Corvin Castle - Transylvania's Gate to history and fairytale

Corvin Castle or Hunyad Castle is a famous castle, situated in Hunedoara county, Huneodara city. This Romanian fairytale castle would make Dracula jealous. This is a well-known fortress, which has a lot of history behind and interesting legends. It was mentioned before Dracula. Do you know which is the connection between the castle and the Count? Have we aroused your interest about this wonderful construction? If your answer is yes, then stay with us to find its beautiful story. 

Corvin Castle is a Gothic-Renaissance castle in Hunedoara, Romania. It is one of the largest castles in Europe. It figures in lists of the Seven Wonders of Romania and it reached top 10 "fairytale" castles in Europe. This is situated in the heart of Transylvania and it looks like it sits on top of a rocky bluff with nothing underneath, only a bridge which was seen as being the only way to have access inside of the fortress. Anyone said History hour? Quick, let's find out historical facts.  

Corvin Castle was laid out in 1446, when construction began on the orders of Voivode of Transylvania Iancu de Hunedoara. Built in a Renaissance-Gothic style and constructed over the site of an older fortification on a rock above the smaller Zlaști River, the castle is a large and imposing structure with tall towers, bastions, an inner courtyard, diversely coloured roofs, and myriad windows and balconies adorned with stone carvings. The castle also features 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 three 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 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.

The 16th century did not bring any improvements to the castle, but during 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, hosting  chambers 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 restoration campaign undertaken after a disastrous fire and many decades of total neglect. It has been noted that modern "architects projected to it their own wistful interpretations of how a great Gothic castle should look.

As one of the most important properties of John Hunyadi, the castle was transformed during his reign. It became a sumptuous home, not only a strategically enforced point. With the passing of the years, the masters of the castle had modified its look, adding towers, halls and guest rooms. The gallery and the keep - the last defense tower (called "Neboisa" which means "Don't be afraid" in Serbo-Croatian language), which remained unchanged from John Hunyadi's time, and the Capistrano Tower (named after the saint, Franciscan friar from the Battle of Belgrade in 1456) are some of the most significant parts of the construction. Other significant parts of the building are the Knights' Hall (a great reception hall), the Club Tower, the White bastion, which served as a food storage room, and the Diet Hall, on whose walls medallions are painted (among them there are the portraits of Matei Basarab, ruler from Wallachia, and Vasile Lupu, ruler of Moldavia). In the wing of the castle called the Mantle, a painting can be seen which portrays the legend of the raven from which the name of the descendants of John Hunyadi, Corvinus came.

There are some interesting legends around this wonderful castle. The coat of arms of the Corvin family is a raven with a golden ring in its beak, and this family symbol has a legend. It is said that John Hunyadi was the illegitimate son of King Sigismund of Luxemburg and Hungary, and his mother was Elisabeta, a very beautiful woman from the Hateg region. In order not to dishonor her, the king married Elisabeta to one of his knights, Voicu. Sigismund also gave her a ring, as a gift for the unborn child, which will help him be recognized when he will go to the royal court.The legend says that during a trip, the family halted for lunch, but when they were not paying attention, a raven stole the ring, attracted by its shine. That's when John Hunyadi took a bow and shot the raven in order to get the ring back. When he heard the tale, the King was deeply impressed, so he decided that the family's symbol will be a raven with a golden ring in its beak. Moreover, the name of the Corvin family comes from the Latin word "Corvus", which means "Raven".

Tourists are told that it was the place where Vlad the Impaler, Prince of Wallachia, was held prisoner by John Hunyadi, Hungary's military leader and regent during the King's minority. 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 Hunedoara Castle is sometimes mentioned as a source of inspiration for Castle Dracula in Bram Stoker's 1897 horror novel Dracula. In fact, Stoker neither knew about Vlad's alliance with Hunyadi, nor about Hunyadi's castle. 

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 3 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". 

Well, today's story about the magnificent Corvin Castle came to an end. What are the conclusions about it?  This is one of the most appreciated castles from Romania with a lot of history and is notable in Europe. Corvin Castle's doors are widely open for all the tourists from the entire Planet. Everyone would be amazed by its history and legends. COME AND VISIT THIS FAIRYTALE CASTLE!

 English version by Norana Adina

Ținutul Pădurenilor - România