Corvins CastleOF HUNEDOARA 25 The first sight of the castle is also the most lasting, with its massive silhouette rising atop a solitary cliff, with the long bridge over the ravine below and its strong towers breaching the sky. If it was not for the gloomy modern buildings around, travelers might even get carried away to the past, expecting mounted knights to appear over the bridge! It is easy to imagine this place several centuries ago, when life in medieval Romania revolved around the next war or battle on the horizon. Corvins Castle of Hunedoara is one of those places that seem to rise from the depth of time, a magnificent link between old legends and historical facts. One of the most impressive medieval castles in Europe, it is a truly magnificent monument that stood the test of time for over five centuries to tell countless stories of great leaders and legendary battles. The castle is located on the outskirts of the city of Hunedoara, in the southwestern part of Transylvania. It was built starting from the 15th century, upon the ruins of an older, 14th century fortress. Each new transformation created the Gothic medieval jewel that awes travelers today, with its massive crenelated walls, strong towers, halls and cellars. Travelers can almost imagine how this majestic castle would have looked filled in medieval times, filled with soldiers, merchants and peasants, with days of feasts and days of struggle. The castle is also known as Hunyade Castle (Castelul Huniazilor) and throughout its history, it has witnessed important events that have shaped the past of this area. The most important historical name is that of the great leader John Hunyade or John Corvin (Iancu or Ioan de Hunedoara), whose family received the castle and its domain from Sigismund of Luxembourg (king of Hungary). He became the voivode of Transylvania in 1441, as well as regent of Hungary several years later, successfully defeating the Ottomans in several battles and dominating central Europe. He died of the plague right after the great battle, receiving universal praise even from his enemies. Corvins’ Castle was his stronghold, and his son Matei Corvin, the most glorious king of Hungary, continued the legacy and developed it further. Another important character was Gabriel Bethlen, who brought many late-Renaissance transformations to the castle. A visit to Corvins Castle starts with a walk along the wooden bridge passing over a small creek valley. As travelers get closer, the overwhelming feeling of greatness becomes even more intense. Upon entering the massive gate into the inner courtyard, visitors find themselves surrounded by strong stone walls, with several floors that house various halls and rooms. The west part of the castle is known as the Large Palace, including two main structures. Probably the most impressive sight is the Knights Hall, a large space divided by red marble columns, where court banquets and feasts were held. The Dieta Hall is equally large and was used to hold communal meetings, featuring interesting architectural features and paintings. On the southern side of the courtyard, the three levels form the Administration Palace, with several rooms where visitors can admire historical collections and exhibits. The small chapel was built in 1446 and preserves several original elements of architecture and old paintings. Among the most striking features of Corvins Castle are the towers, each with its own history and architecture. The Drummer’s Tower, Neboisa Tower, Mace Tower, Capistrano Tower, Deserted Tower, Eastern Gate Tower and Western Gate Tower are excellent examples of defensive medieval structures. Other interesting highlights of the castle that are worth visiting include the Matia Loggia, Maiden’s Hall, Hussar’s Court and others. On the eastern side of the courtyard, travelers can reach the ramparts, with beautiful panoramas of the city. There is also a fountain with an extremely intriguing legend. It is supposed to have been dug up by two Ottoman prisoners over the course of many years. The legends surrounding this magical place tell the story of a fascinating destination, a place that seems alive. It is rightfully considered one of the most beautiful castles in the world, a fairytale destination in the heart of Romania.