Ancient history moves forward in time to the present day – thanks to a crafty digital wizardry.
Six of Asia’s greatest castles have been restored to their former glory through a collaboration between Budget Direct and a team of digital CGI masters, researchers and architects.
Here we present the fruits of their labor, the ruins of castles from Iran to Japan through China and Afghanistan rebuilt before your very eyes …
Alamut Castle, Alamut Valley, Iran – Built in 865
Hardly any remnants are visible of the Alamut Castle in Iran, which dates back to the 9th century and became legend in 1090 when Hassan-i Sabbah conquered it
Over the years, Alamut Castle was gradually destroyed by several conquerors, including the Mongols, who demolished the extensive library.
Alamut Castle in Iran dates back to the 9th century and has had a very colorful history.
It became a legend in 1090 when it was conquered by Hassan-i Sabbah, who took control of the nearby village of Qazvin. Because the inhabitants of Qazvin manned the castle, he was able to expel the ruler without spilling blood.
He consolidated his power by ordering his followers to kill leaders of enemy groups. These followers were derogatoryly referred to as ‘Hashashin’, from which the English word ‘assassin’ originated.
Over the years, the castle was destroyed one by one by several conquerors, including the Mongols, who demolished the extensive library. Almost none of the castle has survived today, although the Iranian government is trying to partially restore it for tourists.
The Old Summer Palace, Beijing, China – Built in 1707
All that remains of Beijing’s Old Summer Palace, a 3.5 square kilometer (1.3 square mile) complex of palaces, lakes, gardens, towers, and sculptures
The beautiful palace was largely destroyed and looted by British and French troops
Beijing’s Old Summer Palace – or Yuanming Yuan – was once one of the largest structures in the world, known as the ‘Versailles of the East’.
Built by the Qing Dynasty, the complex was spread over 3.5 square kilometers (1.3 square miles) and contained hundreds of palaces, lakes, gardens, towers, and sculptures.
Much loved by the Qing emperors, in 1860 it was largely destroyed and looted by British and French forces in retaliation for the death of a British envoy during the Second Opium War.
The palace was further damaged during the Boxer Rebellion (1900) and the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and only a few outbuildings remain.
The reconstruction above shows the Haiyantang (the Palace of the Calm Seas) part of the complex, with a seashell fountain at its center.
Hagi Castle, Hagi, Japan – Built in 1604
Hagi Castle was built by the Mori Samurai, with the permission of the Tokugawa Shogunate, who had triumphed over them in the Battle of Sekigahara
The castle was dismantled in 1874 as part of a policy of centralization and modernization
This once beautiful castle rose from the ashes of battle.
When the Mori Samurai clan lost the battle of Sekigahara – and much of their land as a result – the triumphant Tokugawa shogunate gave the Mori permission to build a new castle in the small coastal town of Hagi, perhaps because this was the hostile clan. at the coast.
However, the Mori eventually got 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. Curiously, most of Hagi was built at the base of Mount Shizukiyama rather than on higher ground. Nevertheless, it was quite formidable in its day. Multiple ramparts and walls protect the surrounding land, many of which can still be seen.
The main wooden keep was dismantled, but the stone base and part of the moat remain. Higher up the mountain are the remains of a fallback keep. The castle town still stands as a charming World Heritage Site.
Ghazni Citadel, 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 sit on a hill in the middle of the old city walls
The capture of the Citadel by the British in 1839 was instrumental in ending the First Anglo-Afghan War
This 45 meter high fortress has been conquered by a long list of VIP conquerors from history, including the Mongols, Timur (Tamerlane) and the Mughals.
The capture of the Citadel by the British in 1839 was instrumental in ending the First Anglo-Afghan War. It was also used as a military base by America after 2001.
Today, Ghazni – which sits at an elevation of 2,225 meters and may date back to the 7th century – is Afghanistan’s only remaining walled city and an important economic center. The remains of the Citadel sit on a hill in the middle of the old city walls. But neglect, war, and weather have severely damaged both. Fourteen of the original 32 towers have collapsed, including one only in 2019. Today, Ghazni’s walls, towers and Citadel are in danger of being lost forever in the wind of time.
Raigad Fort, Raigad, Maharashtra, India – Dating back to the 11th century
Raigad Fort is located 820 meters above sea level and visitors can climb 1737 steps to reach it
The British East India Company bombed and destroyed Raigad in 1818, and the ruins have yet to be fully mapped by the Indian government
The main entrance to this castle is 820 meters above sea level and visitors can climb 1,737 steps to reach it. Or take a cable car. Once there, they will discover an impressive structure dating back to AD 1030.
It was conquered by Shivaji Maharaj in 1656 and he began to expand it and eventually declare it his capital.
The British East India Company bombed 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 called Hirakani Buruj. Raigad also contains several reservoirs, stone stalls for merchants, and open grounds for the celebration of the Holi Hindu festival. However, the main palace was built of wood – only the pedestals of the pillars have been preserved.
Takeda Castle, Asago, Hyogo, Japan – Built in 1441
Tourist Attraction: Takeda Castle is often described as Japan’s Machu Picchu
The castle is located on a ridge at an altitude of 353 meters and offers visitors a beautiful view
The ruins of Takeda Castle in Asago are located on a ridge at an altitude of 353 meters and offer visitors a beautiful view.
This, combined with the way they are spread over different levels, has led some to describe the site as ‘the Machu Picchu of Japan’.
Visitors can explore the castle via a one-way path – and at the base of the mountain are temples associated with the site.
Visit to see the original research for these reconstructions www.budgetdirect.com.au/blog/asian-royalty-6-ruined-castles-across-asia-reconstructed.html.