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One of the remnants of the medieval Transylvania: The Corvin Castle

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If by chance you are fascinated by the Middle Ages with all its legends and beautiful architecture like me, then this is the story for you. Castles are one of my favorite medieval buildings because of their rich history. One of the remnants of the medieval Transylvania is the Corvin Castle also known as Hunyadi Castle or Hunedoara Castle.

Corvin Castle
Corvin Castle
Strada Matei Corvin, Cluj-Napoca 400000, Roumanie

Short history

The Corvin Castle was built, in a Renaissance-Gothic style, on top of a former stronghold on orders of John Hunyadi (Iancu de Hunedoara) the regent governor of the Kingdom of Hungary. Construction began in 1446 and took almost 40 years to finish. On completion, it was one of the largest castles in Eastern Europe.

Located on top of a rock on the outskirts of the city Hunedoara, the Corvin Castle comprises of a double wall with rectangular and circular bastions, an inner courtyard with a well, diversely colored roofs and myriads of windows and balconies decorated with stone carvings. All the towers have names like The Capistrano Tower with a restored Gothic fireplace, The Deserted Tower, The Drummers’ Tower, The NjeBoisia Tower (“Do not be afraid” in Serbian) or The Mace Tower which is painted in fresco with geometric motives.

The main buildings include a chapel on eastside, the main palace comprised of The Knights’ Hall, The Diet Hall and a circular stairway and last but not least the Matia Wing. In the 17th century new additions were made: The Large Palace, The White Tower, The Artillery Tower and also an external yard for storage and administration. In the 19th century, The Corvin Castle underwent a restoration campaign after a fire and decades of neglect, which gave it the look it has today.

Local Legends

There are two main legends around the Corvin Castle. The Legend of the Raven states that the coat of arms of the Corvin Family, a raven with a gold ring in its beak has its origin in the history of this family. It is said that John Hunyadi was the illegitimate son of Sigismund of Luxemburg, the king of Hungary, with a beautiful woman named Elisabeth. The King married her to spare her the shame but gifted her a golden ring for his son so that when he grows up he can identify him. A raven took the ring and tried to fly away but young John shot it down with his bow and recovered the ring.

The Legend of the Well explains how three Turkish prisoners dug the well. John Hunyadi promised them that if they could dig a well in the yard of the castle they would be set free. The prisoners labored for 15 years and dug 28 m in the rock to find water but in the mean-time, John Hunyadi died and his wife didn’t honor his promise, sentencing the prisoners to death. As a last request, they were granted the permission to write something on the well. The inscription is in Arabic and it said it states: “You have water but no heart” but specialist have translated the writing as: “ he who wrote this is Hasan, who lives as a slave of the giaours, in the fortress near the church”.

The Corvin Castle is a must-see architectural monument and one of the remnants of the medieval Transylvania.

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The author

Eva Poteaca

Eva Poteaca

Hello, I am Eva from Bistrița, Romania. I studied art history and love to travel and discover hidden gems all over the world. Through my writing, I will share with you a different side of Romania.

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