Peles Castle, Wallachia, Romania
> The castle of the Royal House of Romania.
> One of the top art collection in Europe.
> It is 66 meters high and has about 200 rooms.
> A 4.000 pieces arms and armour collection.
> Hours close to both Brasov and Bucuresti.
Peles Castle is a Neo-Renaissance castle placed in an idyllic setting in the Carpathian Mountains, near Sinaia, a town and spa in northern Wallachia. It was built starting with 1873, on an existing medieval route linking Transylvania and Wallachia. The complex is composed of three monuments: Peles Castle, Pelişor Chateau and Foisor Hunting Chateau. Peles Castle shelters one of the most important and most valuable painting collections in Europe, almost 2,000 pieces.
Peles Castle has 3200 sq. meters of floor plan, over 170 rooms, 30 bathrooms. The establishment hosts one of the finest collections of art in East and Central Europe, consisting of statues, paintings, furniture, arms and armour, gold, silver, stained glass, ivory, fine china, tapestries and rugs; the collection of arms and armour has over 4000 pieces, divided between Eastern and Western wars. Only 35 rooms are accessible to the public. While an important area is in the upper levels, this is off limits. Only the museum in the basement and the rooms on the first floor can be visited. Each year in November the castle is closed to the public for the whole month, during which time it undergoes maintenance and cleaning.
The second king of Romania, King Carol I fell in love with the rugged but magnificent mountain scenery and order its construction. The king purchased the area and transformed it into The Royal Domain of Sinaia, destined to be a hunting preserve and summer retreat for the monarch. Several other buildings, annexed to the castle, were built simultaneously. The cost was approx. $US 120 million at today's value. After King Michael's forced abdication in 1947, the Communist regime seized all royal property. During the last years of the communist regime, Nicolae Ceausescu closed the entire area. After the December 1989 Revolution, Peles was integrated into the touristic circuit. In 2006, the Romanian government announced restitution of the castle to king Michael I of Romania. The Romanian Government granted 30 million euros to the Casa Regala (The Royal House of Romania) in exchange for the castle in order to get it back. Every year since opening, Peles Castle received between a quarter to almost half million visitors every year.
Queen Elisabeth of Romania, during the construction phase, wrote on her journal: Italians were masons, Romanians were building terraces, the Gypsies were coolies. Albanians and Greeks worked in stone, Germans and Hungarians were carpenters. Turks were burning brick. Engineers were Polish and the stone carvers were Czech. The Frenchmen were drawing, the Englishmen were measuring, and so was then when you could see hundreds of national costumes and fourteen languages in which they spoke, sang, cursed and quarreled on all dialects and tones, a joyful mix of men, horses, cart oxen and domestic buffaloes.