You have got to love Romania for a large variety of reasons. One of them would be, besides nature or food, the medieval castles. You can find them in different parts of Romania but the best-preserved ones are in Transylvania.
Corvin Castle, also known as Hunedoara Castle or Hunyadi Castle is a gothic masterpiece and definitely a legendary place.
Included on the list of Best European Castles, Corvin Castle is a must-visit, a must-photograph, and a must-read about the place. We are ready to take you on a journey on legends, myths, and more mundane subjects as well. The question is…are you?
Interesting Legends and Facts About Corvin Castle
Where do legends stop, and where do facts begin? Like most places of Romania, Corvin Castle is surrounded by (at least) a bit of a mystery. But let’s take in slow and start with the beginning.
1. Who built Corvin Castle?
While some historians argue that Hunyadi Castle was built in the 14th century, others (and the majority) claim it was built in the 15th century.
Regardless of who is right or wrong, one thing is for sure: the Corvin Castle as we know it today has gained the shape and greatness starting with 1440, when Iancu de Hunedoara, former voivode of Transylvania, and head of a number of southern counties, decided to transform the citadel into a castle.
The style and particularities chosen were a novelty in the military architecture of 15th century Transylvania. The final picture and the one we can bear witness to today was a continuous work that lasted four centuries.
2. Architecture and Interior of Corvin Castle
As we have previously mentioned, Hunyadi Castle has gone through a series of changes throughout the years. The layout is pretty complex and quite unique.
West Side Towers
West Gates Tower has a rectangular plan and three levels of defense. Walls are 2,50 m thick, and 22 m high. Capistano Tower has two levels of defense, with built-in shooting holes. The interior stands out with the gothic-style chimney.
Loggia Mattia is a trademark for Corvin Castle. It is a fresco painting at level 1 of the northern wing (Mattia Wing). It dates from the second half of the 15th century and it’s the only painting of this kind in the entire area of Transylvania.
The fresco paints the picture of how the Hunyadi Family got their blazon. It is composed of 4 scenes, and it covers the window wall of the loggia, the ceiling, and between the three semi-circular openings.
East Side Towers
East Gates Towers was also built in a rectangular shape, with two levels of defense. The tower used to have a mobile bridge, controlled with ropes.
The Painted Tower is one of the most interesting pieces in Hunedoara Castle, because of the painting present on the exterior walls dating since the 19th century.
The Grand Palace and the Chapel
The Grand Palace is located on the west side of Corvin Castle and consists of two impressive halls. One is called The Hall of the Knights and is split by octagonal columns crafted from red marble.
An inscription dating from 1442 written in Latin, with gothic characters is the main attraction: Hic opus fe(cit) fie(ri)•mag(nificu)s Joh(a)nes•de•Hunyad•reg(ni) •hu(n)g(ar)i(e) •gub(e)r(n)a(t)or•a(nn)o•d(omini) •m(illesim)o•MCCCCLII•.
The second hall is called The Diet Hall. The access is quite challenging since you have to climb a spiral-shaped ladder, where the blazon of the noble Hunyad Family can be seen.
3. Facts and Legends about Corvin Castle
As you might have guessed, there are lots of legends about Corvin Castle. What’s real, and what’s not, we leave that for you to decide. Truth be told, it is kind of nice to let yourself float into worlds of legends.
Let us have a look at the most famous legends about the castle:
The Legend of the Raven
Now, we haven’t mentioned this before, but the blazon of the Hunyadi Family is a raven holding a golden ring in its beak. Legend has it that John of Hunedoara was the illegitimate son of Sigismund of Luxembourg, King of Hungary, and of Elisabeth, a non-royal woman from Hateg County.
In order for her honor to remain intact, the King decided to marry her with one of his men called Voicu and gave the unborn child a ring so he would be recognized at the court later.
During a voyage, the woman lost the ring, and it was found and taken by a raven. John of Hunedoara is said to have followed and killed the raven in order to get his ring back.
Years later, after the child is grown and reached the royal court and told the story, the King decided to carve the blazon.
The Legend of the Fountain
Inside Hunyadi Castle’s yard, there lies a deep fountain. According to the legend, three Turkish prisoners were forced to dig in search of water, in exchange for their freedom. 15 years later, they did.
Only John of Hunedoara refused to keep his promise and had them killed instead. There is an inscription said to have been written by the prisoners saying: “You now have water, but you have no soul”.
