In the southwest Transylvania, one representative castle of the Middle Age stands. The Hunedoara Fortress, which became the Corvin Castle, is one of the most attractive places to visit today in Transylvania. It was recognised as being one of the biggest and most impressive buildings in Eastern Europe.
After years of longing to visit this breathtaking place, there I was, rushing through it. Because I’ve got there only 1h before closing time. But managing time is one of my assets when travelling, unlike my other time, when I have no clue when it flies. Oops.
Hunedoara Castle, Corvin Castle or Hunyad castle?
Like many other parts of Transylvania, the Hunyad Castle is an inheritance from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and, in general, Transylvania, is an intermingling of Romanian culture and the inhabitants of the area, who are Hungarians, Germans and Szeklers (or in Romanian “Secui”, who are Hungarian speaking population, who live in what we call the Transylvania area).
For me, even the name is hard to get. It’s this magical place, in my own country, but still, it feels foreign. Here’s why Hunyad Castle feels foreign to Romanians.
Corvin Castle is a Gothic-Renaissance castle in Hunedoara, Romania, being one of the largest castles in Europe.
Corvin Castle is also known as Hunyad or Hunyadi Castle or Hunedoara Castle (in Romanian: Castelul Huniazilor or Castelul Corvinilor; in Hungarian: Vajdahunyadi vár).
Hunedoara Castle or Hunedoara Citadel was the castle of one of the best king of medieval Hungary, Matia Corvin.
What makes this castle so special, are the diverse architectural styles, the innovations it presents, both civil and military, and of course, the 400 years eventful lifestyle which it witnessed.
The Corvin Castle is impressive in its size and it is a huge landmark for the city of Hunedoara. For those into the medieval lifestyle, this is a must-see place, as it is the only one of its kind in Romania, and it’s probably one of the most interesting from this part of Europe.
The history behind Corvin Castle or Hunyad Castle
Why am I confused by the name of Corvin Castle? Because Corvin castle was owned in turns by different rulers, hence the name.
The list of Owners of the Corvin Castle
John Hunyadi (1419–56)
Matthias Corvinus (1457–82)
Gabriel Bethlen (1605, 1613–29)
The first stage of the construction of the Corvin Castle was finished in 1446, ordered by John Hunyadi (Hungarian: Hunyadi János, Romanian: Iancu or Ioan de Hunedoara). Later on, there were some modifications and additions made to the castle, which were finished in 1480. During these years, the North part of the castle was built, also called the Matia wing, composed of loggias, and the secular paintings found here are one of a kind.
In the 17th century, the outer yard (the hussars ‘yard) was built, a space that housed the administrators’ homes, the clerks, the greyhounds, food and hay.
That was the same year he was elected as the regent-governor of the Kingdom of Hungary. Yes, Transylvania was part of the Hungarian Kingdom. Cultural influences are very visible to this day.
The Corvin Castle is a large and imposing structure with tall towers, bastions, an inner courtyard and balconies adorned with stone carvings. The well from the castle represents an important point of interest.
The castle also features a double wall for enhanced fortification and has both rectangular and circular towers. I found it really impressive and better than any picture I could ever paint in my mind about medieval castles.
In the 19th century, the most important restoration works in the castle were made, in parallel with the construction of the large facade from the city and the current roofs, covered with glazed tiles, much higher than the original ones. The Artillery Terraces are complemented by a row of crenellations and a watchtower to increase the attractiveness of the monument. At the same time, a series of decorative stone elements are removed and replaced with new pieces, according to the rules specific to this historical period.
The castle has some memorable areas:
- the Knight’s Hall – used for feasts
- the Diet Hall – used for ceremonies or formal receptions.
- the circular stairway
- multiple towers – the Capistrano Tower, the Club Tower, the Deserted Tower and the Drummers’ Tower, The Buzdugan Tower
Some of the towers (the Capistrano Tower, the Deserted Tower and the Drummers’ Tower) were used as prisons.
The Buzdugan Tower was solely built for defensive purposes and it has its exterior decorated with geometric motifs.
When John Hunyadi died in 1456, the Hunyad castle’s construction stopped. Only in the 17th-century new addition were made. The castle we see today is a restoration of what modern architects thought a Gothic castle looks like.
Corvin Castle was featured in video games, movies and tv shows. Apparently Age of Empires II HD The Forgotten features it as the wonder of the Magyar civilization.
Here are some pictures of Corvin Castle interior:
How to get to Corvin Castle
The Corvin Castle is right in the city of Hunedoara, about 1,5 km from the train station. There is also a bus station, connecting the city to Deva, Timişoara and Bucharest. Trains connections are to Braşov, Sibiu or Arad.
Yeah, you have to visit Corvin Castle!!! Amazing place, it seems like a movie set, except it’s not. Real people lived there and those torture objects are real. Hunyad castle has to be on your list if you are set to visit the castles in Romania.
Please check the opening hours and get there early, to have enough time to explore it all, it’s quite big and I suggest spending there around 3 hours.
The view of the castle it’s something you’ll want to take a picture of. Wait long enough, and you will see the castle lighted after sunset.
It’s like stepping into a tale of princes and princesses, where there are many towers and secret doors to be discovered. Yes, you can rent an audio guide, but I like it more when I can do my own exploration.
There is one thing I wish to you once you get there: ENJOY!