How Did People Build Such Elaborate Castles?

The Chateau de Guedelon, as seen on BBC News

If you’ve ever been to a medieval castle or church, you too have marveled at their grandeur and also wondered how the heck people were able to construct these things centuries ago, without the aid of the bulldozers, cranes, and power tools.

As BBC News reports, there’s a French guy who’s been mulling over this very issue, and as a result, decided to conduct a somewhat insane, over-the-top elaborate architectural experiment deep in the forests of central France. Local landowner Michel Guyot is in the process of erecting a real-deal castle, called Chateau de Guedelon, staying true to the building methodologies and materials of the 13th century.

The project began in 1998, and a dozen years later, it’s still far from finished (completion isn’t due until around 2023!). But considering that workmen are fashioning walls out of red Burgundy clay, blacksmiths are forging nails by hand, and even ropes, baskets, and roof tiles are all made on site, it’s not at all surprising.

The construction site has turned into a major tourist attraction, drawing tens of thousands of visitors each year, who flock to the woodsy location to view the craftsmen—who, incidentally, dress the part in authentically old time-y-looking garb—in action. It’s kind of like the older French version of colonial Williamsburg.

As it turns out, it’s not the only modern-day castle out there. There are actually several extravagant examples right here on our home turf. Check out our slideshow below to view a round-up of some of our favorites. And should you be inspired to have your very own, check out Castle Magic, a company that allows you to select from a slew of pre-designated styles and customizes plans to get yours built—you can even opt to have your own drawbridge and moat!

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