The Legend of Dracula in Corvin Castle
According to legends, Vlad Tepes (the character that inspired the story of Dracula in Bram Stoker’s novel), was imprisoned at Corvin Castle for 7 years, by John of Hunedoara.
Knowing that a vampire was so close to their homes, the villagers used to stick a wooden knife in their doors at night.
Movies shot at Corvin Castle
Exceptionally preserved, Hunedoara Castle is a favorite of movie directors. There has been a significant number of movies shot in and around the castle and we are pretty sure you might have seen at least a few.
Top of the list is Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, starring Nicholas Cage. The list is continued by other top-notch productions, such as François Villon, Cursed Kings, Blood Rayne, Martin Luther’s Biography, or Henry the VIII.
Corvin Castle Opening Hours and Ticket Prices
According to the official website, visiting Corvin Castle requires every visitor to be cautious and take into consideration the following: stair architecture could be dangerous for children, the elderly, and people suffering from mobility problems.
Also, visitors must pay special attention to avoid crowding on balconies and terraces because of the height.
- Monday from 12-18
- Tuesday to Sunday from 09-18
- 35 RON for adults, 7 RON for students and pupils (must present proof), 17 RON for elderly
- Group entrance fee (minimum 20 people): 27 RON for adults, 5 RON for students and pupils, 12 RON for elderly
- Free entry: for impaired children/adult and the person accompanying them, pre-school pupils
- 5 RON
- 15 RON
- 35 RON for Romanian, 65 RON for English/French/Hungarian
Hunyadi Castle in Images
We all know how a picture is worth 1000 words. Brace yourself, and enjoy a few splendid photos of Hunyadi Castle. You will surely start preparing for your next holiday.
How do you get to Corvin Castle?
Corvin Castle is located in the South-west part of Transylvania, and in the center of Hunedoara county. The location is extra special since it’s at the base of the Poiana Rusca mountains. Here is how you can get there:
1. Nearest airports: Cluj, Sibiu, Timisoara
Even if there is no airport in Hunedoara, there are a few nearby airports to count on. And considering these airports are located in beautiful cities in Transylvania, even better.
From Cluj to Corvin Castle:
- Distance: 178 km
- Routes: A1, DN75
- Means of transport: rent-a-car, bus, or train. Find options here.
From Sibiu to Corvin Castle:
- Distance: 130 km
- Routes: A1
- Means of transport: rent-a-car, bus, or train. Find options here.
From Timisoara to Corvin Castle:
- Distance: 167 km
- Routes: A1
- Means of transport: rent-a-car, bus, train. Find options here.
2. Tours to Corvin Castle
Now, we do understand that sometimes you just don’t feel like having to take a bus to a destination. It can be a challenge, or maybe you just prefer landing somewhere and not have to move around.
For those of you who want to visit Hunedoara Castle nonetheless, there are great tours awaiting.
Day trip from Cluj Napoca, 420 km
We leave Cluj-Napoca to Alba-Iulia Carolina, where we will enjoy a walking tour of the citadel. We leave Alba-Iulia and head to Corvin Castle, where have a few good hours to enjoy its beauty. After the visit is over, we head back to Cluj-Napoca.
Magic Transylvania from Bucharest: 4 Days trip
We leave Bucharest for Sinaia, where we will visit Peles Castle. After, we move forward to the beautiful city of Brasov, and later on to Sighisoara.
On our second day, we continue to Turda and visit the Turda Salt Mine– the largest of its kind, later in the day we will get to Alba Iulia and enjoy the beautiful citadel.
On day 3 we are headed to Hunedoara for visiting Corvin Castle, after the visit we are heading to Sibiu where we will spend the night. Our fourth day will lead us to Cozia Monastery and back to Bucharest.
You can book your tour here.
Destinations you can visit nearby
Hunyadi Castle is one of the most important attractions in Transylvania. It is equally impressive for Romanians as it is for the foreigners visiting. If you have a few extra days on your hands, you can truly enjoy the best of Transylvania.
Here are some of our ideas:
Timisoara buildings have splendid art-nouveau architecture. Piata Unirii, in the city center, is so colorful and vivid, you will pray for sunshine so you get hours laying in the sun.
If you are an architecture geek, you should definitely head towards Piata Traian. Charge your phone because you will get tired of how many awesome shots you can get.
Timisoara was the first city in Europe (and the second in the world) to use electric street lamps on November 12th, 1884. Timisoara was also the place where the Romanian Revolution of 1989 began.
