Romania's Fairytale Castles
Peles Castle, nestled in the valley of the western Bucegi mountains about an hour north of Bucharest, Sinaia is home to the fabulous Peles Castle, a fairy-tale-like ediface built by King Carol 1 in the 19th century as the royal family's summer residence. Its interiors are an opulant display of elegant design and historical artifact. An absolute must-see, inside and out!
This medieval fortress, often referred to as Dracula's castle, was built in 1377 to protect nearby Brasov from invaders. Vlad Dracula never really stayed here, but it was a favorite reguge of Queen Marie in the 1920s and 1930s. The castle's rooms and towers surround an inner courtyard. It sits high atop a hill overlooking the picturesque village of Bran. On the grounds below, there's an open-air ethnographic museum of old village buildings with exhibits of furniture, household objects and costumes.
This is the most important monument of Gothic architecture in Transylvania. Built in the 14th century at Hunadoara, on the site of a former Roman camp, it served as a defense stronghold and a princely residence. In 1390, Hungarian king Sigismund of Luxembourg gave the fortress to prince Voicu of Hunedoara as a reward for his military deeds.
Originally a 14th century wooden stronghold, it was enhanced by Transylvania's ruling prince in the 17th century in a Transylvanian Renaissance style and served as seat to Transyvania's Diet. In the 18th century under Hapsburg rule, it was reshaped in the Vauban system style. From 1948-1960, the fortress servced as a penitentiary for political prisoners. Today it houses the Fagaras Country Museum with 80 halls and sections on history, ethnography and art.
Bethlen Castle can be visited at Cetatea de Balta, near Blaj. It was built in the 16th century in the French Renaissance style, and restored in the 17th and 18th centuries, when a gate in the baroque style was added.
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