We are continuing our travels through the castles of Romania and today we will talk about two such edifices – one in the heart of Moldova and the other in Transylvania -, both of them bearing a very interesting and vast history and a fate that resembles the cycle of the mythical Phoenix Bird: from grace to decay, and then back to grace.
Castle Sturdza, Miclauseni Village, Iasi
Located 65 km from Iasi, the capital city of the historic province of Moldova, Miclauseni Village includes a beautiful castle in Gothic style, built between 1880 and 1904 by George and Maria Sturza, on the site of an old mansion. During the First World War, the castle was transformed into a military hospital, where Maria Ghica and Ecaterina Cantacuzino – the daughter of George Sturdza – were helping the wounded from the position of nurses. Elena remained for a while to manage and take care of the castle up until 1944, when she was forced to leave because of the war.
The castle used to keep valuable collections of documents, medieval costumes, jewelry, paintings, weapons and books – about 60,000 volumes, some of them extremely rare. Unfortunately, in the winter of 1944, with the stationing of Germans prisoners in the castle, many books have been used as fuel for stoves, others were sold and used for packaging goods and some of the remaining ones were saved and safely submitted to Iasi, or sold to the Central University Library in Bucharest.
After 1947, Ecaterina Cantacuzino donated the Castle to the Diocese of Roman, towards the establishment of a place of worship. But the monastery was disbanded after a few years of communist rule, when the castle was nationalized and converted into military warehouse until 1960. Throughout times, several fires have burned the old furniture and the castle walls contributing to its state of degradation, but it was brought back to its original state, becoming an elegant and imposing edifice.
Owned by the Moldova and Bucovina Metropolitan, the Sturdza Castle was reopened and introduced into the touristic circuit after 10 years of restoration.
Castle Pekri Radak, Ozd Village, Mures
A castle whose origins remain in darkness, which allegedly it was built in the tradition of Renaissance before 1705 (some sources state the year 1682) and rebuilt in 1732, by General Lorincz Pekre who participated in the anti-Habsburg uprising led by Francis Rákóczi II, between 1703 and 1711. Set on fire by the Austrian soldiers, the castle was rebuilt by Radak Adam, the son-in-law of Pekre Radak. In the first decades of the 20th century, the owners of this castle were Baron Ianos Kodradshein and his wife, Ilona Teleki, who have been forced to leave the country in 1945 after the nationalization program. The castle become state property and was turned into the headquarters of the local Cooperative of Agricultural Production and house of culture. After 1989 it was returned to the daughter of Ilona Teleki, who donated it to the Christian Bonus Pastor Foundation, which leased the property for 99 years, coordinating the restoration process, as well, which continues until today.
Photo source Picture 1: iasi4u.ro; Picture 2: melidoniumm.wordpress.com; Picture 3: romania-redescoperita.ro; Picture 4: commons.wikimedia.org; Picture 5: mirceaturdean.blogspot.ro; Picture 6: turismistoric.ro.