Oradea has been written in history books ever since the 11th century. Right at the border with Hungary in the very west of Transylvania, Oradea has known an incredible growth over the last decade.
The historical buildings in Oradea were rebuilt in neo-baroque style by Franz Anton Hillebrandt. Besides outstanding architecture, Oradea is a very culturally diverse city.
Since it belonged to so many (amongst which the Ottoman Empire, Kingdom of Hungary, or Habsburg Monarchy), Oradea has a beautiful blend of Romanians, Hungarians, Jews, Slovaks, Germans, Italians, Gypsies, and other nationalities.
Maramures Region is located in the north of Transylvania. In most parts, Maramures is the place where you want to go when you are curious about traditions.
The people who lives in Maramures are known to be very fond and proud of their origins and traditions. Even young generations abide and follow them.
Maramures is a magical, truly unique place in Romania, really hard to describe in words. All about the simple, self-sustainable, and all-rewarding way of life, which is so specific for Romanian villages and local communities.
Now you would better brace, because we have taken the best, put it all together and prepared an astonishing tour that included all of the above. And something extra.
You can read more about this wonderful destination of Romania here.
2 Days trip
Our starting point is Cluj-Napoca, the heart of Transylvania. We are then traveling to Oradea and Timisoara. Later, we proceed to Corvin Castle. After we are finished, we return back to Cluj-Napoca.
If your coming destination is Bucharest, we have another option for you to explore Maramures and other great destinations of Romania. Book your tour here.
How many castles are in Transylvania?
If we were to give a short answer, it would be many. And it is the truth. There are so many, beautiful, jaw-dropping castles, it would take weeks to visit them all. Of course, not all of them have been kept in good condition. The reality is, even if they are in ruins out of some of the castles, they are an amazing statement. We have chosen the ones that are emblematic for Transylvania Region:
1. Corvin Castle
The star of this article. With a rich, intense, and somewhat creepy history (actually this applies to pretty much all of them), it can blow your mind.
Imposing by grandiosity, and quiet by the tears of those who fought to save it. Legendary by the stories and prisoners, Corvin Castle must make to your list.
2. Bran (Dracula’s) Castle
Bran Castle is, behind any shadow of a doubt, the most famous castle of Romania. It was an inspiration for the creation of vampire stories. By the way, Bran Stoker, the creator of the novel Dracula has never visited Bran Castle.
The Castle was built under the strict supervision of Queen Mary, and the once structure truly became a castle on Her Majesty’s birthday. Learn more about Bran Castle here.
3. Peles Castle
It has been long called one of the most impressive and beautiful castles in all of Europe. And for a lot of good reasons. It was built under the command of King Carol I, and it has served as a summer royal residence for years.
It was the first castle in Europe to have a central heating system, and electricity. Peles castle has impressive architecture and interior design. It has no less than 163 rooms. Find out more interesting facts about Peles Castle here.
4. Banffy Castle
You may have heard about this castle if you are a music fan. An electronic music fan, to be more precise. Now home to Electric Castle Festival, Banffy Castle has a rich history.
A beautiful architecture built in baroque and renaissance style. It served as an aristocratic residence of the Banffy family. The castle was nearly completely destroyed by the end of WW2. The castle stood in ruin for half of the century. Its rehabilitation started in 1999.
5. Cantacuzino Castle
Not too far away from Peles Castle, Cantacuzino Castle is a definite go-to. With a beautiful restaurant terrace facing Busteni, and in the heart of the mountain.
One of the richest people of Romania in the 2oth century, Prince George Grigore Cantacuzino finished building the castle in 1911. It was built in Neo-Romanian style, by architect Grigore Cherchez. The park around is decorated with fountains and a grotto hidden by a waterfall.
6. Rasnov Fortress
Rasnov Fortress is located in the immediate vicinity of Brasov. It was built as a defense system for Transylvanian villages against invaders. It is believed to have been built between 1221-1225, under the rule of Teutonic Knights- but there is no evidence about that.
The architecture is simple and similar to the houses of the time. Inside you can find the ruins of over 30 houses, a church, and a school. Learn more here.
If you are interested in top things to do and see in Transylvania read more about it in this article.
So, what do you think? Have we managed to convince you to visit Corvin Castle, and the wonders that surround it?
We are here to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to let us know if there is any additional information you might need. Contact us and we will answer as soon as we can.