From the ‘Versailles of the East’ to the ‘Machu Picchu of Japan’, stunning castles of Asia restored

Ancient history has been pinged forward in time to the present day – thanks to some cunning digital wizardy. Six of Asia’s grandest castles have been restored to their former glory by a collaboration between Budget Direct and a team of digital CGI masters, researchers and architects. Here we present the fruits of their labour, the ruins of castles from Iran to Japan via China and Afghanistan rebuilt before your very eyes…

Alamut Castle, Alamut Valley, Iran - built in 865: Alamut Castle in Iran dates back to the 9th century and has had a very colorful history. It entered legend in 1090 when it was conquered by Hassan-i Sabbah, who had seized control of the nearby village of Qazvin. As the residents of Qazvin staffed the castle, he was able to oust its ruler without any blood being shed. Pictured: What the castle looks like today.

Alamut Castle, Alamut Valley, Iran – built in 865: Alamut Castle in Iran dates back to the 9th century and has had a very colorful history. It entered legend in 1090 when it was conquered by Hassan-i Sabbah, who had seized control of the nearby village of Qazvin. As the residents of Qazvin staffed the castle, he was able to oust its ruler without any blood being shed. Pictured: What the castle looks like today. 

He consolidated his power by ordering his followers to kill leaders of enemy groups. These followers were derogatorily called 'Hashashin', which gave birth to the English word 'assassin'. Over the years, the castle was destroyed piece by piece by various conquerors, including the Mongols, who tore down its extensive library. Hardly any of the castle remains today, although the Iranian government is attempting to partially restore it for tourists. Pictured: What the castle would have looked like according to CGI.

He consolidated his power by ordering his followers to kill leaders of enemy groups. These followers were derogatorily called ‘Hashashin’, which gave birth to the English word ‘assassin’. Over the years, the castle was destroyed piece by piece by various conquerors, including the Mongols, who tore down its extensive library. Hardly any of the castle remains today, although the Iranian government is attempting to partially restore it for tourists. Pictured: What the castle would have looked like according to CGI.

TODAY - The Old Summer Palace, Beijing, China - built in 1707: This is all that remains of Beijing's Old Summer Palace, which was a 3.5-square-kilometer- (1.3 sq mile) complex of palaces, lakes, gardens, towers and sculptures.

TODAY – The Old Summer Palace, Beijing, China – built in 1707: This is all that remains of Beijing’s Old Summer Palace, which was a 3.5-square-kilometer- (1.3 sq mile) complex of palaces, lakes, gardens, towers and sculptures.

The stunning palace was largely destroyed and looted by British and French forces, but may have looked something like this if it had survived. The complex, built by the Qing Dynasty, was spread over 3.5 square kilometers (1.3 square miles) and contained hundreds of palaces, lakes, gardens, towers and sculptures in its prime. The reconstruction above shows the Haiyantang (The Palace of Calm Seas) part of the complex, with a seashell fountain as the centerpiece.

The stunning palace was largely destroyed and looted by British and French forces, but may have looked something like this if it had survived. The complex, built by the Qing Dynasty, was spread over 3.5 square kilometers (1.3 square miles) and contained hundreds of palaces, lakes, gardens, towers and sculptures in its prime. The reconstruction above shows the Haiyantang (The Palace of Calm Seas) part of the complex, with a seashell fountain as the centerpiece.

Hagi Castle, Hagi, Japan - built in 1604: When the Mori Samurai clan lost the Battle of Sekigahara - and much of their land as a result - the triumphant Tokugawa Shogunate granted the Mori permission to build a new castle in the small seaside city of Hagi, perhaps because this would keep the enemy clan pinned by the coast. The Mori, however, eventually got their revenge. The castle became the capital of the Choshu Domain, whose support was instrumental in the eventual overthrow of the Tokugawa Shogunate during the Meiji Restoration. Ironically, the castle was dismantled by the new government in 1874 as part of a policy of centralization and modernization. Pictured: The land where the castle once stood today.

Hagi Castle, Hagi, Japan – built in 1604: When the Mori Samurai clan lost the Battle of Sekigahara – and much of their land as a result – the triumphant Tokugawa Shogunate granted the Mori permission to build a new castle in the small seaside city of Hagi, perhaps because this would keep the enemy clan pinned by the coast. The Mori, however, eventually got their revenge. The castle became the capital of the Choshu Domain, whose support was instrumental in the eventual overthrow of the Tokugawa Shogunate during the Meiji Restoration. Ironically, the castle was dismantled by the new government in 1874 as part of a policy of centralization and modernization. Pictured: The land where the castle once stood today. 

