Top 10 Stunning Castles in Romania to Visit
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It goes without saying that Romania is well-known for having some of its beautiful historic castles. It is obvious that it is not possible to visit them all in one trip. Some of the most stunning and beautiful castles in Europe are located around the mystic mountains of Romania. These grand and picture-perfect castles and fortresses are imposing and elegant royal residences loaded with artistic treasures, legends, and myths to reflect the rich cultural heritage and dynamic part of the country.
From the eclectic fortresses and fairytale castles, citadels and haunted buildings, Romania is rich in historical landmarks. These castles in Romania are made in different architectural styles have played a vital role over the centuries to house royalty, protect the lands, and inspire legends and myths. Listed here are some of the most stunning castles in Romania which you should add in your bucket list.
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Table of Contents
- 1 Where to stay in Romania?
- 2 Short in time? Go sightseeing in Austria on tour!
- 3 List of Castles to visit in Romania
- 4 Plan your trip to Romania
- 5 Other destinations to visit in Europe
- 6 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Where to stay in Romania?
Short in time? Go sightseeing in Austria on tour!
List of Castles to visit in Romania
At No.1 in this list is none other than Peles Castle Romania. Located in the serene setting of Sinaia, this stunning castle stands out among the tall forests. The construction of the castle started in the late 19th century, i.e., in 1873, till 1914. It was built by King Carol I and used by the Romanian Royal Family as their summer residence. When you get there, you will feel that it is still waiting for the comeback of its original owners.
It is because it still has decorations in the best condition, and the castle houses thousands of artifacts on display, which are brought in from different parts of the world. In 1947, the communist regime seized the palace in the year 1947 after the forceful abdication of the last monarch of Romania, King Michael I, and it was turned eventually into a museum in the year 1953 and was closed in 1975.
It was restored as a cultural attraction after the 1989 Romanian Revolution. Peles Castle Romania was the first castle in Europe which was fully electrified and first in the world by installing central heating across the floors and walls.
The construction of Fagaras Citadel was started in the year 1310 on the older fortification grounds that were made of dirt and wood. The castle was built to provide strategic location advantage by protecting the Southeast of Transylvania against the invasion of Ottomans and Tatars. It was reinforced to emerge even stronger in 1526 and adding extra thickness to the walls.
It was attacked in 1541, and the ruler of the castle was captured. But Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave) caught it again and gifted it to his wife in 1599. According to the legends, the citadel had horrible torturing system for several years.
Just like the iron maiden, the captive was called to kiss an icon of the mother of Jesus, Holy Mary, which was kept on the chest of status. Once he kissed the image, a mechanism would have been triggered, and a lot of daggers come out and puncture the whole body of a captive.
Then, the daggers would be pulled back, and the dead body fell back in the Olt River through a trap door. From 1946 to 1960, the citadel served as a prison under the communist rule for the enemies, and it was reconditioned from 1965 to 1977. Currently, the citadel houses the Fagaras Museum as well as the main library.
Also known as Hunedoara Castle or Hunyadi Castle, the Corvin Castle was called one of the most haunted buildings in the world, according to Lonely Planet. It is also featured as one of the most beautiful and best castles in Romania by the same magazine. However, it is just because some fairytales are just nightmares.
Actually, Corvin Castle is a very fairytale-like European Gothic castle built in 1446. The original owners of the castle were the kings of Hungary. According to many historians, Vlad the Impaler, the most well-known voivode, was kept prisoner here.
In addition, it also had a dark history, which was the very source of the myth related to Dracula. Due to such reasons, the image of Corvin Castle is attached to the place of disgrace and terror.
Located in Miclaușeni, Sturdza Castle is one of the most serene, romantic and best castles in Romania to visit. The royal domain of the castle consists of a park with age-old trees and a serene lake. The castle is named after Sturdza family who built the castle and was recognized as the most popular and respected Moldavian family which gave a lot of men of culture and fair rulers to Romania.
It was originally a Neo-Gothic castle, and its facades were designed to impress the visitors as the family motto. On this castle, restoration work was started in the year 2004, and a lot of original pieces of furniture were restored and preserved from 2003 to 2005. Sturdza Palace is really a serene castle built in the 19th century in Baroque and Neo-Gothic styles by Maria and Gheorghe Sturdza.
It houses three beautiful attractions the Sturdza Castle, St. Voievozi Church, and the park. The complex has impressive architecture, and its walls are well decorated with designs like a lion with a sword, Sturdza coat of arms, and olive branch made in the year 1898 in Nouveau Art style by Iulius Reinecke, a famous architect.
The Bran Castle in Romania may be the most famous castle in the country. The original castle was actually a wooden structure which Teutonic Knights erected. Later on, the Saxons of Brasov built this castle over it and is known across the world as the mysterious residence of Count Dracula. With narrow corridors, pointy towers, dark dooms, steep stairs, and historic look had attracted many writers, tourists, and filmmakers.
Bran Castle is alleged to be connected to both Romanian royal family and Dracula. History and legends meet at this place and provide an amazing experience for everyone who visits here.
