many abandoned structures there are on our planet, which at one time were a joy to the eye and were a real ornament of this or that area. But time, wars and fires have spared nothing in their path, and now instead of the former luxury of pompous castles there are only ruins. To correct the unfortunate reality, the company Budget Direct, in close cooperation with the professionals has created digital reconstructions, thanks to which anyone can take a trip to the nonexistent palaces, without getting up from the chair.

Budget Direct worked with professionals to digitally reconstruct the ruins of Europe's most famous medieval castles.

The Budget Direct company, working with professionals, has created digital reconstructions of the ruins of Europe’s most famous medieval castles. | Photo: budgetdirect.com.au.

Given the difficult situation in the world and the inability to travel in reality, it is worth paying attention to the virtual reconstructions, courtesy of Budget Direct, which together with a group of historians, designers and architects created unique digital models of half-destroyed ancient castles of Europe.

What ancient castles looked like before they turned into ruins: a virtual journey. | Photo: budgetdirect.com.au.

What ancient castles looked like before they turned into ruins: virtual journeys.| Photo: budgetdirect.com.au.

At the moment there are 7 most famous castles in their collection, but the management promises not to stop at this and to create new virtual tourist routes, including more interesting historical objects.

1. Castle Samobor on the top of the hill Tepec in Samobor (Croatia)

All that remains of the majestic castle-palace in Samobor, Croatia. | Photo: tripadvisor.ru/ ru.wikipedia.org.

All that is left on the site of the majestic castle-palace in Samobor, Croatia. | Photo: tripadvisor.ru/ ru.wikipedia.org.

Historical information: Samobor Castle was built by the supporters of the King of Bohemia (at that time the land of Bohemia and part of Germany) Ottokar II back in 1260-1264. The construction was completed precisely at the time when Ottokar II was at war with Istvan V (the Hungarian king) over the disputed Duchy of Styria. Since the forces were unequal, the army of Bohemian king was defeated and part of the conquered lands went to prince Okic including the brand-new castle. Although a castle (as modern people would call it), it can be called conditionally, because at that time objects of this kind were built as an impregnable fortress.

Ruins and digital reconstruction of Samobor Castle (Croatia). | Photo: boredpanda.com/ © budgetdirect.

During several centuries of its existence it was many times reconstructed, “enlarged” with new constructions, one after another famous owners thought of it as their family’s nest. The castle had always belonged to the nobility until the period when it was bought by the municipality of Samobor, in which it is situated. But the management of the authorities, beginning in 1902, was fatal for the historical site. Only the impressive ruins have “survived” to this day, which were taken as a basis of the authors of the project of digital reconstruction. Although the town planning committee has a project of the real reconstruction of the castle-fortress, but so far we can enjoy its virtual appearance.

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2. Château-Gayard castle-fortress in Les Hendels (France)

Chateau Gaillard citadel is one of the first fortifications based on the principles of concentric castle and hinged loopholes. | Photo: france-guide.livejournal.com/ sweet-travel.com.ua.

The Château-Gayard citadel is one of the first fortifications based on the principles of a concentric castle and hinged loopholes. | Photo: france-guide.livejournal.com/ sweet-travel.com.ua.

Château Gaillard, unique in its kind, was erected in the valley of the river Seine on a hill 90 meters high at the time of the legendary King Richard the Lionheart (1196-1198). In spite of the fact that the castle-fortress was erected to protect the Norman lands from encroachments of the French King Philip II, just in 6 years this territory was occupied. Several times the fortress stayed then in the hands of the English, then reclaimed by the French, but at the end of the Hundred Years War, power was consolidated in France.

Ruins and digital reconstruction of the castle-fortress Chateau-Gayard in Les Hendels, France.| Photo: boredpanda.com/ © budgetdirect.

Ruins and digital reconstruction of the castle-fortress Château-Gayard in Les Hendels (France). | Photo: boredpanda.com/ © budgetdirect.

