Owners of castles and tower homes across Scotland have been encouraged to apply for refurbishment funding in a bid to boost tourism.
Culture Minister Mike Russell said by restoring Scotland’s historical houses tourism could be boosted in the economic downturn.
Mr Russell said the buildings could be used as hotels, rented accommodation or in some other business capacity.
Historic Scotland has begun an audit of possible sites.
Mr Russell went on: “The restoration of carefully selected Scottish castles and tower houses will contribute to a sustainable approach to ensuring that Scotland’s historic buildings play a role in the economic development of this country.
“Although management of the historic environment is a complex issue we, at the same time, should encourage investment and restoration for renewed use where that offers the best chance for a building’s sustainable future.
“Encouragingly, new uses for such buildings are varied and can prove, at this time of financial difficulty, to be economically beneficial.”
It is hoped the project will provide an online database of castles and tower houses which demonstrate the characteristics that would enable a successful scheme for restoration to be developed, plus a guide to castle and tower house restoration.
Michael Russell added: “There is a long and successful tradition of castle restoration in Scotland and I fully believe there is potential for more.
“I know we can make the process of gaining consent and taking forward such projects – where restoration is appropriate and viable – as effective and transparent as possible.”
Historic Scotland has begun the first phase of the project and the launch of the preliminary list is expected by June 2009.