On October 7, 1883, the young king Carol I inaugurated a unique monument in the heart of the untouched Bucegi mountains in the Romanian landscape. Nature was then wild, the fairs or cities were far away, and near the “chosen” place was only a monastery, to which the hikers told Sinaia.
Renowned architects from Vienna and Hamburg drew up the plans of the castle, and the prince, who later became king, personally followed the construction. He has borne all the expenses from his own budget, mainly by selling some land in Germany and without affecting the revenues of the Royal House.
In winter, Peles Castle in Sinaia seems to be detached from a captivating and mysterious story, as few have seen. Both the late nineteenth century and now, Peles Castle is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe, and the first fully electrified on the continent.
The story of the castle
The castle had political, cultural and symbolic functions. Here Queen Elizabeth wrote her lyrics, and here she was also organizing literary dinners. Peles became the king’s summer residence, held the Crown Council and invited leading personalities of Europe so that Romania would not lose in anonymity. The most striking visit was that of Emperor Franz-Joseph, in 1896. Peles Castle was the royal summer residence until 1947, and today it is a museum with collections of paintings, sculptures, armor, carpets, furniture, tapestries, and other valuable objects.
In 1948, the castle was confiscated by the communist regime, and between 1975 – 1990, Nicolae Ceausescu ordered the closure of the domain for the public. Knowing that they had the mania to order all kinds of demolitions and changes, the curators scared them, saying that inside the Castle there is a fungus that attacks the wooden elements and is very harmful to people. But it was only half true. The truth was that a fungus had attacked the building’s beams due to moisture and non-ventilation, but it was harmless to people. Caution, the Ceausescu spouses spent only one night at the Castle, sleeping in the gazebo. Since then, their visits to Peles were random and very rare.
Craftsmen from many countries participated in the construction of the castle. Queen Elizabeth made an eloquent description of the progress of the works: “The Italians worked on the masonry, the Romanians carried the materials, the Gypsies carried stone and lime, the Albanians and the Greeks carved stone, the Germans and Hungarians worked on the woodwork, the Turks burned brick, there were Polish masters and Czech masters, and the French drew. So this building met one hundred special national costumes and heard people talking fourteen languages “.
Valuable collections and a secret door
The castle has 170 rooms, of which only 10 are accessible to tourists, discovering unexpected surprises for tourists. The living room is where silver pieces of great value are exposed and has rustic Breton furniture from the 18th century. Also, the Castle has seven terraces decorated with stone statues, fountains and ornamental vessels of Carrara marble.
The royal library especially attracts enthusiasts, passionate about rare books, some of them have leather covers and are engraved with gold letters. Even for those less familiar with the world of books, there is a point of attraction: the secret door; a gateway behind a bookshelf, through which the king could escape in various rooms in the Castle.
The entrance hall is magnificent, paneled in walnut, lined with bas-reliefs and statues. The mobile glass ceiling, operated by an electric motor or a manual system, was a surprise element for the king’s visitors, who could admire the clear night sky. Here were carved 2,000 characters, made by 140 artists who worked for six months, day and night. Among the modern technologies of that time are the elevator, and the vacuum cleaner, which is still functional today.
In total, Peles Castle houses over 60,000 art objects that are part of the Romanian national cultural heritage. In this imposing monument, the royal apartment, the halls of arms, the music and the theater but also the hall of honor are the grandest and most important to visit.
Your winter tour
When snow covers the entire area of the castle, tourists are rewarded with unique views. With the impressive winter show, you will not stop to take pictures, and the walks around the castle will be a delight for the soul. From the castle, you can take a hike on the Royal Path, with the snow creaking underfoot.
In a short time, you arrive at Vulpărie Chalet, a wooden construction where it is said that once there were shelters for foxes belonging to the Royal Family of Romania. In the way, you will meet beautiful meadows, seem to emerge from stories, with the sun shining through the snow-laden trees. After a few minutes of walking on narrow lanes, an extraordinary panorama opens towards Prahova Valley. Here, you can easily admire the snow-capped mountain peaks and deep valleys with scattered cities and villages.
Also, skiing in Sinaia can be an excellent choice, you will enjoy a special landscape with very clean air, fresh and enticing scents.
One of the best tourist destinations in Romania, Sinaia perfectly “blends” the natural beauty of some of Europe’s most beautiful mountains, the Carpathians, with the glorious spirit of Romanian history. Also, a walk on the picturesque streets can bring unexpected visual satisfaction. With over 120 registered buildings in the architectural heritage of Romania, Sinaia fully deserves its name as “city-museum”. Plan your winter holiday in Romania with a must-stop at Peles Castle, you will have a dream vacation! Also, a tour of the most beautiful castles in Romania will take you into a captivating story, full of history, with secret entrances and amazing innovations.