For many years, the castle served as a place of exile for some monarchs and as a place of refuge for others. Over time, the citadel, battered by several sieges and perpetual wars, lost its strategic importance and ceased to be the residence of the nobility. In 1599, King Henry IV of France, founder of the famous Bourbon dynasty, ordered its destruction. It was not until 1862 that the ruins were declared a historical monument and have since been protected by law.

3. Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven, Scotland

Dunnottar Castle-Fortress - Scotland's most impregnable fortress (Stonehaven).| Photo: wings-of-inspiration.ru/ masterok.livejournal.com.

Dunnottar Castle, Scotland’s most impregnable fortress (Stonehaven). | Photo: wings-of-inspiration.ru/ masterok.livejournal.com.

Medieval Dunnottar Castle is located on the east coast of Scotland near the town of Stonehaven, Scotland. The first information about this impregnable fortress dates back to 681, though the appearance which specialists have reconstructed nowadays was gained only in 1100. Such longevity and centuries-long demand for the citadel can be explained by the fact that the fortification is situated on a high and impregnable cliff.

Ruins and digital reconstruction of Dunnottar Castle (Scotland). | Photo: boredpanda.com/ © budgetdirect.

Ruins and digital reconstruction of Dunnottar Castle (Scotland)| Photo: boredpanda.com/ © budgetdirect.

Given its impregnable and strategically important location, King William I of England turned the fortress into the administrative center of the state, thus attracting special attention to the castle. This played a fatal role for Dunnottar, for many it became a tidbit because of the location of the royal treasury.

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4. Olsztyn Castle in Olsztyn, Poland

Castle Olsztyn has been a reliable stronghold of the land of Poland for centuries.| Photo: rech-pospolita.ru/ dimon-porter.livejournal.com.

The castle of Olsztyn has been a reliable stronghold of the Polish land for centuries.| Photo: rech-pospolita.ru/ dimon-porter.livejournal.com.

Olsztyn Castle, located in the Silesian Voivodeship, is a monument of medieval fortification architecture in Poland. The first mention of the citadel dates back to 1306, although the exact date of creation is not known.

Ruins and digital reconstruction of the castle-fortress of Olsztyn (Olsztyn, Poland).| Photo: boredpanda.com/ © budgetdirect.

Ruins and digital reconstruction of the castle-fortress Olsztyn (Olsztyn, Poland)| Photo: boredpanda.com/ © budgetdirect.

The castle passed from one conqueror prince to another several times until it was completely destroyed in 1656 during the Swedish invasion.

5. Menlo Castle in Galway, Ireland

Menlo Castle, one of Ireland's most romantic castles, attracts crowds of tourists even with its picturesque ruins. | Photo: sobennov.ru/ dreamstime.com.

Menlo Castle is one of the most romantic castles of Ireland attracts crowds of tourists even with its picturesque ruins. | Photo: sobennov.ru/ dreamstime.com

Menlo Castle, the ancestral home of the militant Clan Cadell, is located in the village of Menlo, near the town of Galway and the River Corrib. Its construction took several decades and by the XVI century it had grown into a mighty fortress-city surrounded by 14 ramparts with loopholes and massive gates. For many years it was considered one of the most prosperous cities of Galway County, actively engaged in extensive trade, not only within the state, but also with other countries.

Picturesque ruins and digital reconstruction of the romantic Menlo Castle in County Galway, Ireland.| Photo: boredpanda.com/ © budgetdirect.

The picturesque ruins and digital reconstruction of the romantic Menlo Castle in County Galway, Ireland.| Photo: boredpanda.com/ © budgetdirect.

Such prosperity was the envy of less fortunate clans, so the castle was attacked and even besieged more than once, but the people living there and the fortification itself were not seriously damaged. Despite the fact that wars and destruction bypassed the castle, spooky legends, romantic stories and mysterious deaths haunted its inhabitants for centuries. As the authors of Novate.Ru found out, even when the impregnable fortress turned into a picturesque ruin (after a grand fire in 1910), the doom never left the descendants of the Blake clan.

