Back in the day, when Romania was one of the most advanced (technologically and economically) countries in Europe, Peleş Castle was the first European castle entirely lit by electrical current, having its own power plant. In fact, Peleş was the world’s first palace fully operated by electric power. It doesn’t only portray a time of plenitude: its Neo-Renaissance architecture reminds a lot of the castles we used to see in fairytale books in our childhood.
The castle was built at the order of King Carol I, who visited the region in 1866 and decided to buy some land. Later, he built here a castle that blended with the beauty of the surrounding scenery. Peleş was built between 1873 and 1914, following plans by Johannes Schultz and Karel Liman. The name of the castle is drawn from the Peleş Creek, that passes through the courtyard. The courtyard itself measures 1,300 acres (5.3 km2).
The castle is open to the public and it receives about half million visitors every year. From the 168 rooms of the building, only 35 are accessible to the public, but they are enough to give the visitors a feel of what the Romanian kings used to live like. Rooms have different themes, ornamented by style (Florentine, Turkish, Moorish, French, Imperial) and lavishly furnished.
Visitors can also admire items of what is considered one of the finest collections of art in East and Central Europe. Everything on display (statues, paintings, furniture, arms and armors, gold, silver, stained glass, ivory, fine china, tapestries and rugs) is an original item.
Oriental rugs come from the finest sources: Bukhara, Mosul, Isparta, Saruk and Smirna, porcelain from Sèvres and Meissen, leather from Córdoba but perhaps the most acclaimed are the hand painted stained glass vitralios, mostly Swiss.
Every castle’s history is interesting, and has a mystery aura added to it. Peleş however doesn’t hide its past. There are no ghosts haunting it, no demons hiding within its walls. It’s pure beauty, a breathtaking building surrounded by a breathtaking scenery.
The Royal Castle amongst other monuments, surrounded by extremely pretty landscape with gardens built on terraces, all at the edge of dense forests. The castle itself is very impressive through the riches it has accumulated: old and new canvases, old furniture, weapons, all sort of curios, everything placed with good taste.
– wrote Kaiser Franz Joseph I of Austro-Hungary in a letter, in 1896 when he visited Peleş. Years later the castle’s visitors share the same sentiment and even more.
For more information about Peleş, visit its official website. The visiting hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m Wednesday through Sunday. On Mondays the castle is closed and on Tuesdays the hours are till 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission fee is 15 RON. Additionally you must check in your camera or pay 30 RON to take photos or 50 RON for video.
Location: Northwest of the town of Sinaia, 60 km from Braşov and 135 km away from Bucharest, Romania’s capital.
Feature image courtesy Daytona K.