One of the best castles in Romania is Corvin, a 14th century castle located in the city of Hunedoara, at the western edge of Transylvania. This castle receives few visitors since it is a bit off the beaten path in Transylvania and since Romania in general is off the beaten path. We drove to Hunedoara from Sibiu, which took about 2 hours. The castle is at the western edge of the city, on a slight hill. The city of Hunedoara has a communist-era feel owing to several old (closed) steel mills located here due to the iron ore in the nearby hills. The iron deposits were even known by the Romans. For a map of locations visited in Romania click here.
The castle and the town get their names from two kings (Ioan Huneadoara and his son, Matthias Corvinus), considered among the greatest Hungarian rulers of Transylvania.
In the 14th century, Turkish prisoners had the fun job of hewing the castle walls out of solid rock. Also, in the 15thcentury, three “lucky” Turkish prisoners had to dig a well, and were promised their freedom by King Ioan after its completion. It took them 15 years to dig about 100 feet deep, when they finally found water. Ioan was dead by the time they finished, and his wife, Elisabeth, revoked the king’s promised and had the three prisoners put to death. Upon learning their fate, one of them wrote on a stone in the well: “You may have water but you have no soul.” I wonder if those words haunted Elisabeth.
Jules Verne thought enough of this castle to include it in his book, Around the Word in 80 Days, in 1873. It is one of the great medieval castles in Europe. The entrance fee was 10 lei (3.3 lei to the US dollar) and a photo pass was 5 lei.
References: Informational signs throughout Corvin Castle.