Romania is a country with a rich medieval heritage, as well as a land of awe-inspiring architecture. Each year, many tourists book a trip to Romania to see the ancient houses along the streets of Sibiu, the picturesque monasteries in Bucovina and of course, the magnificent Romanian castles towering over Transylvania and its neighboring cities.
Indeed, the Romanian castles are attractions worth seeing for anyone planning a trip to Romania. Dating back to as far as the 13th century, these imposing structures used to be the homes of Saxon nobility – a fact attested to by their luxurious interiors and austere defenses. Because of this, some of them have also been considered as World Heritage Sites.
One such castle is the Calnic Castle or Calnic Fortified Church located near Sibiu. Built by Count Chyl de Kelling during the 13th century, this castle has survived many sieges from the Ottoman empire, probably because of its high walls and defensive towers, including the Siegfried Tower. The firing windows of the five-storey Siegfried tower are noticeable even from afar, making it truly a historical landmark.
The most popular among the Romanian castles, though, is the Bran Castle in Brasov, which is also a national monument. Its beautiful turrets and majestic walls make it a must-see for anyone on a trip to Romania, although most of its fame comes from its nickname – Dracula’s Castle – and the mysterious legends that go with it. While the legend may never be proved, the rumor that Vlad Tepes used to live there is enough to lure flocks of tourists every year.
Another popular Romanian castle is the Corvinesti Castle, the former residence of Prince Iancu, one of Romania’s most famous rulers. Located in Hunedoara, it is considered as the country’s greatest, particularly because of its impressive drawbridge, vast halls and more than 50 chambers decorated with medieval art.
The Peles Castle in Sinaia is also one of the most enchanting Romanian castles, as well, as one of the most magnificent castles in all of Europe. It is also the first European castle to be electrically lit. Built in the 18th century, Peles Castle is an outstanding example of Neo-Renaissance architecture and consists of 170 lavishly furnished rooms, although only 35 are open to the public.
Although not technically one of the Romanian castles, the Palace of Culture in Iasi also deserves some attention on your trip to Romania. It is one of the largest buildings in Romania and is home to four different museums: The Museum of Art, The Museum of Science and Technology, The Museum of History and The Museum of Ethnography.
You can also visit the Fagaras Castle, although it has been reduced to a shadow of its former glory, as well as the Valea Viilor Fortress and Mogosoaia Palace. Don’t forget the other minor Romanian castles and fortresses, too. Although smaller and relatively unknown, they can still make your trip to Romania complete and truly memorable.