This is a pack of three different one-day tours about the incredible and sad story of the abandoned Transylvanian built heritage. It is a tour meant to raise awareness about what communist nationalization and ‘post communist’ ignorance has caused. It is a tour dedicated to all those in a Dark Romantic mood, those interested in decline of the built-environment photography and last but not least, those who lust for history, Medieval architecture, heraldic symbolism and local stories.
Departure from Cluj in the morning. First stop will be in Iernut to visit the Kornis – Rakoczi castle. Built in the 16th century in Renaissance style, the castle is said to have been prison for two bishops. The best know legend regarding the castle is the one that says that the castle was lost by it’s owner one night in 1885, during a cards game.
A few kilometers away we shall see the Haller castle in Sanpaul. With an ancestry coming from Nürnberg, Germany, the Haller family became proprietor of the land and the castle during the 17th century and lived there until the castle was nationalized by the communist regime. They have built the castle upon the ruins of an older castle which had been destroyed several times. The castle now lays in complete ruin ever since the last 25 years. The locals connect it’s present condition to an old legend about a Gypsy woman who cursed the previous owner of the castle to loose his family and all his belongings.
We continue the journey up to Velt just to discover one of the saddest Saxon fortified churches from Transylvania. Built in Gothic style during the 15th century, the church partially collapsed in 2002. Apart from this, all the goods from the church were stolen during the past years. What remains is a huge wound into our built heritage and a sad story.
On the way back to Cluj we make a last stop in the village of Sanmiclaus to visit the Bethlen castle. The castle was built during the 17th century by Miklós Bethlen, a Transylvanian nobleman. After having studied in Utrecht și Leyden and passionate about architecture, the noblemen draw the plan of the future castle himself. In an era when whole Europe was raising buildings in Baroque style, here, the noblemen built his castle in a late Renaissance style. And what a castle he built! If it wouldn’t be in a poor condition, we could still say it is the most beautiful Renaissance castle in Transylvania. During the communist regime, the castle was not only inhabited by the low-job workers at the local agricultural association, but it was even partially destroyed during the shooting of a Romanian movie just for the shots to be more powerful.
Arrival back to Cluj in the evening.
This tours may partially be subject to traffic jams.
In wintertime, different discount may be applied to this tours.