The Corvin Castle in Hunedoara, Romania
The Corvin castle is one of the most interesting and mysterious castles in Eastern Europe. Situated in Hunedoara, Romania, it first served as a fort and later on it became the residence of a nobleman. Its well preserved architecture is a good example of Gothic architecture in Romania during the middle ages. The place was donated to Sigismund de Luxembourg and later it was passed on to his son, a great leader and fighter, Iancu de Hunedoara.
This mysterious place hides many secrets and for an unskilled eye it might appear as just another beautiful medieval jewel. Yet, behind the walls history pierces through in many ways. Here is a list of 5 interesting facts about the Corvin castle which you should definitely keep an eye out for when you go visit.
The Castle's Torture Chamber
Although it was recently created, the torture chamber lies on the very spot of the castle’s prison and it hosts and exhibits many torture instruments which were used on the prisoners in the early days. Tools like the Spanish boot, icon pyramid with thorns, needles, pliers and other such things will help you recreate the mood of the prison.
One of the stories circulating about Vlad Tepes’ imprisonment was that he was supposed to be judged in the Council Hall, but it was difficult to gather all the members of the council at the time; and even so they could gather a majority of members, they didn’t have enough nobility ranks to judge a prince of Tepes’ rank.
Rumors has it that while waiting for the council to convene, Vlad Tepes almost went insane because he was able to hear the screams of those who were sentenced to death and then thrown in the “Pit of Scythes” or in the “Pit of lions”, where there were actually hungry bears and wolves that would eat alive any person thrown in.
The Corvin Castle Well
The well, typical for fortresses or castles in the region of Transylvania, is also a famous execution place where Turkish prisoners were killed. The legend stated that the prisoners were promised freedom after they dig the well and find water. Unfortunate for them, they had to dig for 30 M until they reached water and in the mean time the one who promised them freedom had died so their promise wasn’t kept. Archaeologists discovered inscriptions on the inside of the well from Turkish prisoners.
The legend tale goes like this: For ten years the Turkish prisoners dug nearly 25-30 meters into stone and they finally reached for water, but instead of being released, they were beheaded. This is just a legend and it’s not specific only to Corvinilor Castle. Before being executed, it is said that one of the prisoners had carved into stone the following words: “You have water, but you have no soul”. The truth is that one of the prisoners, which was in fact the son of a vizier, carved on one of the stones from the wall near the well that he built that well together with two other prisoners while they were prisoners.
The Dining Hall
The Knights Hall & Secret Passage
The Knights hall connected to the Diet hall create one beautiful ensemble and have armours and weapons exhibitions. The place also has a secret passage which was used in the early days to run outside the fortresses’ walls in case of an attack.
The Knights Hall (Sala Cavalerilor), one of the most interesting spaces in 15th century Transylvania, is situated in the Western side of the castle, at the ground floor of the Great Palace. It is divided into two sectors by a row of octagonal columns. This hall served as dinning room for festive occasions or as judgment and council room for noblemen, after the German model.
Legend reads that some of the most famous guests of the Hunyadi Castle were in fact prisoners here.
Gheorghe Doja was the leader of the Rebellion in 1514 and he was caught when John Zapolya, the commander of the Timisoara fortress, defeated his army of peasants. Before his deadly sentence, Gheorghe Doja was held prisoner in this castle and in the same prison where Vlad Tepes was locked away (because he wrote some letters to the Turkish sultan and was considered a traitor).
Gossip: Many historians believe that Matei Corvin, who tried to mask the fact that he had spent the money intended for an army of mercenaries to stop the Turkish invasion, forged the letters.
The Castle's Chapel
Built in a Gothic style in two stages, the last one being fished during the reign of Iancu de Hunedoara, the chapel has an interesting altar and hosts the replica of the Iancu’s sarcophagus which originally lies in the Catholic church in Alba Iulia.
The entrance door presents some decorations specific to the Renaissance period and the royal coat of arms of Matei Corvin, that is very different from the one used by Iancu of Hunedoara. The background represents a blue field, and on the front, a raven is represented resting on a branch and holding a golden ring in its beak.
With a Gothic ceiling and a Renaissance – inspired entrance, the interior of the church is built in a completely different style. Some say that it’s like a miniature of the Cathedral from Amiens, in France, where the French kings used to be crowned.