The castle was quite formidable in its day. Multiple baileys and walls protect the surrounding land, many of which can still be seen. CGI wizards imagine it would look something like this if it still stood today.

The castle was quite formidable in its day. Multiple baileys and walls protect the surrounding land, many of which can still be seen. CGI wizards imagine it would look something like this if it still stood today.  

Citadel of Ghazni, Ghazni, Afghanistan - built in the 13th century: Ghazni is Afghanistan's only remaining walled city, and an important economic center. The remains of the Citadel (pictured) sit on a hill in the center of the old city walls.

Citadel of Ghazni, Ghazni, Afghanistan – built in the 13th century: Ghazni is Afghanistan’s only remaining walled city, and an important economic center. The remains of the Citadel (pictured) sit on a hill in the center of the old city walls.

Fourteen of the original 32 towers have collapsed, including one as recently as 2019. Today, Ghazni's walls, towers, and Citadel are in danger of being lost to the winds of time for good — but could look like this if they hadn't sustained damage according to CGI imaging.

Fourteen of the original 32 towers have collapsed, including one as recently as 2019. Today, Ghazni’s walls, towers, and Citadel are in danger of being lost to the winds of time for good — but could look like this if they hadn’t sustained damage according to CGI imaging.  

Raigad Fort, Raigad, Maharashtra, India - dates back to the 11th century: The main entrance to this castle sits at 820m (2,690ft) above sea level and visitors can climb 1,737 steps to reach it. Or take an aerial tramway. Once there, they'll discover an impressive structure that dates back to 1030 AD. The British East India Company bombarded and destroyed Raigad in 1818, and the ruins have yet to be fully mapped by the Indian government. Visitors can still see the remains of two of the three watchtowers and a famous wall named Hirakani Buruj.

Raigad Fort, Raigad, Maharashtra, India – dates back to the 11th century: The main entrance to this castle sits at 820m (2,690ft) above sea level and visitors can climb 1,737 steps to reach it. Or take an aerial tramway. Once there, they’ll discover an impressive structure that dates back to 1030 AD. The British East India Company bombarded and destroyed Raigad in 1818, and the ruins have yet to be fully mapped by the Indian government. Visitors can still see the remains of two of the three watchtowers and a famous wall named Hirakani Buruj.

In its prime, Raigad contained several reservoirs, stone stalls for merchants, and open ground for the celebration of the Holi Hindu festival. The main palace, however, was built of wood - only the bases of its pillars remain. Here, we see what the structure may have looked like prior to 1818.

In its prime, Raigad contained several reservoirs, stone stalls for merchants, and open ground for the celebration of the Holi Hindu festival. The main palace, however, was built of wood – only the bases of its pillars remain. Here, we see what the structure may have looked like prior to 1818. 

Takeda Castle, Asago, Hyogo, Japan - built in 1441:  The ruins of Takeda Castle, in Asago, sit on a mountain ridge at an elevation of 353m (1,158ft) and afford visitors magnificent views. This, combined with the way they're staggered over several levels, has led some to describe the site as 'the Machu Picchu of Japan'. Visitors today can explore the castle via a one-way trail - and there are temples associated with the site at the base of the mountain — even though the site is just shadow of its former glory.

Takeda Castle, Asago, Hyogo, Japan – built in 1441:  The ruins of Takeda Castle, in Asago, sit on a mountain ridge at an elevation of 353m (1,158ft) and afford visitors magnificent views. This, combined with the way they’re staggered over several levels, has led some to describe the site as ‘the Machu Picchu of Japan’. Visitors today can explore the castle via a one-way trail – and there are temples associated with the site at the base of the mountain — even though the site is just shadow of its former glory. 

CGI wizards imagined what the castle and surrounding land may have looked like before it fell into disrepair over the years.  To see the original research for these reconstructions visit www.budgetdirect.com.au/blog/asian-royalty-6-ruined-castles-across-asia-reconstructed.html.

CGI wizards imagined what the castle and surrounding land may have looked like before it fell into disrepair over the years.  To see the original research for these reconstructions visit www.budgetdirect.com.au/blog/asian-royalty-6-ruined-castles-across-asia-reconstructed.html.

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