Corvin Castle, otherwise known as Vajdahunyadi Vár

STAFF, EUROPE, Historic/Museums — By on December 16, 2016 at 23:23

Text & Photos Copyright © Estrella Azul

ONE MORNING LAST DECEMBER, when two bank holidays had us enjoy a long weekend off from work, my boyfriend and I decided to go on a road trip to Hunedoara (Hungarian: Vajdahunyad) and see one of the seven wonders of Romania, Corvin Castle (Hungarian: Vajdahunyadi Vár).

Hunedoara through an archway

Hunedoara through an archway

Out of the mass of red and grey rooftops in Hunedoara, Corvin Castle stands out tall and proud, filling any of its visitors with admiration and awe.

It is one of the most beautiful castles to photograph in Transylvania, a fact proven by many old postcards.

Old Hungarian postcards of Vajdahunyad Castle.

Old Hungarian postcards of Vajdahunyad Vár.

I found and scanned the postcards above quite a few years back, from the collection of my great-grandmother. People used to fill in every inch (front and back!) of a postcard back then, so I was lucky to find a few which weren’t scribbled on.

The view from one of the defense towers

The view down from the West entrance tower

The weather was really nice on the way to Hunedoara and, even though most of it had already melted, on the hilltops one could still see that it had snowed a few days earlier.

Melting snow helped feed into the Zlasti Creek in the castle’s moat, forming a very idyllic-looking waterfall.

The idyllic Zlasti Creek waterfall

The idyllic Zlasti Creek waterfall

The building of Corvin Castle began in the 14th century, over the site of an old Roman fortification, and it was finished in the 19th century. Given the amount of time before it was finished, many years of neglect, and recent restoration work, other influences can be seen alongside the main Renaissance-Gothic style.

Work on the castle along the years

Various centuries of influence

Standing in the middle of the courtyard, it can be clearly seen how the different wings of the castle were added or patched on here and there at different times throughout the castle’s history.

The castle's courtyard from different angles

The castle’s courtyard from different angles

A 30-meter deep well can be found next to the chapel in the external yard. It is said to have been dug by slaves who were promised freedom if they reached water. The time frame fits, but it has yet to be proven with complete accuracy that this is in fact true. In my opinion, they probably figured out that not having a well inside the fortification was a bad idea and decided to dig one – with or without slaves.

The 30-meter deep well

The 30-meter deep well

Inside the castle, one wanders around spacious corridors and narrow staircases. It’s a contrast I don’t quite understand, but it makes for interesting architecture.

The late Renaissance-inspired ceilings attract the eye, and the 15th-century chapel has been restored and can be admired from the terrace above. There are also various archaeological findings, period clothing, furniture, weapons, swords and spears on display.

The chapel and its stained windows, period clothing on display, and the Diet Hall

The chapel and its stained windows, period clothing on display, and the Diet Hall

The Knight’s Hall is enormous and beautiful. A row of octagonal red-marble columns split the hall in two, and the present coats of arms belong to the Anjou and Corvin families.

I was very disappointed that such a beautiful space was not well-lit. I think I counted six small spotlights on the walls for the entire room, and the drapes were only pulled open on one side. With the help of a photo editing program, I had to heavily brighten every photo from the Knight’s Hall before presenting them here.

The Knight's Hall, spacious corridors, and archaeological findings on display

The Knight’s Hall, spacious corridors, and archaeological findings on display

Mostly during warm-weather months, events liven the castle grounds, such as the Transylvanian Folk Craftsmen Fair, or Opera Nights, to name just a few. During our visit, there were mosaics on display made by a local artist.

Many details have been left intact

Many details have been left intact

It is also a place that national and international film studios have used for filming, including Ghost Rider 2 – Spirit of Vengeance, the supernatural superhero movie starring Nicolas Cage which was partially shot in Romania.

Restored rooftops

Restored rooftops

The castle is said to be haunted, as this fictitious Discovery VR short depicts. Over the years there have been live investigations by the paranormal television program Most Haunted Live! The show Ghost Adventures filmed an episode at the castle as part of a Halloween special.

We didn’t see any ghosts when we visited the castle, in case you were wondering.

Corvin Castle seen from different angles

Corvin Castle seen from different angles

Corvin Castle can be visited all year round, and the entrance fee is quite small.

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Estrella in the Greek Amphitheatre ruins, Taormina, Sicily

Estrella Azul is a young emerging writer, passionate about reading, floral art and photography, with an artistic personality and a soulful outlook on life. She is a Hungarian girl living and writing from Cluj-Napoca, Romania, the capital of historical region Transylvania. Estrella is our European correspondent, she currently serves as the photo editor here at Milliver’s Travels, and she dreams of embarking on a round-the-world trip. To read more of her creative writing, her thoughts and daily happenings, visit Life’s a stage – WebBlog©. Read more of her stories on Milliver’s Travels by visiting Estrella’s story index.

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