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Hunedoara Castle (Hunyad Castle)

Hunedoara Castle (also known as Hunyad Castle, Huniazilor Castle, Corvinestilor Castle) is a Gothic-Renaissance castle overlooking the town of Hunedoara in south-west Transylvania, Romania.

Hunyad Castle History

The earliest documentary evidence of the comitat of Hunyad Castle is from 1276, and its earliest known administrator is mentioned in 1295; the first castle also dates from the second half of the 13th century, but little remains of this period, although its original plan was established by István Möller, who restored the castle in the early 20th century. As usual in Hungary at that period, it ran along the edge of a long cliff.

In 1409 King Sigismund of Luxembourg gave the castle to Vajk, the leader  of the Romanian settlement, and his son John. The present building was commissioned by John Hunyadi, imperial regent of Hungary, who built it in two stages. With its magnificent shape and careful detailing, this building gives an idea of the lost splendour of the castle of Buda, the royal capital.

In the 1430s an outer ring with towers was built parallel to the old wall, preserving the basic form of the original plan. A rock-cut moat surrounds the inner castle, which was built in the second phase (1440s–1450s).

On the west side of the massive courtyard the two-storey Knights’ Hall wing was built. Each storey has two aisles, with rib vaults supported by a single row of octagonal piers. The Gothic inscription on a capital in the lower hall gives the name of the patron and the year 1452.

The upper hall is reached by a spiral stair. Its entrance has a pointed arch with a surround decorated with pinnacles and a tympanum containing the finely carved arms of the Hunyadi family (a raven with a ring in its beak).

Opening on to the hall to the west is a vaulted passage with four polygonal bay windows, which give the west façade a particularly rich appearance. The fine castle chapel in the east range has a vault boss also decorated with the Hunyadi arms. The parapet of its west gallery has the arms of John Hunyadi’s wife’s family, the Szilágyi.

Connected to the south end of the castle is an enclosed passage supported by massive piers, which leads to the place of ultimate refuge, called the Nebojsa (Hungarian: ‘Have no fear’).

The north range, the Golden House, was extended in the third quarter of the 15th century by King Matthias Corvinus, son of John Hunyadi. His brick building is easily distinguishable from the earlier stone buildings.

A two-storey arcade opens on to the courtyard, its upper storey ornamented with a narrative wall painting, probably representing the legendary genealogy of John Hunyadi.

In the 17th century the castle passed into the possession of the Transylvanian princes and, especially under Gabriel Bethlen (1613–1629), was embellished with new extensions and various alterations.

The upper storey of the Knights’ Hall was divided into three rooms by removing the vaulting and piers, and beneath the new flat roof were painted pictures of famous men. Prince Bethlen also divided the chapel with a vault.

Later the Hunedoara Castle gradually fell into partial ruin; after a serious fire in 1854 restoration work continued until 1914. The restorations undertaken in the 1960s included the return of the chapel and the upper Knights’ Hall to their original state.


Hunyad Castle Map&Location

Hunedoara Castle Address: Strada Curtea Corvineștilor 1-3, Hunedoara 331141, Romania. Get help with directions using the map provided bellow.

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Hunedoara Castle Photos

Click on the images to enlarge
Hunedoara Castle grounds © Vlad
Hunedoara Castle courtyard © Schoko Chantallle
Hunedoara Castle stairs © Brandon Atkinson
Hunedoara Castle towers © Alex Bikfalvi
Hunedoara Castle towers © Jerzy Kociatkiewicz
Hunedoara Castle Interior - Photos © CameliaTWU