Corvin Castle, Romania

Discover Romania’s top 3 castles to visit! From the fairytale charm of Peles Castle to the Gothic grandeur of Corvin Castle and the legendary mystique of Bran Castle, uncover the country’s rich history, legends, and architectural treasures.

Romania, a country situated in the heart of Eastern Europe, is a land of rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and captivating architecture. Between imposing mountain peaks, water ribbons born from springs, ancient valleys, emerald meadows, and whimsical forests, timeless towers aim towards the sky and watch over the land. Romania is famous for many features, from talented gymnasts to mouth-watering food, but nothing takes the crown like the iconic Dracula stories and enchanting castles.

For those seeking to immerse themselves in the allure of the past, Romania’s castles offer an unforgettable experience.

1/ Peles Castle: A Fairytale Retreat

Peles Castle, Romania

Located within the Carpathian Mountains, atop a hill in the quaint town of Sinaia, lies the renowned and captivating Peles Castle. Within its walls resides the Throne of Romania, commissioned by its founder, King Carol I, to serve as the royal residence. When questioned by one of his ministers about the castle’s proximity to the border between Romania and Austria-Hungary, King Carol I asserted that it was strategically located within the heart of Romanian-inhabited territories!

    Financed personally by King Charles I through the sale of an estate in Germany, the construction of Peles Castle commenced in 1873 and concluded in 1914, with its inauguration occurring in 1883. Remarkably, Peles Castle was among the earliest royal edifices in the world to feature electric lighting. Peles Castle was also one of the first to beneficiate from central heating, with its own electrical plant within the Royal Domain.

   The castle, boasting 160 rooms and over 30 bathrooms, showcases remarkable architectural and artistic prowess, from its painted exterior walls to the myriad sculptures, fountains, and ornamental vessels hewed from Carrara marble adorning 7 terraces. The Hall of Honor, adorned with over 2,000 statues crafted by 140 sculptors over six months, features a mobile glass ceiling, unveiling the sky of Sinaia with the aid of an electric motor.

  While only a portion of the castle’s rooms are accessible to the public, visitors can marvel at its music and theater halls, the latter boasting 60 seats and a special box reserved for the royal family. A famous Romanian composer, George Enescu, was known to often play concerts for the royal couple within the palace walls. Peles Castle stands as a testament to Romania’s rich history and cultural heritage, drawing tourists from across the globe to witness its splendor and grandeur.

2/ Bran Castle: The Legendary Dracula’s Castle

Bran Castle, Romania

   Perched atop a rugged outcrop in the heart of Transylvania, Bran Castle stands as a testament to over six centuries of history, rendering it one of Romania’s most iconic landmarks. While often linked to the lore of Dracula, this imposing fortress beckons travelers worldwide with its mysterious charm.

   Although colloquially dubbed “Dracula’s Castle,” Bran’s association with the infamous vampire is steeped more in fiction than historical reality. Nonetheless, its imposing architecture and rich narrative draw in history and vampire enthusiasts alike.

   Originally documented in a deed from November 19, 1377, issued to Hungary’s King Ludovic I of Anjou, Bran Castle served as a stone fortress erected by the people of Brasov to safeguard against invading forces. Its storied past includes roles as a royal abode, a military stronghold, and a customs outpost.

   Gifted to Queen Maria of Greater Romania by Brasov’s City Council in gratitude for her role in the 1918 Great Union, Bran Castle thrived as her favored residence. It held special significance, as evidenced by the temporary presence of her heart buried within its walls. During World War II, Princess Ileana, inheritor of the castle from her mother, Queen Maria, returned to Romania and transformed Bran into a refuge for war victims.

   Today, Bran Castle invites visitors to traverse its labyrinthine passages, ascend winding staircases, and uncover hidden chambers, offering glimpses into its medieval past. Treasures within include a trove of period furniture, artwork, and medieval artifacts, while its lofty towers afford panoramic vistas of the surrounding countryside.

3/ Corvin Castle: A Gothic Masterpiece

Corvin Castle, Romania

    Located in the historic region of Transylvania, Corvin Castle is a formidable fortress that epitomizes the grandeur of Gothic architecture. Also known as Hunyadi Castle or Hunedoara Castle, this imposing stronghold is steeped in history and folklore, making it a captivating destination for travelers seeking to uncover Romania’s past.

    Built it the 15th century by the Hunyadi family, Corvin Castle served as both a military fortress and a lavish residence for the Hungarian nobility. Its imposing stone walls, fortified towers, and impresive drawbridge evoke a sense of medieval grandeur, transporting visitors back in time to an era of knights, kings, and feudal lords. Stepping within Corvin Castle’s walls, visitors encounter a labyrinth of courtyards, halls, and chambers, each adorned with ornate frescoes and heraldic emblems. Highlights include the Knight’s Hall, the awe-inspiring Capistrano Tower, and the haunting Torture Chamber, bearing witness to centuries of history and intrigue.

   Attached to the history of the castle, there is a legend that surrounds the well, believed to have been dug by three Turkish captives under John of Hunedoara’s watch. Promising their freedom upon completion, they toiled for 15 years, unearthing water at 28 meters. Unfortunately, John’s death left his wife, Elisabeta Szilagyi, to break the pledge, condemning the captives to death. Their final act was to inscribe “You have water, no heart” on the fountain’s keys. Mihail Guboglu deciphered the ancient Arabic script, revealing the author as Hassan, a prisoner, dating the inscription to the 15th century. It remains on a chapel buttress, a silent testament to broken promises.

    Romania’s castles are more than just stone and mortar; they are repositories of history, culture, and legend. From the fairytale beauty of Peles Castle to the Gothic splendor of Corvin Castle and the iconic mystique of Bran Castle, each fortress offers a unique glimpse into Romania’s past.

Enjoy visiting these superb castles

   Whether you’re drawn to the romance of medieval architecture, the allure of royal opulence, or the intrigue of vampire lore, Romania’s castles have something to offer every traveler.

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