Romania’s natural wonders are countless and the same can be said for its man-made structures of the royal kind. The country’s abundance in medieval palaces, citadels and royal residencies isn’t a secret for anyone and they are partially responsible for most of the foreign tourism on Romanian soil.
Corvin is without a doubt a breathtaking sight to see. With its medieval red rooftops and once nearly inaccessible stone bridge perched atop a moat, this castle has seen plenty ever since its construction started in 1446. Laid over a previous building that stood there since the 1300s, it has been featured in TV series (Ghost Adventurers and Most Haunted), movies (The Nun, Dragonheart: Battle For The Heartfire and Singh Is Blingh) and even a video game (Age Of Empires II: The Forgotten). Many legends surround this place, including one that claims Vlad Dracula was once held here as a prisoner.
Speaking of Vlad Dracula, the most famous medieval castle in Romania is unarguably Bran, previously owned by The Impaler himself. Legend has it, this 14th century castle was the royal residency of Bram Stoker’s gothic horror character Dracula. There hasn’t been any evidence up to present day that Stoker actually visited any part of Romania or whether he knew of castle Bran’s real life existence, but that isn’t stopping flocks of tourists from aah-ing and ooh-ing at the sight of it each year. The castle itself represents a vivid example of medieval architecture and is currently housing a museum.
One of the most well-preserved citadels in Romania is the Neamț Citadel, dating back to some point between 1211 and 1225. Situated in the Carpathian mountains, it has played a key role in the defense against Ottoman rule during Stephen The Great’s reign. His additional modifications, such as the bastion, the fortified towers and the booby trap packed stone bridge are still standing tall. Pillaged, partially demolished and unsuccessfully reconstructed in the late 1900s, the citadel’s ruins have now been almost restored to their former glory.
In the late 1500s an old boyar’s former home was transformed into a grand mansion for a local treasurer named Simon Stroici. Centuries later, in the late 1880s an aristocrat named George Sturdza decided to reconstruct it specially for his new bride. Even though he came from a wealthy family of diplomats, ministers and statesmen, he got himself into great depth while gathering the funds to build the structure in its present day façade – a beautiful palace inspired by late signature Gothic movements.
Located in the area of Bonțida, the Bánffy castle has been owned by the Hungarian Bánffy family ever since the 1400s when it was initially constructed. Adorned with Renaissance motifs and a garden landscape in the English Romanticism style, the family castle has been hosting the famous Electric Castle music festival since 2015. Before that it served as a children’s hospital, a farm and even a driving school. Unfortunately, regardless of its fame, the castle is still in a decaying state. It’s believed that with the funds gathered from each Electric Castle festival the government will be able to fully restore it by 2026.
Last, but definitely not deserving the least attention, is another breathtaking medieval fortress built during the early 1200s. What makes it unique is the fact that throughout the centuries it has been conquered only on one occasion back in the 17th century. Historians are convinced that the main reason for the defeat had been the lack of sufficient water resources – a problem which was solved shortly afterwards when a 146 meters deep water well was dug on its territory. Perched atop a high cliff, the Râșnov Fortress isn’t an architectural wonder, but it does provide gorgeous panoramic views of its picturesque Transylvanian surroundings.