Jul 14

THE UNDISCOVERED CASTLES OF ROMANIA (III)

On our third visit we shall encounter other two old castles that have represented an important landmark in the troubled history of Romanians.

Both of them can be found in in the beautiful region of Transylvania and the first one is Karolyi Castle in Carei, Satu Mare.

In 1482, Count Laszlo Karoly built a house that would arouse the envy of the nobility of Satmar committee, conflict that was put down by Matthias Corvin. In 1592 Karoly Mihaly needed to strengthen the construction built a century ago to face Turkish incursions; hence, he surrounded the building with thick walls with bastions and dug a ditch outside which had a suspension bridge, turning it into a veritable fortress that was to be noted as an important defense fortress in Transylvania during the late 17th and 18th centuries. At the dawn of the 18th century, after having ended his military mission, Karoly Jozsef demolished the walls and backfilled the trench, reconstructing the castle. The works were finished in 1794 and the new building was built in Baroque style, with 41 rooms and a chapel, plus a riding hall and a botanical park. Unfortunately, the earthquake in 1834 largely demolished the castle, which was restored once more in 1896 in Gothic style, returning to the old military elements – the bastion and moat – but this time only for decoration purpose.

Between the two World Wars, a part of the castle was transformed into a sanatorium, and the other was hosting a casino. During the second great conflagration, Karolyi family gave the permission for the building to function as a military school and later a military hospital. During the communist period, the castle turned into the headquarters of diverse cultural institutions: a museum, the house of culture of Carei town, Town Library livestock but also a high school.

Currently, the castle is managed by Carei City Hall, which implemented a European project of 4 million Euros for restoration and introducing it into the tourist circuit. Here are held various cultural events, exhibitions (three of them are permanent), concerts and you can also officiate your marriage here. Annually, about 40,000 tourists visit the castle of Carei, attracted by its beauty, the local history and interesting legends and the beautiful and unique arboretum that surrounds this castle.

Corvin (Hunyad) Castle, Hunedoara

The best-known medieval fortress of Hunedoara County called Corvin Castle or Hunyadi Castle was built in the 15th century, on a rock near the river Zlasti, by John Hunyadi – the ruler who stood in the way of the Turkish expansion in Europe. Very well-preserved, the Gothic castle covers an area of 7000 square meters, with 42 rooms, two bridges and two terraces. During Iancu of Hunedoara ruling, the castle was not only a point of great strategic importance but also a lively medieval seat of numerous events. The access to the castle is done through a wooden bridge supported by four stone pillars that supports it over Zlasti river bed. Ravaged over time by several fires, the castle has undergone several restoration processes after entering 1997 in a grandiose project of valorization. The museum inside houses a lot of collections of archeology, ethnography, numismatics, ethnography and military equipment.

The Corvin Castle has also served as scenery for several feature films, the last shooting being held in 2015.

All tourists can visit this beautiful and majestic castle between 9 and 17 o’clock, so you are welcome here any day.

Photo source:

Picutre 1: provinciacrisana.blogratuit.ro; Picture 2: statiuneatasnad.ro; Picture 3: voceatransilvaniei.ro; Picture 4: municipiulcarei.ro; Picture 5: descoperaromania.net; Picture 6: thousandwonders.net; Picture 7: touristinromania.net
Dec 21

The Brukenthal Palace (Palatul Brukenthal)

In Avrig, right beneath the Carpathian Mountains, lies an architectural treasure which undoubtedly deserves the attention of the passers-by. This is the Brukenthal Palace, a unique castle which is the singular one in Romania to be surrounded by a park wonderfully created in the Baroque style.

The palace was constructed as the summer residence of the Governor Samuel von Bruckenthal. It was erected on the highest point in Avrig and it faces the River Olt. The craftsmanship with which it was designed has led to it being renowned throughout the country as the “Eden from Transylvania.”

Brukenthal Palace- http://commons.wikimedia.org

The artistry of the architectural design is mainly the result of the fine tastes of von Brukenthal, the influential political figure who had been the governor of Transylvania for 13 years. The castle contains a wonderful collection of paintings, books and ancient manuscripts, as well as elements of numismatics.

