Abandoned mansions where we'd love to spend the night
Exploring these once magnificent castles and manors would be an adventure of a lifetime.
There's something heavy about the energy in an abandoned mansion. You can almost see the people who used to live and love there. What happened to them? How could a structure so beautiful be left to decay? And how weirdly awesome would it be to spend a night inside one?
Since we can't literally stay in them, we gathered together fallen architectural beauties from around the world and explain their fascinating back stories.
Chateau Miranda, a neo-Gothic castle built in 19th-century Belgium. (Photo: Tom Blackwell/Flickr)
Architects started constructing this castle in 1866, but they only finished in 1907. In 1950, it was made into an orphanage and children's camp, at which point some people started calling it the "noisy castle" for obvious reasons.
According to Tom Blackwell, the photographer who took this photo, the local government is deciding whether to protect the castle. To do so, it must have "unique character, being representative of an era and a style of architecture, heritage and historical perspective."
"I, for one, feel that it fulfills all of those criteria – so let us hope that it is not too late, so this marvellous place might remain to be marvelled at by future generations too," wrote Blackwell on Flickr.
The Baron Hill Mansion in Beaumaris, Wales. (Photo: Kris Williams/Flickr)
This bit of a terraced garden is part of a mansion in Wales that was built for the Bulkeley family. In 1776, architect Samuel Wyatt remodelled the residence using a Neo-Palladian style, inspired by ancient Greek and Roman buildings.
The Bulkeley family moved out in the 1920s, using the place for storage. Eventually, a fire broke out, destroying a lot of the house's interior, and it's been abandoned ever since.
There are many historical buildings in Acre, a northern Israeli city along the Mediterranean near Haifa, including this 13th-century castle. The castle has half a dozen halls and a dining room, which features domes and arches influenced by Gothic architecture in medieval France and Italy.
No castle would be complete without towers. Two powerful towers with 28-foot thick walls stood at the castle's entrance. According to writings from the time, gilded lions once sat atop smaller towers on its sides.
An 18th-century mansion located in east Germany. (Photo: Jan Bommes/Flickr)
During the 1700s, a landlord acquired this estate and constructed a masterpiece meant to look like a baroque Dutch castle. After a fire almost completely destroyed the mansion in the early 20th century, the family rebuilt it.
Decades later, the building was used as an agricultural school. The current owner has walled up many of the house's windows with bricks, and there's been talk about turning it into a hotel, but so far it remain uninhabited.
San Francisco's Magma Mansion. (Photo: Wayne Hsieh/Flickr)
Local legend says that a wealthy owner once wanted to build this California mansion with lava rocks from Hawaii. But the property was cursed, as lava rock mansions tend to be, and after enough worker accidents had accrued, the workers quit the project.
Another much less interesting rumor says that a neighbor disliked the oversized project and sued the owner, who eventually gave up the mansion rather than be caught up in litigation. Believe what you will.
Selma, a stuccoed brick mansion in Maryland. (Photo: Jack Says Relax/Flickr)
This 2 1/2-story mansion was built by Elijah Brokenborough White in 1902, featuring colonial revival architecture. White bred horses on the property and passed the house on to his daughter.
It was eventually sold from owner to owner, many who didn't live in the house and let it fall apart. Cracks appeared in the walls, paint peeled and weeds took over. But about a decade ago, historians and preservationists started a campaign to restore the manor. Just last month, a new owner bought it, one who actually plans to fix it up and live there.
Spain's Casa Bailly has 22 bedrooms. (Photo: blopsmen/Flickr)
Architects Antonio Tenreiro y Peregrin Estelles constructed this prime example of modern Galician architecture in 1920. It took eight housekeepers to maintain its expansive interiors and surrounding gardens. The manor's original residents moved out, and it (and this is a theme here) fell to ruin, despite the local government's promise to restore it.
13th-century Locket Castle in the Czech Republic. (Photo: Jim Linwood/Flickr)
This Gothic castle has a regal past. Kings built it, and Charles IV even stayed here sometimes, inspiring him to say that the Czech Crown must not abandon Locket. The castle was reconstructed during the reign of Charles's son.
The property was sold off throughout the centuries, and it wasted away during the 19th century. Then it was rebuilt into a jailhouse that was closed in 1948. It's now open to the public.
A house left to ruin in Xiluo, Taiwan. (Photo: Alexander Synaptic/Flickr)
This abandoned mansion is located in a Taiwanese township of about 47,000 residents, home to attractions like the Xiluo Theater and Jhen Wen Academy, a former center for poetry turned historical attraction.
The mansion pictured here is almost, but not entirely, abandoned: you can still see dogs playing inside.
Harewood Castle, a medieval British castle. (Photo: Tom Blackwell/Flickr)
A British nobleman called Sir William De Aldeburgh founded this castle in 1366.
"This photograph was taken through a broken section of wall adjoining one of the stairways," wrote Tom Blackwell, the photographer, on Flickr. "It depicts the castle's former centrepiece, a great hall where many feasts and gatherings would have taken place. Today it lies in brooding silence..."
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