You definitely want to travel before this point, so the best we can do is offer you a way to discover something new and exciting without leaving your home. This time it is the largest and most populous continent, Asia, with its 45 million square kilometers of deserts, mountains, plateaus, plains and jungles that carry the history of ancient civilizations. Budget Direct has decided to digitally rebuild 6 castles that have become ruins over the years across five countries in Asia. The architectural wonders of Asia restore their former glory right before our eyes.
This is the newest project in the series of reconstructions by Budget Direct: the team has previously revived European castles, Ancient Wonders and UNESCO-protected heritage sites.
“In 2020, millions of people around the world will be stuck at home, and even in 2021, there are many travel restrictions still in place. To support those looking for inspiration on a travel chair, Budget Direct has decided to bring back some of the most awesome castles from all over Asia. The team started by making a long list of castles in Asia and then limited these to those that had resources available for us to digitally readjust.
They then chose the castles with the most architectural marvel from across the continent to rebuild. The team has been working with researchers, architects and digital designers to bring these ancient castles into the 21st century. ”
So sit back, relax, and start the virtual journey! And hopefully, you’ll find out something new along the way today.
Alamut Castle, Alamut Valley, Iran
In 1090, Imam Hassan-i Sabbāh allegedly conquered the castle without shedding a drop of blood. The new state secured its power through targeted attacks on enemy leaders. Those who carried out these attacks were contemptuously called “Hashashin” (“tumultuous grass”), thus giving birth to the word “Assassin”. Ironically, Alamut’s fame caused its demise; its various conquerors demolished the castle while searching for a legendary assassin.
Alamut Rock is a popular day trek that offers a lookup view of the surrounding country. However, not much remains of Alamut Castle itself; its few surviving stone clouds are covered in scaffolding while the Iranian government tries to partially restore it for tourists.
The Old Summer Palace, Beijing, China
Yuanming Yuan – known in the Western World as the Old Summer Palace – was not a single building but a 3.5 square kilometer complex of palaces, lakes, gardens, towers and sculptures. The pride of the Qing dynasty, Yuanming Yuan, was largely destroyed by British and French troops in retaliation for the death of a British envoy during the Second Opium War. Further destruction occurred during the Boxer Rebellion and the Cultural Revolution.
We chose here to rebuild Haiyantang from the Yuanming Yuan (The Palace of Calm Seas). In front of a two-story Western-style palace, a water clock surrounded the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Today, the Martian ornament of the fountain sits within the contour of its former depression, backed by a spaced view of fallen palace columns.
Hagi Castle, Hagi, Japan
Hagi was very awesome at the time. Multiple galleries and walls protect the surrounding land, many of which are still visible. The main wooden fort has been dismantled, but its stone base and part of its moat stand. Higher up the mountain, the remains of a reserve fort can be found.
Ghazni Citadel, Ghazni, Afghanistan
The former slave Sebüktigin received the governorship of Ghazni in 977, but he promptly rebelled against his ruling Iranian rulers to found the Ghazni Empire. Ghazni became the war point of Afghanistan, sought after by the VIP conquerors from the history of Timur (Tamerlane) to the Mongols. When the citadel was famously conquered by the British in 1839, Afghan leadership had to flee Kabul. It was also used as a U.S. military base after 2001.
The remains of the citadel rest on a central hill above the walled city. However, neglect, war and weather severely damaged Ghazni. 14 of its original 32 towers have collapsed, one recently as 2019. Today, Ghazni’s walls, towers and citadel are in danger of being lost permanently to the weather winds.
Raigad Fort, Raigad, Maharashtra, India
Although parts of the structure date from 1030 AD, the already imposing fortifications of Raigad were expanded by Shivaji Maharaj. Shivaji was crowned Chhatrapati (“Umbrella Lord”) here in 1674, establishing the Marathan Confederacy as opposed to the Mughal Empire. The Confederacy ruled Raigad until its destruction by the British East India Company in 1818.
The main entrance to the castle is 820 meters above sea level – a climb of 1737 steps. (Luckily now there is an aerial tramway.) Visitors can still look at the remains of two of the three watchtowers, several reservoirs, stone trading booths and a famous wall called Hirakani Buruj.
Takeda Castle, Asago, Hyogo, Japan
Takeda was built in the 15th century by “the Red Monaco” – a man partly responsible for plunging Japan into the century of chaos known as the Sengoku period. The fort was later conquered by Toyotomi Hideyoshi during a reunion. After Hideyoshi’s death, the new shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu accused the final lord of the castle of arson during a pivotal battle. From here Takeda decayed.
Today the ruins of the castle sit 353 meters above sea level. Although no buildings remain standing on the mountain itself, a row of temples has survived at the base. The stone foundations of the castle are well preserved, having undergone minor restorations in the late twentieth century. Due to a seasonal fog that fills the valley, some mornings Takeda seems to float above the clouds.