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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe medieval castle of Hunedoara, also known as the Corvin Castle, is one of the most important monuments of Gothic architecture in Romania, and among the top ten fairy tale destinations in Europe.
HistoryThe castle was built in 1446 by John Hunyadi (Iancu de Hunedoara), on the site of an old rampart on a cliff near the Zlaşti River. The former keep was originally given to his father by King Sigismund of Hungary, and Iancu wanted a more imposing transformation when he was elected regent of the kingdom.
Legend of the RavenThe Corvin coat of arms represents a raven with a golden ring in its beak. Legend has it that John Hunyadi was the bastard son of Sigismund of Luxembourg, the King of Hungary, with Elisabeta, a beautiful woman from Țara Hațegului. Not wanting to make her unworthy, the king had her marry one of his champions, Voicu, and gave her a golden ring for his unborn son to recognize him when he will have grown and came to the court. Several years later, during a royal feast at which Voicu's family took part, the ring is forgotten on the edge of a table, and a raven, drawn by the left-overs and the glitter of the ring, steals it in its beak. The young John Hunyadi, seeing the raven, took a bow and shot it, thus recovering the family ring. Years later, when he came to the court and told the story, he was ushered with the new coat of arms representing the raven with the golden ring in its beak. The name ‘Corvin’ originates from the Latin word "corvus", meaning “raven”, which in the Middle Ages used to symbolize wisdom and longevity.
Legend of the WellThe legend of the castle's well tells of three Turkish prisoners held by John Hunyadi in the castle's dungeons, to whom he promised freedom in exchange of their effort of digging a well with good water. For 15 years they have dug and after 28 meters they found water. By this time, John Hunyadi had passed away, and the castle was ruled by his widow, Elisabeta Szilagyi, who didn't keep John's word and had the prisoners killed. As a dying wish, they had the well inscribed with the words "Apă ai, inimă nu" (You have water, but you don't have a heart). In truth, the inscription reads "He who wrote this is Hassan, prisoner of ghiaurs (Turkish slang for Romanians) in the fortress near the church”. According to experts, the characters date since the 15th century.
ArchitectureThe castle is built in Renaissance-Gothic style and it features elements of strong defense. 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 ones have larger openings, for larger weapons. Some towers were built solely for defense, such as the Buzdugan Tower (literally meaning the 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.
Following the death of John Hunyadi, the construction of the castle has stagnated - with the exception of minor modifications - until the 17th century, when esthetic and defensive additions have been made: the White Tower and the Artillery Tower, an external yard, and the Large Palace. After a large fire and several decades of being neglected, the castle has been completely restored to its current state. Since 1480, the castle has been regarded by modern architects as one of the biggest and most important Gothic structures in Western Europe.
VisitingThe castle can be visited every day between 9 AM and 5 PM. Ticket prices are 25 RON ($6.25) ( €6 ($6.44)) for adults, 5 RON ($1.25) ( €1 ($1.15)) for students, 10 RON ($2.50) ( €2 ($2.30)) for seniors. For groups of 30 persons and above, prices are 20 RON ($5.00) ( €5 ($5.75)) for adults, 8 RON ($2.00) ( €2 ($2.30)) for seniors and 4 RON ($1.00) ( €1 ($1.15)) for students. The photography fee is also 5 RON ($1.25) ( €1 ($1.15)).
How to Get ThereTo reach the Corvin Castle, take the DN7 (E15) to Sântuhalm, and from there follow DJ 687 all the way to Hunedoara. Following the boulevards Traian, Republicii, and Libertății will get you to the castle, located in the southwestern end of the town.
What Else to VisitThe closest attraction to Hunedoara is the Scărişoara Cave, located 170 kilometers southwest, so if you have a car, you shouldn't miss it. Another impressive medieval castle, Bran Castle, made popular by Bram Stoker as Count Dracula's castle, is located farther east, 200 kilometers away.
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Author: aelumag. Last updated: May 21, 2015