Hunedoara Castle, called Corvin Castle or Huniazilor Castle, is a medieval fortress, one of the most important monuments of Gothic architecture in Romania. It is considered one of the most beautiful castles in the world, listed in the “top 10 fairytale destinations in Europe”.
construction began in 1446 at the orders of Iancu de Huedoara (Hungarian: Hunyadi János). Built in a Renaissance-Gothic style and constructed over the site of an older fortification on a rock above the small Zlaști River, the castle is a large and imposing building with tall towers, bastions, an inner courtyard, colored roofs, and a numerous windows and balconies adorned with stone carvings.
The castle has a double wall for enhanced fortification and is flanked by both rectangular and circular towers, an architectural innovation for the period’s Transylvanian architecture. Some of the towers (the Capistrano Tower, the Deserted Tower and the Drummers’ Tower) were used as prisons. The Buzdugan Tower (a type of mace after which it was named) was solely built for defensive purposes and it had its exterior decorated with geometric motifs. The rectangular shaped towers have large openings to accommodate larger weapons.
The castle has 3 large areas: the Knight’s Hall, the Diet Hall and the circular stairway. The halls are rectangular in shape and are decorated with marble. The Diet Hall was used for ceremonies or formal receptions whilst the Knight’s Hall was used for feasts. In 1456, John Hunyadi died and work on the castle has stagnated. Starting with 1458, new commissions were being undergone to construct the Matia Wing of the castle. In 1480, work was completely stopped on the castle and it was recognised as being one of the biggest and most impressive buildings in Eastern Europe.
In the 17th century new additions were made, for aesthetic and military purposes. Aesthetically, the new Large Palace was built facing the town. A two level building, it hosted living chamber and a large living area. For military purposes, two new towers were constructed: the White Tower and the Artillery Tower. Also, the external yard was added, used for administration and storage.
The current castle is the result of a fanciful and extensive restoration.
There are legends…
- Tourists are told that it was the place where Vlad III of Wallachia (commonly known as Vlad the Impaler) was held prisoner by John Hunyadi, Hungary’s military leader and regent during the King’s minority, for 7 years after Vlad was deposed in 1462. Later, Vlad III entered a political alliance with John Hunyadi, although the latter was responsible for the execution of his father, Vlad II Dracul. Because of these links, the Hunedora Castle is sometimes mentioned as a source of inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Castle Dracula. In fact, Stoker neither knew about Vlad’s alliance with Hunyadi, nor about Hunyadi’s castle. Instead, Stoker’s own handwritten research notes confirm that the novelist imagined the Castle Dracula to be situated on an empty top in the Transylvanian Călimani Mountains near the former border with Moldavia.
- In the castle yard, near the 15th-century chapel, there is a well 30 meters deep. According to the legend, this fountain was dug by twelve Turkish prisoners to whom liberty was promised if they reached water. After 15 years they completed the well, but their captors did not keep their promise. It is said that the inscription on a wall of the well means “you have water, but not soul”. Specialists, however, have translated the inscription as “he who wrote this inscription is Hasan, who lives as slave of the giaours, in the fortress near the church”.
- In February 2007, Corvin Castle played host to the British paranormal television program Most Haunted Live! for a three-night live investigation into the spirits reported to be haunting the castle. Results were inconclusive.
- In 2013, the television show Ghost Adventures filmed an episode at the castle as part of their Halloween special.