If you’re fascinated with medieval life, you don’t need a time machine to visit the period. Guedelon Castle in Burgundy, France, is a unique project where volunteers and researchers are constructing an authentic 13th century castle, using only techniques and materials that were available in the medieval period.
Michel Guyot and Maryline Martin started Guedelon Castle project in 1997, and it has been nearing its inevitable completion ever since. Today, it has created over 55 jobs and is a real tourist attraction with more than 300,000 visitors a year.
There is even a period-accurate backstory attached to the medieval castle that guides the design and construction. In the annals of Guedelon, works began in 1228. Each year that passes is a year in ancient times, too, so we were now in 1248. “The rule of the reenactment is that only what we know from documents that existed at the time is allowed,” says Sarah Preston, an English guide. “Funnily enough, we found that even though we knew we were accurate, somehow the castle lacked soul. So we invented a character – the owner – who would have likes and dislikes, wanting this and not wanting that.”
Seigneur Guilbert is a middle-ranking feudal lord, who was granted the right to build his beautiful castle because he sided with the crown during a rebellion in 1226.
“At one point we realized the stonemasons were cutting the stones for the towers too perfectly, which just wouldn’t have been appropriate. It would have suggested he had a lot of money and, therefore, a small army in the chateau, which wasn’t the case.” Completion of this incredible place to visit is expected around 1253 – or 2023 in today’s world.