6. Spišský Hrad Fortress in Spišské Podhradie (Slovakia)

The majestic ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.| Photo: vilingstore.net/ daeu.eu.

The majestic ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.| Photo: vilingstore.net/ daeu.eu.

Spiš Castle is the largest and most majestic castle-fortress in Slovakia. Several levels of the fortifications make up a mighty fortress, towering atop a 200-meter high mountain, the crown of which is the Upper Castle, built back in the 13th century. Its forty-meter high walls withstood more than one attack and several months of sieges. Over the centuries, every lord of this impregnable city had tried by all means to strengthen fortification of the fortress and to get a palace of his own.

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Ruins and digital reconstruction of Slovakia's largest castle, Spišské hrad (Spišské Podhradie).| Photo: boredpanda.com/ © budgetdirect.

Ruins and digital reconstruction of the largest castle in Slovakia Spišské Hrad (Spišské Podhradie). | Photo: boredpanda.com/ © budgetdirect.

Over time, the fortress transformed from a citadel into a market town, which was abandoned in the early 18th century, and after a major fire in 1780 turned into ruins.

7. Poenari Castle in Wallachia (Romania)

The Castle of Poenari in Wallachia is referred to by many guidebooks as “The Real Castle of Dracula” (Romania). | Photo: siviaggia.it/ recorriendocastillos.com.

The Castle of Poenari (Cetatea Poenari), towering over the canyon of the Argeş River on one of the rocks near the Fagaras mountain range in Romania, has inspired animal horror and fear for centuries. The extant ruins of the Romanian medieval fortress, associated with the name of the famous Count Dracula. For this reason alone, millions of tourists flock to this citadel to touch the secrets of the isolated castle from the world and to tickle their nerves.

Ruins and digital reconstruction of Poenari Castle, owned by Count Vlad III Tepes (Dracula).| Photo: boredpanda.com/ © budgetdirect.

Ruins and digital reconstruction of Poenari Castle, owned by Count Vlad III Tepes (Dracula). | Photo: boredpanda.com/ © budgetdirect.

Impregnable fortress was built in the XIII century, but when and by whom it was built, is still unknown. But everyone knows that in the XV century Vlad III Tsepesh, who was famous throughout the world (thanks to the terrible legends), radically remade and thoroughly strengthened it. Since then the castle Poenari became one of the main residences of the sinister count. At the moment these ruins in many guidebooks are listed as “Real Dracula Castle”, which means “The Real Dracula’s Castle” as if to counterbalance Bran Castle.

For those who are sad and nostalgic to sit at home in a difficult quarantine, we suggest an exciting virtual journey through the most famous galleries and museums of the world, which digitized the masterpieces stored in their treasuries and opened free access to them.

What are the secrets of abandoned castles that were captivating their grandeur 100 years ago?

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Gorgeous ruins that preserve the heritage of the past can probably be found in every country. Huge buildings are often too expensive to maintain or require large investments in repairs, so owners sometimes abandon them, and it is not an easy task to find a new owner for such real estate. Such ancient castles live out their century, pleasing rare tourists and thrill-seekers. An unusual hobby – the study of abandoned objects – is becoming more and more popular today.

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Bannerman Castle

Bannerman's Castle is a ruin that is located on Polepel Island near Newburgh, New York State

Bannerman’s Castle is a ruin located on the island of Polepel near Newburgh, New York State.

Scottish immigrant Francis Bannerman bought an island in New York State in the United States in 1900 and built a giant arsenal building there. A couple of years after the owner’s death, in 1920, there was a disaster on the island: about 200 tons of shells and gunpowder detonated, the explosion destroyed part of the complex and the building was never put back in order. In the 1960s, the island and ruins were purchased by the state, but the castle’s misfortunes did not end there. It burned once more and partially collapsed in 2009. Oddly enough, after all that, the dilapidated building still has some of its furnishings and furniture.

