a team of creatives at budget direct travel insurance has reconstructed seven ruined palaces around the world with the help of architects and graphic designers. from haiti to iran, crete and belarus, the company continues to feed our desire for travel while the world continues to implement some restrictions to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.


slide the arrows to see the reconstruction.



‘what is a palace, and how is it distinct from a castle?,’ asks budget direct. ‘because both buildings serve as royal residences, the words are often used interchangeably. however, castles are military buildings first and homes second. palaces are primarily homes—opulent homes, to be sure, but homes nevertheless. the modern homeowner—fretting over wear-and-tear—doesn’t have to worry about roving armies, rival dynasties, and rebellion. history can be crueler to royal residences.’


qal’eh dokhtar, iran



the series begins with sans souci, or the versailles of the caribbean. located in haiti, this palace was inhabited by revolutionary general henry christophe. majestic steps and terraces render this an impressive monument to haitian influence. the series then moves to the middle east, showcasing iran’s qal’eh dokhtar. technically a castle because it’s fortified, the structure is perhaps the earliest example of an iranian chartaq — a square of four archers supporting a dome.


knossos palace, greece



the knossos palace in greece, the ruzhany palace in belarus, the dungur palace / palace of the queen of sheba, in ethiopia and the clarendon palace in the UK continue to mesmerize viewers as this images reveal their beauty. the series closes with the husuni kubwa in tanzania, built by sultan al-hasan ibn sulaiman. the massive building had over 100 rooms, an octagonal swimming pool, and a staging area for loading goods into ships.


ruzhany palace, belarus




if you enjoyed this, made sure you check out how budget direct restored UNESCO cultural sites to their original glory.


dungur palace / palace of the queen of sheba, ethiopia


clarendon palace, UK


husuni kubwa, tanzania



project info:


name: 7 ruined palaces around the world, reconstructed

created by: budget direct

in collaboration with: neomam studios