Bonțida Bánffy Castle

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Bonţida Bánffy Castle
Castelul Banffy de la Bonţida
Banffy Castle in Bontida, drawing from 19 century.jpg
Bánffy Castle in Bonţida (drawing from the 19th century)
General information
Architectural style Baroque
Town or city Bonţida
Country  Romania
Construction started 1437
Completed 1543
Client Katalin Bánffy
Design and construction
Architect Agostino Serena
Joseph Emmanuel Fischer von Erlach
Johann Christian Erras
Anton Kagerbauer

Bánffy Castle (Romanian: Castelul Bánffy, Hungarian: Bánffy-kastély) is an architectonic Baroque monument situated in Bonţida, a village in the vicinity of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. It was owned by the Bánffy family, the last descendant of the family being Katalin Bánffy, daughter of Miklós Bánffy, who now lives in Morocco. The Countess and the Transylvania Trust signed a Concession Agreement for 49 years, according to which the Transylvania Trust will be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the castle and will develop it as a Built Heritage Conservation Training Centre and Cultural Centre.[1] The castle is often dubbed the Transylvanian Versailles.[2]


The castle is located within Bonțida, a village at 30 km from Cluj-Napoca, in northwestern Transylvanian Plateau, mostly on the right side of Someșul Mic River.


The plan of Bánffy Castle

Bánffy Castle is documentarily attested from the beginning of the fourteenth century. In 1387, buildings and surrounding land came into possession of the Bánffy family by a donation from King Sigismund of Luxemburg.[3] According to a military report from 1680, fortifications had been built around the mansion, consisting of squared Renaissance ramparts with cylindrical corner towers. Between 1740 and 1750, at the order of Dénes Bánffy, the castle suffered modifications, being rebuilt in Baroque style and adding to it the gallery of statues,[4] mandatory for an aristocratic residence at that time. Among new buildings were numbered the manege, the stables, the shed and the servants dwellings.

Joseph Bánffy, Dénes' descendant, decided to demolish the tower of the gate in 1820, uniting the Renaissance courtyard with the Baroque one, and from the resulting stone was built a water mill made available to Bonțida villagers. Simultaneously, he decided the transformation of Baroque park in a romantic one, specifically English. One of the main attractions of the residence was the equine school inside one of the buildings.

In 1944, the castle was military hospital, and at the end of the Second World War, Nazi soldiers, who were retreating, have burned down the castle, destroying furniture, library and gallery of paintings. During the communist regime, whole building was used as a driving school, agricultural production cooperative and hospital for children. In 1963, Bánffy Castle was used as a backdrop for filming the Forest of the Hanged, directed by Liviu Ciulei. In the film appears a scene of a few minutes with a devastating fire. The scene was reproduced in a real manner, scenographers burning one of the buildings.

Current situation[edit]

In 1990, it was declared a historical monument, and in 1999 have begun the works restoration and rehabilitation, supported by several Romanian and foreign institutions and organizations, under the patronage of Prince Charles of Wales, who visited the castle several times. The Castle of Bonțida is now being restored as a cultural center, the restoration being unfolded by Transylvania Trust, with funds from the European Union, Romanian Ministry of Culture, Getty Grant Programme, World Monuments Fund, NKA (Hungary) and other organizations. An apartment is being prepared for the use of the Count's family. The Built Heritage Conservation Training Centre, opened on 26 August 2005, received the main prize for education and awareness raising by the European Union/Europa Nostra in 2008.

In 2007, Princess Margareta of Romania assumed the role of spiritual patron of the Heritage Conservation Centre built in Bonțida. Nowadays, the castle is host for Electric Castle Festival, the largest music festival in Romania.[5]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Restoration of Bánffy Castle, Bonțida". Transylvania Trust. 14 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Bánffy de la Bonțida. Versailles-ul Transilvaniei, lângă Cluj". Wonderful Romania (in Romanian). 7 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "Castelele Bánffy din Răscruci și Bonțida". Clujul – peisaj cultural (in Romanian). 
  4. ^ "Explore Transylvania through electronic music: Bánffy Castle". Business Review. 16 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "Info". Electric Castle Festival. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 46°54′36″N 23°48′36″E / 46.91000°N 23.81000°E / 46.91000; 23.81000