Romania is known for having many beautiful castles throughout Transylvania and one of its most elegant and stunning is Corvin Castle. Also known as Hunyad Castle or Castelul Corvinilor, Corvin Castle is found in the small city of Hunedoara, west of the country’s centre. What makes Corvin Castle so fascinating is that it genuinely looks like the kind of castle you imagine in fairy tales and fantasy sagas. From every angle, this incredible landmark simply enchants those that venture to visit it.
What follows is a look at this most impressive of castles, from its history to its very towers, walls and courtyards.
The Caste’s History
Originally started by John Hunyadi – a voivode or regional governor of Transylvania – in 1446, the castle’s construction halted after his death in 1456. Built over another fortification on land presented to his father by the King of Hungary, it was designed in a Gothic-Renaissance style. Some years later, work continued and was completed in 1480. In the 17th century, substantial modifications were made to the castle including to the council hall and chapel. What stands today is the result of many waves of restoration undertaken during the 20th century, each with its own approach and aesthetic.
Whether historical fact or not, it is often claimed that Vlad the Impaler was held prisoner here by John Hunyadi for an indeterminate length of time. For those looking to see all the sights relating to this fascinating historical figure, Corvin Castle is a worthy inclusion.
Exploring Corvin Castle
Situated away from the centre of the city, it’s either a bit of a walk or an easy drive to the castle. Once there, visiting Corvin Castle isn’t an overly complicated experience. Depending on which way you approach the castle, either the above photo or this one below will be your first view. To be honest, it is hard to get past that first look you get when approaching the castle.
As you approach the castle, you’ll find yourself on the opposite side of a green moat from it. I found myself walking back and forth across the edge of the moat, trying to capture it from all different angles. The impressive wooden bridge that spans the moat and small river really is quite neat in its own right.
Once across the bridge and paid the entrance fee, you’ll find yourself in the main courtyards. With its very unconventional shape, the main courtyard, is bordered by two two-tiered terraces and an elegant staircase. As with the moat, you can’t help but move about and admire it all from every angle.
The council hall, with its big stone columns and banners hanging.
One of the more fascinating stories of Corvin Castle revolves around an arabic inscription referring to the castle’s well. Dug by three Turkish prisoners, they were promised freedom upon completion by John Hunyadi. However, when he died and the well was completed, John’s wife Elisabeth reneged on the promise and sentenced the prisoners to death.
As a final wish, they asked they be allowed to carve an inscription in stone. Unbeknownst to Elisabeth, the inscription states “You may have water, but you have no soul“, what I think to be a fantastic remark. What the actual inscription seen above says was a bit unclear as the information board also suggested it was a different remark. It’s also possible it reads “The one who dug here is Hassan, prisoner to the giaours in the fortress next to the church“. Either way, the story is an interesting one.
Where to Stay
When planning on visiting Corvin Castle, you have a few options available to you. The first and most obvious is to stay in Hunedoara itself, which has a small variety of accommodation on offer. For my stay I chose the aparthotel Vila HD, which with a kitchen and big supermarket close by, I was able to cook for myself. The downside to staying in Hunedoara is that there really isn’t anything else to see there aside from the castle.
Another alternative is the nearby city of Deva, which has more accommodation options and sights on offer. A small shuttle bus runs every 15 minutes between the Deva and Hunedoara train stations, costing just 6.5 RON. This makes Deva quite viable as an alternative. Further afield is the city of Alba Iulia, but transport will likely become more complicated there.
The entry fee for adults is 30 RON and to take photos is an additional 5 RON, a common occurrence at Romanian tourist attractions. This entrance fee grants visitors unguided access to the castle.
Castle opening hours are 9am – 7.45pm Tuesday – Sunday and 10.30am – 7.45pm Mondays.
The castle surprisingly lacks a website, so your best bet is to Google “Corvin Castle” for any other information.
Have you visited Corvin Castle? What was your experience like? Please share in the comments below.
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