Corvin Castle, also known as Hunyad Castle or Hunedoara Castle, is a spectacular gothic renaissance castle in Hunedoara, Transilvania – Romania, and it was built as a prison and as a defense fortress on the site of an old Roman fort.
The name of the castle – Hunyad Castle – is closely tied to that of the Corvin (Corvinus) family, one of the most powerful noble families in the Kingdom of Hungary.
The castle is one of the most famous proprieties of the military leader Iancu de Hunedoara (or John Hunyadi), who stopped the Turkish army at Belgrad in their rise towards Europe, after conquering the Constantinople in 1456.
You can see scenes filmed in this castle in „Ghost Rider 2”, ”Lady of the Castle”, “What about love”, or “Fright Night.” In 2007 the British TV show The Most Haunted Live! filmed for three nights and in 2013, the television show Ghost Adventures filmed an episode, as part of their Halloween special.
It was built in the 14th century in Gothic Style but it also has many renaissance architectural elements. The castle has 2 bridges, 42 chambers, 2 platforms, and is built on an area of 7000 square meters. Also, each of its towers rises to about 230 feet in height. The castle was restored in the mid-15th century and modified many times since then.
Moreover, Hunedoara Castle has 3 main large areas: the Diet Hall, the Knight’s Hall, and the Circular stairway. The access to the castle is made on a wooden bridge, that is sustained by four massive stone piers.
The castle’s chapel
The chapel is located on the eastern side of the Hunedoara Castle. The access is possible through the loggia Matthias staircase. It was initially an Orthodox chapel, but the converting to Catholicism happened mainly because of political reasons at that time. The interior, even in the present day, displays an old orthodox altar and a gothic ceiling with arcs.
The Knights Hall
Hall of Knights is one of the most interesting spaces and is situated on the Western side of the castle, at the ground floor. The Hall of Knights is divided into 2 sectors. It served as a judgment and council room for noblemen, but also as a dining room for festive occasions. Furthermore, under the hall, you can see the dungeon where Vlad the Impaler, the Prince of Wallachia has been imprisoned.
Another place to visit here is called the “Pit of lions.” Even in the time of Iancu de Hunedoara, there were no lions in there, but there were hungry wolves or bears which were ready to eat alive anyone that was sent in there. As a side note, the Pit of lions was situated right under the window of the “Princesses’ Living Room.”
Legend of the Well
Many medieval buildings have legends surrounding them and the Hunyad castle is no exception. Thus, according to legend, near the entrance of the castle’s chapel, 3 Turkish prisoners dug a fountain in stone. Legend of the Well says that John Hunyadi made a promise to release them from captivity if they dug in stone and reach for water. It took the Turkish prisoners 15 years of digging to find water 28 meters down. After their hard work, instead of setting them free, Hunyadi beheaded them. The legend also states that one of the prisoners carved into stone the words: “You have water, but you have no soul.” The names of the three Turkish prisoners are written on another wall.
Legend of the Raven
There is also another local legend and it regards the raven and ring that are engraved on the Corvin family’s crest. It is said that Iancu de Hunedoara was the bastard son of the King of Hungary – Sigismund of Luxembourg, with Elisabeta, a local woman. Wanting to maintain her honor, Sigismund of Luxembourg had her marry one of his champions, Voicu and gave Elisabeta a golden ring, as a gift for his unborn son and a symbol of recognition for when he will have grown. After a few years, during a royal festivity at which Voicu’s family took part, the same ring is left on a table by mistake, and a raven, drawn by the left-overs and the glitter of the ring, steals it in its beak.
The young Iancu de Hunedoara, seeing the raven, took a bow and shot it, thus recovering the family ring. Several years later, when Iancu de Hunedoara came to the court and told the story, he was ushered with the new coat of arms representing the raven with the golden ring in its beak. Additionally, the name ”Corvin” originates from the Latin word “corvus,” which literally translates as “raven” the symbol of longevity and wisdom in the Middle Ages.
How to get to the Hunyadi Castle?
You can get to the castle by bus, train, or by car. Once arrived in the city of Hunedoara, Romania – boulevards Traian, Republicii, and Libertății will get you to the Hunedoara Castle, that is located on the southwestern end of the town. Furthermore, the location offers paid parking spots, around €1,7 per 2 hours.
Corvin Castle – opening hours and ticket price
The Hunedoara castle can be visited every day between 9 AM and 5 PM. Ticket prices are 25 RON (€6 ) for adults, 5.00 RON (€1) for students, 10 RON (€2) for seniors. For groups of 30 individuals and above, prices are 20 RON (€5) for adults, 8.00 RON (€2) for seniors and 4.00 RON (€1) for students. In addition, the photography fee is also 5.00 RON (€1).
If you are visiting this castle, don’t forget to plan a short trip to Deva Fortress.