Bran Castle in Romania is so different that it has been listed among the top 10 most beautiful castles worldwide, by CNN. There had been some connections of Vlad the Impaler with this castle. But there is still a lack of records of him for visiting this palace.
The Banffy Castle was well known in its era of glory as Versailles Castle of Transylvania. In this beautiful castle, a well-known architect from Vienna had left his presence here by building a park, statues, alleys, and artesian wells in the 18th century, and brought a baroque look to its construction. The gate of the castle was also designed with amazing stone statues. The castle was built from a manor house dated back to the 15th century.
The castle was used as a field hospital in 1944, but it was destroyed and plundered by the German troops as part of retaliation against the owner. It was also used as a farm, driving school, and children’s hospital in the communist regime.
The castle was listed as one of 100 Most Endangered Sites in the World Monuments Watch List in 1999 as requested by Transylvania Trust. The Built Heritage Conservation Training Program started renovations in this castle in 2001. The program works till date and provides training traditional building crafts for repair, restoration, and maintenance of historical landmarks.
Unfortunately, the Poienari Fortress is in ruins located on a high cliff facing the Arges River below the Carpathian Mountains. Built by the first Walachian emperors in the 13th century, the residents and name of the castle were changed many times over the decades. Later on, it was left in ruins and abandoned. Vlad, the Impaler recognized the location’s potential and took over the throne. He ordered consolidation and repair work of the structure and converted it into the main fortress of him.
In 1462, the Turks captured the castle and attacked, but Vlad managed to escape through a hidden passageway which leads north through the mountains. Even though the castle was used after the death of Vlad in 1476 for many years, it was abandoned slowly again at the beginning of the 16th century, and it was left to the mercy of weather and time.
A portion of the castle was destroyed by a major landslide in 1888 which suddenly crashed in the river. The castle had gone through repairs, and the remains of towers and walls stand till date. It takes a lot of stamina to climb 1462 steps to reach the ruins, which are perched high around the area like an eagle’s nest.
Built from 1570 to 1580, the Jidvei Castle was renovated by Count Stefan Bethlen from 1615 to 1624. Just like most parts of Romanian castles, most of the silks, silverware, and furniture were lost under the communist regime. The Haller family claimed the castle in 1989 and sold it in the year 2003. It is being renovated these days. However, it sometimes hosts wine tasting ceremonies and an event named ‘Golden Grape Festival’ to welcome the autumn, which is the ideal time for winemaking.
There have been several archeological surveys on the site during its reconstruction and old gates were found which were built before a small bridge or castle. There is a beautiful exhibition of 45 watches in the main hall, with a historical past behind it. The people in the castle gifted the owner 45 watches when he turned 45 years old, to represent his age.
There are also different legends and myths across the location. According to one of them, there is a secret passage underground the castle which connects it to Bethlen Castle. It is well regarded as the image of Jidvei wine.
Rasnov Castle is yet another Romanian castle which was built to protect the lands of Transylvania against the attacks from the Tatars and Ottomans. Built from 1211 to 1225, Rasnov Citadel was a refuge for many people for several years, apart from Michael the Brave in the year 1600 and Tudor Vladimirescu led the Wallachian refugees from the resurgent movement in 1821.
Over the years, the citadel was partially damaged, i.e., in 1802 by the earthquake and in 1718 by fire. However, it was restored under the communist from 1955 and 1966. Because of the absence of water in this citadel, the residents of the castle forced two prisoners from Turkey to dig the well, and the process continued for over 17 years.
Even today, visitors can witness the verses from Quran designed on the walls of its well. And no one knows exactly what happened with two prisoners. According to some people, they were killed after the construction of the well was finished but some say that they were released. Legends had it that there is a 300-year-old treasure at the bottom of the well.
The gates toward the church might be locked in the ‘low season.’ If gates are locked, simply ask for help at the café located next to the fortress entrance. Initially mentioned in 1283 in the official document, the village of Biertan houses one of the most beautiful and largest historic strongholds of Transylvania.
Covered by quaint vineyards and streets, the fortified church of the 15th century is perched high on a hill in Biertan. Connected by gates and towers, three tiers of defensive towers which are 35 ft. High encircled the complex. So, it was next to impossible to conquer the church during medieval times.
The church beautifully features late-gothic architectural style with double exterior walls and heavy doors and the largest multi-paneled wooden altar of Transylvania and a well-known wooden door which protected the treasures of the sacristy.
The shrine was built by the artisans who belonged to Nurenberg in Germany and Vienna in Austria, from 1483 to 1513. In an ideal marvel of engineering, the door has a very fantastic locking system having 15 bolts which can be activated at the same time by a key. Its mechanism has been so attractive that it has been the center of attraction at the Paris World Expo in the year 1900.
Plan your trip to Romania
Other destinations to visit in Europe
Portugal, France, Andorra, Spain, Greece, Italy, Malta, Gibraltar, Monaco, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, The Netherlands, The UK, Ireland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia an Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Armenia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, and Macedonia.
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