Halseyen Hall

Halseyen Hall, a former hotel and ruined women's college

This stunning building was built as a luxury hotel. In 1980, Halseyen Hall saw its first guests, but as such it served only ten years and then it was closed. Probably the giant castle couldn’t pay off that way. After another couple of years, the mansion became the Bennett College for Women. It was a luxurious educational institution for female students from “high society”, and it lasted long enough, more than 70 years. Then, however, the idea of separate education outlived itself, even in the elite version, the college went bankrupt, and the rear was boarded up.

Miranda Castle.

Chateau Miranda (Chateau Noise) in the town of Selle, province of Namur, Belgium

If you think slovenliness such as abandoned beautiful buildings is a sign of dysfunctional countries, then Miranda Castle can serve as an example to the contrary. In Belgium, which is famous for order, for several decades gradually crumbling castle of the XIX century built in neo-Gothic style. This architectural marvel was built more than forty years – from 1866 to 1907, and for some time it served as a summer residence of an aristocratic family. Then, in the best Soviet traditions, a children’s recreation camp was set up there (the best for the children), but since 1970 the complex was abandoned. Now Miranda Castle – a popular object for lovers of “romance of decay.

Linwood Manor.

Lynwood Manor, Pennsylvania, USA.

This incredible building is now considered the most expensive abandoned manor house in the world. The fabulous castle in Pennsylvania was built in just three years (completed in 1900). The 110-room neoclassical house is still hard to call a “ruin.” It is in good condition, and despite having been abandoned for many years, it houses a large collection of European works of art. Today the mansion is sold “for next to nothing” – at an estimated cost of 200 million dollars, you can buy it “only” for 11 million. The problem here, of course, is that the house requires huge investments in repairs and is also believed to be unhappy karma of its first owners. The estate was built by Peter Weidner, a powerful businessman and investor in the Titanic. In 1912, his eldest son and grandson, who were the heirs of Linwood Manor, died on that ship.

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Podgoreck Castle

Podgoretsky castle - well-preserved palace with defensive structures in the east of Lviv region, village of Podgoretsy

Pidgoretsky Castle is a well-preserved palace with defensive structures in the east of the Lviv region, village of Pidgoretsy

These majestic walls are well known to all the older generation – it was here in the 1970s that the films “D’Artagnan and the Three Musketeers” and “The Wild Hunt of King Stakh” were filmed. The magnificent palace together with the defensive constructions was built in 1635-1640 on the site of even older fortifications. During its long history, the building has been a military facility, a museum and a sanatorium for patients with tuberculosis. Now Podgoretsky castle belongs to the Lviv Art Gallery, and a charity foundation for its revival has been created, so there is hope that after a while it will be removed from the list of “majestic and neglected ruins.

Sanatorium Belitz-Heilstetten

Sanatorium Belitz-Heilstetten, Belitz, Germany

At the end of the 19th century, forty kilometers from Berlin, in the small town of Belitz, a luxury sanatorium for patients with tuberculosis was built. At that time, the disease was a widespread problem, and the privileged classes also suffered from it. Fifty buildings surrounded by woods and not far from the capital soon turned into a separate town. In addition to medical and residential buildings, there was a post office, a bakery, a butcher store, and even a small power plant. By the way, to keep up appearances, the territory of the sanatorium was divided into women’s and men’s parts. During the First World War Belitz-Heilstetten became a gigantic military hospital. At the end of 1916, Corporal Adolf Hitler was wounded by shrapnel. Further history of this huge complex was also connected with medicine – for 50 years after the Second World War Belitz-Heilstetten was considered the largest Soviet military hospital outside the Soviet Union.

The ruins of Belits-Heilstetten is the most popular place for lovers of abandoned places

Some of the former sanatorium buildings are still in use today and house medical centers, but most of the complex has been vacant for twenty years. Horror movies and video clips are filmed here, and curious tourists trespass into the ominous but appealing ruins despite warning signs. Today Belitz-Heilstetten is one of Europe’s most famous “derelicts”. Interest in it is also fuelled by the rich history of the place.

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