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Digital Recreations of Europe's Castle Ruins

Europe has bounty of history, of kingdoms and nations large and small, with castles built for the ruling class as a symbol of their wealth as well as fortification against enemies. Many of those older castles are now in ruins, but a team of designers, architects, and digital artists have collaborated to show us how they once looked. Above is a recreation of Poenari Castle in Romania.  

Legendary Poenari Castle is so adorned with inspiring details that it feels like it came from a storybook. Indeed, it once belonged to Vlad the Impaler, the Voivode (Duke) of Wallachia, who inspired Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula. Climbing the 1,480 concrete stairs to the clifftop castle’s eagle nest position creates an uneasy sense of isolation. And it is easy to get giddy at such a height, especially in the knowledge that the ruins are partly due to a landslide that dragged the towers down to the river 400 metres below.

But Poenari needn’t be where visitors meet their doom. Vlad himself escaped attack through a secret passageway and into the Carpathian Mountains. The fortress itself was originally built directly into the rock and fortified with earth or lime, and Vlad rebuilt it with extra towers for defence. As a final fearsome detail, 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.

See six other ruins restored to their former glory with the magic of digital art. -Thanks, Luke!


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