9 Most Beautiful Castles in Romania That You Should ABSOLUTELY See
Romania, the Carpathian garden, is a central European country situated on the western shores of the Black Sea, and encircled by the ring of the mighty Carpathian Mountains. A land of untouched natural beauty, its picturesque mountains, wild valleys and forested countryside leave you marveling at this picture perfect country!
Added to nature’s bounty, is the line up of the most splendid and enchanting castles, which are a legacy of the history of this beautiful country and its rich heritage. These castles date back from the 14th century onward, and a visit to these stunning architectural wonders is like a journey back in time to the medieval ages. So here we go!
Magnificent Castles in Romania
1. Bran Castle
Bran Castle, the legendary home of Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula, is the best place to embark on our journey as it is a national monument and landmark of Romania. This mid 13th century castle stands high up on a cliff in central Romania, casting its shadow as it were, over the entire Transylvanian region with its deep red towers and turrets!
The imposing castle containing some sixty rooms with wooden walls, interconnected through secret underground passages and narrow winding stairs, creates a mysterious and almost sinister atmosphere. If that was not enough, the weapons and armor displayed inside the rooms add to the ghost like atmosphere of the castle. A word of caution though, don’t let your imagination run wild, or else you just might find yourself encountering none other than Dracula himself!
Actually the castle has no mention of Count Dracula, and as per local legend, Count Vlad Tepes, also known as “Vlad the Impaler”, was imprisoned here for only two weeks! The aura of mystery around the castle has been created because of the legendary myth connected with Dracula!
Coming back to the interior of Bran Castle, the furniture and weapons exhibited inside the castle belong to the period from the 14th to the 19th centuries. The walls of the castle are white, and the fireplace actually has colorful blue tiles.
The castle is a much visited place attracting half a million visitors a year, mainly because of its association with the royal Romanian vampire! However, there is no denying the beauty and grandeur of the castle. Bran Castle is now a museum with furniture and pieces of art on display.
2. Peles Castle
Rising above the green meadows of the beautiful Transylvania terrain, Peles Castle, also known as Pelişor Castle, with its pointed towers and turrets is considered to be one of the most magnificent castles in the entire European continent. It is located at the foot of the mountains in the historic city of Sinaia in the south of Romania. The castle is named after the Peles Creek which passes through its courtyard.
The castle was built to serve as the royal palace, and was the summer retreat of the royal family. It was designed and built in a fusion of Byzantine, Celtic, German New Renaissance and Nouveau art styles. The castle also incorporates some Gothic elements in its structure. The golden room with its numerous arches and gilded walls is impressive, while the hall of honour is simplistic, with oak wood walls and a glass ceiling.
The castle’s splendid exterior is matched by the opulence of its interiors. It has 160 rooms, richly decorated with grand carpets, Morano glass chandeliers, German stained glass windows and the finest pieces of European paintings and other priceless works of art. You can see a liberal use of sculpted wood, stone and marble in the castle, both externally and internally, which gives it a very majestic and awesome appearance.
The sprawling castle is surrounded by seven beautiful terraces which are adorned with statues, wells made of stone, huge ornamental vases and Carara marble decorations.
Peles Castle also has the distinction of being the first castle in the continent to have central heating and to be lit by electricity produced in its own plant.
3. Corvinesti Castle
Corvinesti Castle, commonly called Corvin Castle, is picturesquely perched on a rock above a river in the town of Hunedoara in Transylvania. A wooden bridge across the river, leading to the entrance of the tower adds to its old world charm. A 14th century building, Corvin Castle is also known by the name of Hunyad Castle.
This medieval castle has tall towers, with many windows and balconies which are beautifully decorated with stone carvings. Corvin Castle is considered as a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. It originally served as a fortress and was later renovated into a royal residence.
It has 42 rooms decorated with exquisite pieces of medieval art. You will also find a chapel in the castle area, as well as a scary looking dungeon in which Vlad Tepes is said to have been imprisoned for seven years.
A stone well in the courtyard of the castle has an interesting story attached to it. It is believed that this 30 metre deep well was dug into stone by 12 Turkish prisoners who were promised to be set free, if they could reach water. It took them 15 long years to accomplish this task, but they were still not freed. An inscription on this well is translated to say, ‘you have water, but no soul.’
Today, Corvin Castle is used for holding art exhibitions of the local artists. It has plenty of gift shops selling handicrafts as well.
4. Rasnov Citadel
The old fortress of Rasnov stands on a rocky hill top of the Carpathian Mountains, at a height of 650 feet above the town of Rasnov. A 13th century fortification, it was built by the Teutonic Knights to ward off the invasions of the Tartars, and was later enlarged by the Saxons.
Rasnov Citadel is a historic landmark of Romania. What we see today, is a restored version of this impressive fortress. Inside its ancient walls is housed a museum in which along with other exhibits, is a human skeleton preserved beneath a glass floor.
5. Poenari Castle
Decayed with the ravages of time, the ‘now in ruins’ Poenari Castle is located on a steep rocky precipice at a height of 860 meters, near the Fagaras Mountains. Also known as Poenari Citadel, this castle dates back to the 13th century and is associated with Vlad the Impaler.
Today, what we can explore are the ruins of a once grand fortress. It can be accessed by a flight of 1480 concrete steps. If you venture on this climb, you will be more than compensated, as the beautiful view from the citadel will hold you spellbound.
According to legends, this is Dracula’s Castle from where Vlad the Impaler’s wife committed suicide by jumping from the tower, rather than be taken captive by the Turks who had attacked the fortress. As she fell onto a huge rock, the river flowing by the castle became red with her blood, and has been named the Lady’s River after her.
6. Cantacuzino Castle
An early 20th century construction, Cantacuzino Castle is different from the earlier medieval castles, as it is built in the Neo Romanian pattern of architecture. The castle takes its name from the Cantacuzino royal family to whom it originally belonged. Post the Communist rule, the castle has been restored and is open for public viewing.
7. Banffy Castle
Banffy Castle is located in the Cluj area. It belonged to the Banffy family and is the largest castle in Transylvania. As per the historical records, this Baroque castle had a troubled history, and was used for different purposes at different periods of time.
The magnificent Banffy Castle was at one time, the venue of many grand ballroom parties. It now serves as a wonderful concert hall.
8. Fagaras Citadel
Located in Transylvania, Fagaras Citadel was built in 1310, on the site of an earlier wooden fortress which was destroyed by the Tartars. Being one of the strongholds of Transylvania, Fagarus Citadel has played an important role in the history of Romania and is a historical monument.
The citadel has been well preserved and converted into the Fagaras County Museum. On display is an interesting collection of medieval weapons and Romanian folk art.
9. Mikó Castle
Miko Castle is a 17th century fortified castle which served as a grand residential palace. The earlier building was completely destroyed by the Turk invaders, and was later rebuilt. Today this castle houses the Museum of Ethnography and has an invaluable collection of the Szekely heritage.