|Castelul Corvinilor (Romanian)
Vajdahunyadi vár (Hungarian)
|Hunedoara in Romania|
The castle and its moat
Plan of the castle
|Owner||Ministry of Culture
|Daily, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.|
|Built||14th century (royal castra)
1440–46 (first phase)
1458–80 (second phase)
17th century (third phase)
19th century (fourth phase)
Corvin Castle, also known as Hunyadi Castle or Hunedoara Castle (Romanian: Castelul Huniazilor or Castelul Corvinilor), is a Gothic-Renaissance castle in Hunedoara, in Romania. It is one of the largest castles in Europe and figures in a top of seven wonders of Romania.
Corvin Castle was laid out in 1446, when construction began at the orders of John Hunyadi (Hungarian: Hunyadi János, Romanian: Iancu or Ioan de Hunedoara) who wanted to transform the former keep built by Charles I of Hungary. The castle was originally given to John Hunyadi's father, Voyk (Vajk), by Sigismund, king of Hungary, as severance in 1409. It was also in 1446 when John Hunyadi was elected as the regent-governor of the Kingdom of Hungary by the Diet.
The castle is built in Renaissance-Gothic style and it features tall and strong defense towers. Beside the towers, bastions, the inner courtyard, and the drawbridge, the wall is actually double and flanked by round or rectangular towers, an innovative feature for Transylvanian architecture. The rectangular towers have larger openings, for larger weapons. Some towers were built solely for defense, such as the Buzdugan Tower (Mace tower), while others, like the Drummers' Tower, the Deserted Tower, and the Capistrano Tower were used as prison cells. The castle is divided into three main areas: the Diet Hall, the Knights' Hall, and the circular stairway. The halls are rectangular and paved with marble, and were used for feasts and ceremonies. Built over the site of an older fortification and on a rock above the small Zlaști River, the castle is a large and imposing building with tall and diversely coloured roofs, towers and myriad windows and balconies adorned with stone carvings.
The first step was building a double wall for fortification purposes. The walls were flanked by rectangular or circular towers, an architectural innovation to the period's Transylvanian architecture. Some of the towers (the Capistrano Tower, the Deserted Tower and the Drummers' Tower) were used as a prison. The Buzdugan Tower (name after a type of weapon) was solely built for defence purposes and it had its exterior decorated with geometric motifs. The rectangular shaped towers had large openings to accommodate larger weapons. The castle has 3 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 has 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 Western 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, it hosted living chamber 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 "Not afraid" in Serbian language), which remained unchanged from John Hunyadi's time, and the Capistrano Tower (named after the saint, Franciscan monk 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.
Tourists are told that it was the place where Vlad III of Wallachia (commonly known as Vlad the Impaler) was held prisoner by John Hunyadi, Hungary's military leader and regent during the King's minority, for 7 years after Vlad was deposed in 1462. 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 Hunedora Castle is sometimes mentioned as a source of inspiration for Bram Stoker's Castle Dracula. In fact, Stoker neither knew about Vlad's alliance with Hunyadi, nor about Hunyadi's castle. Instead, Stoker's own handwritten research notes confirm that the novelist imagined the Castle Dracula to be situated on an empty top in the Transylvanian Călimani Mountains near the former border with Moldavia.
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 twelve 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". Specialists, however, have translated the inscription as "he who wrote this inscription is Hasan, who lives as slave of the giaours, in the fortress near the church".
In February 2007, Corvin Castle played host to the British paranormal television program Most Haunted Live! for a three-night live investigation into the spirits reported to be haunting the castle. Results were inconclusive.
- Peter F. Sugar, Péter Hanák, Tibor Frank: A History of Hungary, Indiana University Press, 1994 
- Quoted from: Bronwen Riley, Dan Dinescu. Transylvania. ISBN 978-0-7112-2781-1. Page 81.
- See Hans Corneel de Roos, The Ultimate Dracula, Moonlake Editions, Munich, 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Castle of Hunedoara.|
- Information and images at Historical Text Archive
- Information and images about Corvin Castle at Castelul Corvinilor