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Peleş Castle (Castelul Peleş)

Peleş Castle

 

 

 

Location: Prahova County  Map

Constructed: 1873- 1914 by king Carol I of Romania

 

 

 

 

Description of Peleş Castle

Peleş Castle is a private royal residence situated 44 km from Brasov in Sinaia, Prahova County in Romania. Peleş Castle was constructed in 1873- 1914 by orders of king Carol I (de Hohezollern) of Romania and under supervision of an architect Wilhem Doderer and later his assistant Johann Schultz de Lemberg. Construction was briefly stopped during Russian- Turkish war of 1877- 78 when Romanian forces sided with the Russian to defeat Ottoman Turks. But it was resumed shortly after the end of hostilities and finally inaugurated in 1883. It became a chief royal residence. Future king Carol II was born here, giving the estate a nickname of "cradle of the dynasty, cradle of the nation". King Carol I was buried here upon his death in 1914. After World War II Romanian king Michael I was forced to abdicated by the Soviet armies and Peles Castle along with other Royal possessions were nationalized by the government.

 

 

 

 

History

King Carol I (1839-1914) first visited these places in 1866, they reminded him of his native Germany, and he was forever captivated by them. In 1872, these lands (approximately 5.3 sq. Km.) Were bought by the king, and became known as the Sinai Royal Domain, intended to become the royal hunting grounds and the summer residence of the monarch.

The first three architectural designs of the castle actually duplicated other West European palaces, and Karol I rejected them because they were too expensive and not original enough. The architect Johann Schulz presented a more interesting project that the king liked: a small palace or, rather, a spacious mansion in the Alpine style, combining Italian elegance with the aesthetics of the German neo-Renaissance. The construction cost (between 1875 and 1914) was estimated at approximately 16 million Romanian lei (approximately 120 million modern US dollars).

The castle was founded on August 22, 1873. At the same time, other buildings related to the castle were being built: a guard house, a hunting lodge, royal stables, etc. In addition, a power station was built, and Peles became the first electrified castle in the world. Three or four hundred people were constantly working on the construction of the castle. Queen Elizabeth during construction wrote in her diary:

Italians were masons, Romanians built terraces, gypsies were laborers. Albanians and Greeks worked stone, Germans and Hungarians were carpenters. Turks burned a brick. The engineers were Poles, and the Czechs stone carvers. The French drew, the British measured - there were hundreds of people in national costumes who spoke, sang, cursed and chatted in fourteen languages ​​...

The construction was somewhat suspended during the Romanian War of Independence of 1877-78, but then it accelerated very much. Ball on the inauguration of the castle took place on October 7, 1883. In 1893, Karol II was born in Peles Castle, filling in the meaning given to the castle by King Karol I - “the cradle of the dynasty, the cradle of the nation”.

In 1947, after the forced abdication of King Mihai, the Communists confiscated all the royal property, including the estate and Peles Castle. For some time the castle was open to tourists, and in 1953 it was declared a museum. The estate also served as a recreation for Romanian cultural figures. In the last years of communist rule, between 1975-1990, Nicolae Ceausescu closed this territory for visits, only attendants and security service were allowed here. Curiously, Ceausescu did not like the castle and rarely visited it. They say that museum workers, knowing that the Ceausescu couple suffers from health phobias, announced that the building was infected with the dangerous fungus Serpula lacrymans, which in the 1980s was really quite common, but only affected wood.

After the Romanian revolution of 1989, the castles of Peles and Pelisor were again open to tourists. In 2006, the Romanian government announced the return of the castle to the former king Mihai I. Soon after the king acquired his property, negotiations between him and the government resumed, and Peles again became a national treasure, open to the public as a historical monument and museum. In exchange, the Romanian government donated 30 million euros to the royal house of Romania. Since its opening, Peles Castle has received nearly half a million visitors annually.

In 2008, the castle was used on the set of the movie “The Bloom Brothers” - the neighborhood of the castle depicted a large estate in New Jersey, the home of the eccentric millionaire Penelope (Rachel Weiss starred in this role).

 

 

Description

The first architect of the castle was the German Johann Schulz (1876-1883), the Czech architect Karel Liman became his successor. By its structure and functions, Peles is a palace, but everyone fondly calls it a castle. The main architectural style is the Neo-Renaissance, but in the half-timbered facades of the courtyard with their luxuriously painted walls, Saxon influence is felt, and in the interiors decorated with rich wood carvings and exquisite fabrics, the influence of Baroque is noticeable.

Peles Castle has 3200 m² of area, more than 160 rooms, 30 bathrooms, luxuriously furnished and exquisitely decorated, a theater hall with 60 seats with a royal box. He has one of the finest art collections in eastern and central Europe, which includes sculpture, painting, furniture, weapons and armor, gold and silver jewelry, ivory, china, carpets and tapestries. The collection of weapons and armor totals more than 4000 items. Oriental carpets are made in the best workshops of Bukhara, Mosul, Isparta and Smyrna. The collection of Sevres and Meissen porcelain, leather from Cordoba is amazing, but the most impressive is the hand-painted stained-glass windows from Switzerland.

During the construction of the castle, the most modern technologies of the time were used - the castle built in 1883 was originally equipped with a central heating system and is fully electrified. The castle’s clock tower is 66 meters high.

Park ensemble
At the main entrance is a statue of King Carol I by Italian sculptor Raffaello Romanelli, who also owns statues from Carrara marble, located on seven lovely Italian terraces surrounding the castle and made in the Neo-Renaissance style. In the park there is also a monument to Queen Elizabeth, depicting the wife of Carol I behind embroidery - a traditional Romanian art.

Gardens and terraces are decorated with fountains, urns, stairs, lions, beautiful statues and other decorative details.

Museum
The museum is open from 9 to 17 hours from Wednesday to Sunday. In November, the castle is closed to the public.

Of the 168 rooms of the castle, 35 are open for visits. A visit only with a guide consisting of groups that are typed in languages. There are excursions in Russian for excursion groups

Ticket price depends on the volume of the tour:
30 RON is a visit to the first floor, the duration of the tour is 45 minutes,
50 RON - visiting the first and second floors,
70 RON - the most complete tour, including a visit to three floors, lasting 2.5 hours.
In addition, you can pay 35 RON for photo and 50 RON for video shooting.

Location
The castle is located in the north-west of Sinaia, 60 km from the city of Brasov and 135 km from Bucharest, the capital of Romania. Buses run from Brasov to Sinai at intervals of half an hour-hour, trains from Brasov to Gara de Nord regularly stop at Brasov, stopping in Sinai, and the journey takes about 2 hours.

The Sinai Tourist Complex also includes Pelishor Castle, located next to Peles Castle.

 

 

 

 

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