The palace, which has been constructed in the 18th century, together with the garden by which it is enclosed, extends over a surface of 16 hectars.  The construction was in fact initiated in the second half of the 18th century by the then governor Adolf Nicolaus von Bucow, but the one to stand by it in the later stages of the construction and the one to leave his mark on it was von Brukenthal – who had fashioned it to its particular taste. Due to the fact that the Governor of Transylvania had travel around the world it was impossible for him not to draw inspiration from some of the well renowned buildings in Europe. So it is basically no surprise that the constructions after which the Brukenthal Palace was fashioned are the Luxembourg Palace in Paris and the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna.

http://www.lapensiuni.ro

In terms of structure, we are talking about a U shaped building which consists of a central body and two lateral wings. In order to comprehend the fondness that Brukenthal had towards art you should know that the palace contained 212 paintings and 129 engravings displayed on its walls. The passage of time had not destroyed these works of art, in fact those who want to have a look at a beautiful collection should know that these works are preserved in the Brukenthal Museum (which is located in Brasov). The same thing cannot be said by the palace itself as this has not been preserved adequately. In time, the building had passed through several hands and the numerous owners did not look after it as they should have. The degradation of the edifice was further enhanced in the Second World War when it had been used as a military hospital.

U-shape structure – http://www.flickr.com

But with all the tumultous moments it had seen in its lifetime, the building had survived and it can still be admired by people interesed in fine architectural designs and in historical monuments. At present, the palace is protected under the law.

The park posed quite an interest due to the fact that it follows a Baroque design, being organized in terraces. The gardens were not characteristic to a singular architectural pattern, these being arranged after the French, English and Dutch models. This variaty was definitely enticing in the sense that, depending on your location in the park, you had a different perspective over the entire arrangement. Due to the fact that, like the building itself, the park had not been tended to properly, the original design got lost.

Intensive restoration is required in order to regain the former look. But in spite of it all, the Brukenthal Palace, as well as the park, still maintain a glimpse of their original self, their historical character still “beaming.”

May 09

Corvinesti Castle (Castelul Corvinesti)

The most beautiful Gothic castle in the entire Transylvanian area is Corvinesti Castle, located in Hunedoara, at 18 km south of the city of Deva. Built in the 14th century by the Anjou family, the edifice was erected on the remains of a Roman camp.

It initially served military purposes, being more of a fortress than a castle, but this ended when Iancu of Hunedoara, the ruler of Transylvania, transformed the edifice into his dwelling. The structure was kept as such, but massive renovation work was initiated which would lead to changing the fortress completely, making it the most attractive castle in the region.

http://www.budget-travel-tips.com

 

The construction has been preserved in as much that tourists can admire the wonderful Gothic architecture. The castle consists of the lavishly decorated Knights’ Hall, a reception hall room, the Council Hall (where tourists can gaze on the paintings which illustrate the royal coats of arms), towers, a drawbridge, the tall walls, an interior courtyard which measure 100 ft., a chapel and 50 rooms which are beautifully adorned according to the medieval art décor.

History

Up until 1409, the castle was the property of King Sigismund of Hungary, but he then gave the edifice, together with other properties (40 villages situated in the same region), to Prince Voicu of Romania as a recompense for the military actions he was engaged in alongside the Hungarians. The castle was inherited by Iancu of Huneadoara, from his father Voicu, who later on subjected it to the transformations aforementioned.

http://alookatromaniaandromanians.blogspot.com

 

Legend

There is a legend according to which the apparition of the fountain located within the interior courtyard is explained. It is said that 3 Turkish people were held captive within the walls of the castle and that their masters told them that they could regain their freedom once they dug a well. But it was impossible to fulfill this task as they never seemed to reach water.

After 15 years of hard work, time in which they had managed to dig 30 m in the ground, water finally came through the strata. But their masters did not want to meet their end of the bargain and thus denied setting the Turks free.

http://www.poze-gratis.ro

 

There is an inscription in close proximity of the fountain which reads as follows: “You may have water, but you have hardly any soul.” This is said to have been written by the Turks in response to the heartless treatment they were subjected to, not to mention to the fact that they were allowed to dream of their freedom, only to have their illusions crushed.

It is also said that Vlad the Impaler was incarcerated in a small cell located in the Knights’ Hall and that the time he spend locked inside the Corvinesti Castle (7 years) and the experiences he underwent as a prisoner here contributed to him losing his minds. This story is actually used to further develop the Myth of Count Dracula, emphasizing that the horrible fate he had while imprisoned led to the development of his sadistic methods of torturing people.

Tourist attraction

Corvinesti Castle is an important tourist attraction, not solely due to the stories that revolve around it, but also due to the imposing structure, with its pointing towers, and the artistic design conveyed to the castle.

http://www.flickr.com

 

Visiting hours:

1. May – August:

Monday from 9:00 to 15:00;

Tuesday – Sunday from 9:00 to 18:00.

 

2. March – April:

Monday from 9:00 to 15:00;

Tuesday – Sunday from 9:00 to 17:00.

 

3. September – February:

Monday from 9:00 to 15:00;

Tuesday – Sunday from 9:00 to 14:00.

You will have to cover a fee in order to get access into the Corvinesti Castle.