>Travel Pictures


Corbin Castle

After a whirlwind trip to Romania with Grandma in April, Susan decided the whole family should go for our four day weekend in October. Romania is the home of Transylvania and Dracula - so what better time to go and find out more about the country that is home to the famous Count and his escapades? 

It didn't take us long to figure out we didn't have the time needed to drive to Bran Castle- the supposed haunt of Count Dracula.  We felt better about this once we learned that Vlad Tepes - the real (and still infamous) 15th century Prince that Bram Stoker used as the main character in his novel - didn't really make this castle to hold stunned victims with the intent of snacking on their blood.  In fact, it was his father, Vlad Dracul, who bestowed the name Draculea on him and this means nothing more than 'son-of-Dracul' (dracul is latin for 'dragon'). The Tepes part of his name is more interesting because it means 'impaler' (and it shouldn't take a huge leap of imagination to guess how he acquired this name!!). 

Just so you don't think Vlad Tepes was doing anything extraordinarily unusual or distasteful, impaling was a common form of punishment-to-death during the Middle Ages (just as crucifixion was during the Roman Age).  According to our indispensable travel guide (the Lonely Planet) Tepes' cousin impaled 2300 Turks in one day!

On a historical note, The Dracul name was given to the family by Sigismund of Luxembourg who, as it turns out, also handed out titles to the Corbin family.  While the Corbin family (ever heard of them??) did not makes waves in history like the Dracul family, they did live in a stunning castle in Hunedoara and this is what our family went to Romania to see... 


Corbin Castle is a fairy tale vision which rises out of an outcropping of rock that is also its outer defense wall (hewn by Turkish prisoners).  Legend has it the castle was built on old Roman fortifications.  It has huge turrets, amazing drawbridges and high battlements: it is everything one thinks of when imaging castles.  There is an inner courtyard, a princesses room, a grand hall, and a moat. 
The castle, at one time, was a D'Anjou estate.  It was given to the Corvin family in 1409 for military services rendered to the crown.  Ioan Corvin of Hunyad (Hungarian) did extensive renovations and used the castle as a base for many excursions against the Turks. Ioan's son, Mattei, who also made considerable renovations, is considered one of the most brilliant kings of medieval Hungary.  The Castle had many owners up through the early 18th century, when it was assumed by the Austrian Habsburgs and turned into an executive center for local iron works and mines.  The Castle became a museum in 1974 after a series of fires in the late 19th century rendered it obsolete as a residence.


The kids were thrilled that the only access to the castle is across a drawbridge.  We explored the interior and amazed at what life must have been like 500 years ago.  We all noticed the lack of bathrooms:) 

Breck was in awe of the knight's armor and weapons.  He found every single secret passage there was to find and went head-long into exploring them. 

The kids enjoyed climbing the curving stairwells and walking the outer ramparts.  Alea tried to imagine what it must have been like having carpets on the wall as the only 'door' for privacy and primary insulation against winter chill. 

There was a man playing a vibraphone in the Grand Hall and both kids had a turn at it.  It was amazing listening to him play while wandering around the outer galleries; it was as if we were transported back in time!
The feeling of being lost in time evaporates quickly when one looks out any window of the castle.  Hunedora was the industrial center of Romania during the communist era.  Huge, ugly, abandoned steel mills rise like skeletons all around this breathtaking castle.  Dilapidated and ravaged nuclear power plants stand as a silent and terrifying testimony to what a misguided political ideology can do to an environment, an economy and a people.

A weekend in Romania continues.....

Back in Time - Roman Ruins - Hateg - Densus - Corbin Castle - First Romania page