Hunedoara Castle

In the Footsteps of Vlad the Impaler – Hunedoara Castle

Another castle, you might say… However, not only is Hunedoara Castle one of the largest ones in Europe, but this fortress is also one of the most magnificent locations in Romania. If you don’t have enough time or don’t want to see the castles of Bran, Poienari, and Hunedoara, let it be this one!

First, a word of clarification: there are other names for Hunedoara Castle, namely Corvin or Corvinus Castle and Hunyadi Castle. In order to understand where these come from, we need to have a look at its history.

Construction of the castle started in the 15th century and continued in different phases until the 19th century. One of its most important occupants was John Hunyadi (Corvinus in Latin), Voivode (leader) of Transylvania, whereas Vlad himself was the leader of Wallachia. Moreover, the two men are linked to one another. Hunyadi, who was also the regent-governor of Hungary, had clashed with Vlad’s family before. When the former invaded Wallachia in 1447, he was responsible for the murder of Vlad’s father and his eldest brother. Yet, later the two men would enter into a political alliance.

Built in a Renaissance-Gothic style, the castle has three parts: the Knight’s Hall, the Diet Hall, and the circular stairway. And according to romaniatourism.com, there are also

an impressive drawbridge, high buttresses, inner courtyards, a chapel and some 50 rooms resplendent with medieval art.

There are various legends surrounding the castle. One of them is connected to a well of about 30 meters deep, near the chapel.

According to the legend, this fountain was dug by 3 Turkish prisoners to whom liberty was promised if they reached water. After 15 years they completed the well, but their captors did not keep their promise. It is said that the inscription on a wall of the well means “you have water, but not soul”. Specialists, however, have translated the inscription as “he who wrote this inscription is Hasan, who lives as slave of the giaours, in the fortress near the church”. (Source: Wikipedia)

And another legend concerns Vlad Tepes himself, who was apparently a prisoner here and went insane during that time. Or is it more than a legend? In the last two years, some historians have become convinced that Vlad indeed spent some time in a prison deep underground in the castle, although it is unclear for how long. Whether or not he also became mad is another matter.

There is actually a prison cell and a torture chamber right at the entrance of the castle…

By the way, now that we have established that neither Bran Castle nor Poienari Castle probably served as the inspiration for Dracula’s abode in the novel by Bram Stoker, what about this one? The answer is negative. First of all, Stoker wasn’t aware of the connection between Vlad Tepes and Hunyadi. Moreover, he didn’t know anything about the castle itself.

Juicy detail: Hunedoara Castle – just like the Poienari Fortress, for that matter – is supposedly haunted! One of America’s most popular paranormal shows, Ghost Adventures, spent some time here more than 10 years ago. Have a look!

My favorite part of this episode actually takes place in this castle! Look at the reactions of the crew when the female guide talks about the bear pit… Anyway, we didn’t experience anything paranormal in Hunedoara castle. In the Hoia Baciu forest, however, things were a bit different… But that is for another post.

Fancy a visit yourself? You can find practical information about Hunedoara Castle such as opening hours here.

And… we are nearing the end of the life of Romania’s biggest hero. For our next post, we will take you to the deep south of the country. And if you can’t get enough of Vlad the Impaler, we still have a couple of bonus posts.

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