If you travel to Romania, make sure to take a tour of the Transylvanian castles. While some of them are famous in Europe, others are hidden gems, but they are equally impressive. Here we have presented top 10 castles and citadels you must visit in Transylvania.
The Bran castle is built on a cliff in a mountain area of a rare beauty. Famous for the legend of Dracula, the castle has in fact little connection with Vlad the Impaler. Throughout history it served as border crossing point, as defence building and later as Royal residence. One of the greatest Transylvanian symbols, the castle now serves as a museum that hosts priceless pieces of art and history.
2. The Peles Castle
The majestic Peles Castle in Sinaia was built as a summer residence for the Royal Family of Romania. With breathtaking surroundings, it is now a museum with a unique architecture and unvalued pieces of art. The grandiose building has 160 chambers, several entrances and staircases all of them wonderfully adorned. One of a kind in Europe, is has a high historical and artistic importance.
3. Fagaras Citadel
The Fortress of Fagaras is the only castle in Romania that has never been conquered by enemies. Through all the different occupancies, its role varied: During the 16th century, the citadel sheltered the prince’s family and the national treasure; later it became residence for the Transylvanian Sovereignty and then military prison; for a short while it was used as Episcopal residence and more recently, as jail for communist dissidents.
4. Corvin Castle
The majestic Corvin Castle is said to be one of the most beautiful medieval castles in Europe. Built in the 15th century, it has a gothic architecture with strong defence towers, bastions and a drawbridge. A rather sumptuous residence for the Sovereignty of the time, the castle features large marble halls, myriad windows and wonderfully adorned balconies.
5. The Alba Iulia Carolina Citadel
Alba Iulia is the spiritual capital of the country, for this is the place where the unification of today’s Romania was signed. Built in a baroque style the citadel used to be very important in the European defence against the Turkish invaders. Richly adorned, beautifully embossed, decorated with statues and distinct elements, the gates are unique in European military architecture.
6. Rasnov Citadel
Built around the 13th century, the Rasnov citadel served as shelter in times of war for the villagers around. Due to their position on the route of the invading armies, refuge into the Rasnov Citadel was their only chance to survive. Now it is mostly ruins, but some of the walls still stand and you can still see the chapel, the school and the 30m deep well, where elders believe lies a hidden treasure.
7. Rupea Fortress
The ruins of the Rupea Castle stand on an ancient citadel built by the Dacians and later conquered by Romans. Throughout history it had defence purposes, serving as refuge for the Saxons during Turkish invasions and later the plague epidemic.Even if it is now ruined, the fortress still dominates the landscape from the top of the hill it was built on.
8. Sighisoara Medieval Citadel
As you step through the gates of the Sighisoara Medieval citadel, the paved alleys and the authentic architecture will drag you into a wonderful journey through the past. The beautifully decorated churches and mysterious squares still emanate a mythical, medieval vibe. The fortress is incredibly well preserved: 9 out of 14 towers of the citadel still stand, along with other important buildings as Vlad Dracul’s house or the church on the hill.
9. Deva Fortress
The citadel’s ruins are visible from far away, due to its strategic position, on the top of the hill. Deva fortress was once one the most important medieval castles in Transylvania. Throughout centuries, it’s been ruled by princes, dukes or counts, it’s been conquered, sold and demolished, but some of its wall still managed to resist the passing of time.
10. The Poenari Castle – the real castle of Dracula
The now ruined citadel was once one of the main fortresses used by Vlad the Impaler. Built on a cliff, it was hard to conquer due to its location, but also its size. The legend says that Vlad the Impaler retired here after misleading the Turks by shoeing his horses backwards. After his death, other Wallachian leaders used it, but it was eventually ruined by an earthquake in the 19th century.
Take a tour of the Transylvanian castles and fortresses, and you will travel into the rich history of the Romanian people. The hosts at Raven’s Nest will be happy to guide you in this wonderful trip.
Categories: Discover Transylvania