Not even the most elegant architecture can withstand the tests of time or the ravages of weather and other natural elements. Grandiose castles around the world that were once busting with life and luxury have been abandoned, some under mysterious circumstances while others were threatened and deteriorated by the elements. While the owners of these fabulous seven abandoned castles have long since fled, they are now ripe for exploration by curious visitors.

 

Chateau de Noisy in Celles

Belgium

Chateau de Noisy in Celles, Belgium
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/foam/

Chateau de Noisy, or Miranda Castle as it was originally called, was built as a stunning second home after the Count Liederkerke-Beaufort and his family fled France during the French Revolution. The castle was originally built with many towers, conical roofs and other Neo-Gothic details as well as 500 different windows.

Chateau de Noisy in Celles, Belgium
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/andymaar/

Not even the most elegant architecture can withstand the tests of time or the ravages of weather and other natural elements. Grandiose castles around the world that were once busting with life and luxury have been abandoned, some under mysterious circumstances while others were threatened and deteriorated by the elements. While the owners of these fabulous seven abandoned castles have long since fled, they are now ripe for exploration by curious visitors.

 

Coity Castle in Glamorgan

Wales

coity castle
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesstringer/

Wales is home to many ruined medieval castles, but most are in such disrepair and ruin that only a few stones exist to mark that it was ever there while others allow people to walk around and tour the museums inside. Coity Castle is the in-between point. It is too ruined to hold any sort of museum for it, but it is very clear in most spots that a magnificent castle once stood. The first incarnation of the castle was built in 1126 by Sir Payn “The Demon” de Turberville, one of the Twelve Knights of Glamorgan, each having their own castle built in the area.

Coity Castle
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesstringer/

It had undergone several renovations over the years before finally being abandoned in the 17th century. For 400 years of neglect, it looks pretty good.

 

Lennox Castle in Lennoxtown

Scotland

Lennox Castle Scotland
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/theshiv/

Lennox Castle was originally built by the Count and Countess of Lennox to celebrate their return to nobility after living in royal exile for 400 years. It was built in massive square Norman style architecture using sandstones and spanning three stories with battlemented corner towers. Very little history remains of the Lennox family’s time there, but everyone remembers what became of this castle.

Lennox Castle Scotland
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/theshiv/

During World War I it was repurposed as a military hospital, but later in 1936 it began life anew as the Lennox Castles Certified Institution for Mental Defective. True to mental institutions worldwide at the time, it was less of a place to help those with defects and more of a warehouse in which to store society’s misfits. Many patients admitted spent their whole lives within these walls, even those like unwed mothers who were admitted not for defect, but merely for life choices.

After mental institution reform in the late 1980s, several buildings were closed, but by 1990, the whole castle was abandoned. It did not take long for nature to reclaim its walls with crawling vines and ivy and many regard the castle as terribly haunted.

 

Bannerman Castle in Pollepel Island

New York

Bannerman CAstle NY
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/29311691@N05/

Europe doesn’t have the monopoly on abandoned castles. Thanks to good old American greed in the early 1900s, newly rich tycoons brought the classic royal style buildings to the United States to stalwartly show off their wealth. In 1900, owner Francis Bannerman, the self-proclaimed Arms King of New York, operated a booming mail-order weapons business after purchasing the surplus of US military goods from the Spanish-American War. 

Bannerman Castle
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/29311691@N05/

Needing someplace to store his live ammunition and himself, he built the intimidating Bannerman castle on the isolated Pollepel Island 70 kilometers north of New York City. Needless to say, after gun laws strengthened, his market fell through and he could no longer afford to stay in his castle. Today, Bannerman Castle gives Americans a taste of European architecture paired along with an absolutely beautiful garden.

 

Kasteel Van Mesen in Lede

Belgium

Castle Mesen
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/129303627@N05/

The Castle of Mesen is quite the curiosity as well as the chameleon. This massive abandoned castle is an architectural gem set in Lede, Belgium’s smallest town with only around 1,000 residents. Not only has it been home to nobility, but it has been everything in between as well. Castle of Mesen was originally built at the beginning of the 17th century by Italian architects as a home for the noble Bette family. However, by the late 17th century, it was abandoned. The castle was later repurposed several times, enduring endless renovations. First it was a boarding school, than an alcohol distillery, than a sugar refinery, and finally a tobacco factory. The stink of industry has absorbed deeply into the space and the interior is a shadow of its former self. Although there has been interest to restore the castle, it has been deemed too expensive. Today, visitors can only marvel at the building and how nature has so ardently attempted to take it back.

 

Pidhorodetsky Castle in Pidgirci

Ukraine

Pidhorodetsky Castle
Credit: Wikicommons

The site of Pidhorodetsky Castle in the Ukraine has always been the site of ancient fortifications. Together with Olesky and Zolochevesky Castles, it form’s the “Golden Horseshoe,” one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Ukraine. The castle was originally built by Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s Grand Crown Hetman Stanislaw Koniecpolski in the 1600s. The castle was then part of the Kingdom of Poland and regarded as one of the most valuable palace-gardens in the kingdom.

For years it passed hands to wealthy new noble owners and remained richly furnished until the First World War. Soldiers marching through the area ransacked the castle for loot and for fun. After the Second World War, it became used as a tuberculosis sanatorium by Russian soldiers, but in 1956, the whole castle caught fire and burned for three long weeks. While the exterior remain beautiful, the interior is absolutely gutted. The Lviv Art Gallery is tasked with restoring it today, but little improvement has been made.

 

The Bran Castle in Transylvania

Romania

Bran Castle Romania
Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alexpanoiu/

Bran Castle is easily the most famous abandoned castle in the world. Nestled deep within the Carpathian Mountains, this 1,000 year old structure is best known for housing the figure that inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula – Vlad III Dracul, or Vlad the Impaler. Vlad the Impaler is synonymous with cruelty due to his preferred method of torture and execution, the impalement. However, the cruelty that went on within these walls stretches even further. Vlad the Impaler enjoyed hammering nails into the heads of thieves and hacking off limbs as well as having people blinded, strangles, burned, boiled scalped and skinned. Although the castle has the look of one that is abandoned, it actually houses a museum that showcases Vlad’s history and all the cruel instruments he used at the time.

 


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