Transylvania has become infamous for homing fiction’s greatest monster, Count Dracula. It’s so tied in with this gothic classic that to place itself almost seems fictional in the minds of its audience and it’s actually a darn shame because Transylvania is filled with beauty and a the rich history of the Romanian people that is not to be missed. The region is located around central Romania and finds its natural boarders as the Carpathian Mountains which provide its glorious scenery. Perhaps the most notable landmarks are its castles and forts that spread across the land, each telling a story that finds its roots in medieval Europe. Perhaps the most visually striking and impressive of these is Corvin Castle.
Possibly one of the largest castles in Europe, Corvin Castle dates back to 1446 when construction first began, before that it was a keep owned by Charles I of Hungary however it was later given to John Hunyadi’s father Voyk be the next king, Sigismund in 1409. By 1446 John Hunyadi was elected as regent-governor of Hungary, it was then he began work on Corvin Castle.
It features a Renaissance-Gothic style of the era; the huge structure features bastions, great towers and a courtyard in the centre. There are numerous windows and balconies which are each adorned with stone carvings. The interior of the building is extensive with many small rooms throughout, the largest however are the Knights Hall, the Dining Hall and the circular stairway. The two halls are decorated with drapes of the period and you’ll learn exactly what they were used for (and who used them) on your visit. The castle rather interestingly features a double wall for extra defence, something that was somewhat innovation for Romanian architecture at the time. It features many defensive positions in its towers but despite its practicality the building remains visually stunning. Much of this is thanks to efforts to restore the building since its creation.
Work was carried out on Corvin Castle until the 16th Century, in fact the work halted because the castle was recognised as being one of the biggest and most impressive in Europe. New improvements were made to the castle in the 17th Century for military purposes. The castle now looks quite different to its original appearance, due to neglect and an unfortunate fire it fell heavily into disrepair, much work was done to restore it though the design was done very much through the gaze of modern architects and how they thought Gothic castles should look. That being said don’t let that put you off, perhaps it is a wistful reimagining but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a marvel. If its design doesn’t take your breath away the size of it will, if you’re visiting Romania this is certainly a jewel in its crown that you mustn’t miss.
Just to top off you experience you won’t regret paying a visit to the Torture Chamber just outside the entrance of the castle. Visiting this gruesome spot (though not for the faint hearted) will tell you all about the cruel and nasty ways in which the medieval people of Transylvania tortured and punished their criminals through a series of waxwork re-enactments. It’s a great way to finish your visit to the castle, though perhaps wait a while before you eat next.