Watch these fascinating castle ruins being ‘rebuilt’ using CGI

Back in the day, you were nothing without your own fortress — and so much of Europe is covered with castles — or, more accurately, the ruins of castles. But now, many of these former grand residences lie in ruins, including some that are historically pertinent and part of a fascinating history. But now they can be enjoyed as they once were.

Working with designers and architects and using CGI, BudgetDirect rebuilt seven of the most unique castles in Europe to show us what they looked like in their heyday. Enjoy!

Samobor Castle, Samobor, Croatia

A once-regal stone fortress stands above Samobor, Croatia, with only the guard tower intact. According to Budget Direct, “The Kingdom of Bohemia was a medieval monarchy that ruled over the parts of the modern-day Czech Republic and Germany from the end of the 12th century until the First World War. The Bohemian ruler Ottokar built Samobar Castle in the mid-13th century, during a war over the disputed Duchy of Styria. But he soon lost it to Croatian-Hungarian forces.”


Château Gaillard, Les Andelys, France

Built by Richard the Lionheart in the 12th century to defend his turf against Philip II of France, it was abandoned in the 16th century and later demolished by the French. But Château Gaillard is architecturally important as it “is an early example of the use of concentric fortification and machicolation in castle design. Machicolation refers to floor openings in battlements, through which defenders could drop boiling oil or rocks on their attackers. This concentric fortification was formed of three defensive baileys, one inside the other and each separated by dry moats.”


Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven, Scotland

Perched on a cliff on the East Coast of Scotland, this castle was once besieged by William “Braveheart” Wallace in the 13th century and figured into the 1995 Mel Gibson movie of the same name. It once held the Scottish Crown jewels, was also besieged by the traitor Oliver Cromwell and once stood three stories high.


Menlo Castle, Galway City, Ireland

In the Blake family for centuries, this gorgeous ruin covered in ivy was destroyed by fire in 1910. Located just outside of Galway City, it is now a popular site for joggers and university students.


Olsztyn Castle, Olsztyn, Poland

Built in the early 14th Century, Olsztyn Castle was used to defend Poland from invading Czechs. At one point, this magnificent stronghold on the Łyna River was renovated in the Renaissance style had three floors and was surrounded by a moat with drawbridges. It was terminally damaged by wars with the Hapsburgs and the Swedes and has been in ruins since.


Spiš Castle, Spišské Podhradie, Slovakia

Once one of the world’s largest castle complexes, Spiš Castle was a border fortress in the 15th-century Hungarian kingdom.  According to Budget Direct, “Today, Spiš Castle is UNESCO-listed. Its expanse and geographic setting make it ideal for walking and photography. Conservationists began work several decades ago to protect the medieval building from the threat of unstable bedrock under the foundations. A 100 m2 geoglyph (stone pattern in the landscape) of a horse from a Celtic coin design now stands imposingly on the hill below the silhouette of the castle.”


Poenari Castle (Poenari Fortress), Wallachia, Romania

Dracula’s original castle is rebuilt! Once belonging to Vlad the Impaler — the inspiration for Dracula — there are 1,480 concrete stairs leading to the clifftop castle. Complete with secret passageways — Vlad is said to have escaped capture by using them to get to safety in the nearby Carpathian Mountains — it has several defense towers. Sadly, “the castle is currently closed because of local bears — but it will re-open soon, possibly with a crémaillère tram to lift visitors up from the valley.”


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