Withstanding the harsh passing of time and the fierce attacks of it’s enemies, this Gothic Renaissance structure, has been doing it’s duty as Transylvania’s protector since the XV century. The construction of the castle was commissioned by John Hunyadi (Iancu de Hunedoara in Romanian) when he was elected as the regent-governor of the Kingdom of Hungary. ‘You cannot be a great ruler without a proper castle’ and this was exactly what the Hunedoara area, belonging to the principality of Transylvania, was missing.
The castle is a large and imposing dwelling with tall towers, bastions, an inner courtyard with a deep fountain, multi-coloured roofs, and a myriad windows and balconies adorned with stone embroideries. The castle also features a double wall for enhanced fortification and is flanked by both rectangular and circular towers, an architectural innovation for the period’s Transylvanian architecture. Some of the towers (the Capistrano Tower, the Deserted Tower and the Drummers’ Tower) were used as prisons. The ‘Buzdugan’ Tower (Mace Tower) was solely built for defensive purposes and it had its exterior decorated with geometric motifs. The rectangular shaped towers have 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 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, his son Mathias Corvinas became the new king of Hungary and of course rolling prince of Transylvania. 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 Eastern 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.
Legends of the Castle
The Raven and the Ring – how it became the family crest
Legend says that John Hunyadi was the bastard child of King Sigismund de Luxembourg with a beautiful Transylvanian commoner names Elizabeth. As the king loved her dearly and did not want to shame her or her family, he decided to marry her with one of his knights Voicu. The king gave Elizabeth a ring and asked for his son to wear it when he would be older. Years passed and 14 year old John received his ring, one day when he was washing his face in the river he took the ring of and put it next to him. A raven attracted by the shine of the stones, stole the ring from the grass. John quickly lifted his bow and arrow shutting the raven down and getting his beloved ring back.
When the king heard of this great story he decided that their family crest would be the Raven with a ring in his beak.
The fountain that can be found in the castle’s courtyard was dug by three turkish prisoners that John captured during a battle. They were promised freedom if they would dig a well so that the castle would have drinking water. The prisoners animated by the promise of freedom worked day and night for 15 years, digging in the hard rock to obtain water. The well was completed after John’s death and his wife decided not to honor the promise made to the three prisoners. They were so upset they carved on the inside shaft of the well: ‘Water you have but you don’t have a heart’.
Fun fact! One of the coolest places in the castle is the dungeon or torture chamber, where they have these very realistic prisoners. Be careful not to miss it as it is divided in two parts, when you enter the courtyard immediately to the left and to the right.
Prejmer Fortress – Practical Information:
VISITING HOURS: 01.10.2016-31.03.2017
Mondays: 12:00 – 17:00*
Tue – Sun: 09:00 -17:00*
*Last entrance is 45 minutes before closing time (16:15)
Winter Holidays Schedule 2016
30 Nov 2016 – 09:00-17:00*
01 Dec 2016 – 09:00-17:00*
24 Dec 2016 – 10:00-14:00*
25 Dec 2016 – Closed
26 Dec 2016 – 10:00-17:00*
31 Dec 2016 – 10:00-14:00*
01 Ian 2017 – Closed
*Last entrance is 45 minutes before closing time
Jan, Feb, Nov, Dec – 20 Lei
Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct – 25 lei
Mai, Jun, Jul, Aug – 30 Lei
Pupils– 5 Lei (based on student ID)
Student – 5 Lei (based on student ID)
Pensioners – 10 Lei (+65 years)
Photo fee – 5 Lei
Video fee – 15 Lei
Guide fee – 30 Lei Romanian, 50 lei Foreign language
Fees for organized groups:
Minimum 30 persons;
Jan, Feb, Nov, Dec – 15 Lei
Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct – 20 lei
Mai, Jun, Jul, Aug – 25 Lei
– Pensioners – 8 lei/pers.
– Pupils/students – 4 lei/pers.
Tourist Info Center Hunedoara
Address: Strada Castelului 1-3, Hunedoara 331141, Romania. See map HERE
Tel: +40 786 048 718
Here you can find information about trains: http://www.cfrcalatori.ro/
Here you can find information about bus schedules: http://www.autogari.ro/
By Guided Tour from Bucharest (Licensed guide/driver & transportation)