The Palace of Culture in Iaşi

The Palace of Culture (Romanian: Palatul Culturii) is one of the largest buildings of Romania, located in the city of Iaşi, Northeastern Romania. The Palace of Culture in Iaşi is the main attraction point of the Moldavian capital. We can’t even imagine a touristic folder without the image of the famous building that shelters four museums, The Moldavian Museum of History, The Moldavian Museum of Ethnography, The Museum of Art, “Ştefan Procopiu” Museum of Science and Technology, and “Gheorghe Asachi” County Library in the North-East side of the building.

The Palace was partly built on top of the ruins of the medieval princely courts, mentioned in a document of 1434, and partly on top of the foundations of the former (neoclassical) palace, dated to the time of ruling prince Alexandru Moruzzi (1806-1812), rebuilt by ruling prince Mihail Sturza (1841-1843) and finally demolished in 1904. It was from this later building that the Palace inherited the legend of the 365 rooms, as many as the days within one year. Actually, the palace counts 298 rooms and has a total room surface of about 36000 m².

The edifice was built between 1906 and 1925, it is designed in flamboyant neo-Gothic style, and is the most outstanding work of Romanian architect I.D. Berindei. In 1926 the Palace of Culture was opened by Ferdinand of Hohenzollern, the second king of modern Romania. During World War II, the Palace sheltered German troops, and then Soviet troops. Until 1955, the building housed the County Law Court, which had the furniture ordered from “Maple House” in London. Between 1975 and 1977 the wood bridging from the last floor was replaced with a cement one, fixed with steel netting. The new bridging sustained the monument during the earthquake of 1977, but the bridging from the first floor, the walls, the ornaments and the relief works were affected. Unfortunately, the consolidation and renovation works are not finished yet.

The entrance of the palace is through a great donjon tower, with crenels and alcoves dominated by an eagle with open wings. In the tower there is also a carillon clock that has an eight bells assembly that reproduces “Hora Unirii” (Hora of the Union) song every hour. In spite of its archaic-looking design, the Palace was designed so to integrate modern materials and technologies. Thus, the stone blocks were replaced with light and much cheaper materials. Besides, some rooms were decorated using a special material licensed by Henri Coanda, under the name of bois-ciment and imitating the oak wood. Decorative ironmongery elements are also remarkable and they can be admired for instance on the doors of the Voivodes’ Hall. The building was also equipped with high-tech facilities for those times, such as electric lighting, (pneumatic) heating, ventilation system, thermostat, vacuum cleaners, which were all directed from the machinery room, at the underground level. Taking also into account the 14 fires that affected the previous buildings, Berindei treated the wooden structure of the attic with an ignifugeous product called orniton, while for the roof he used a special material, named eternite.

The Moldavian History Museum is located at the ground floor, in the West side, being the continue of the Antiquity Museum founded by Orest Tafrali in 1916. It has four sections, prehistory and ancient history, medieval history, modern history and contemporary history, presenting the main aspects of the development of the communities in the area from the Paleolithic time to the World War II.

The Moldavian Museum of Ethnography was founded in 1943, being located in the West side of the Palace, at the first and the second floor. One can admire here the objects used by the inhabitants of Moldavia in their every day activities: in agriculture, viticulture, raising animals, fishing, hunting, apiculture. One can also see interiors of peasant houses, devices used for pottery, weaving, wood processing, mask collections, traditional costumes. Many of these exhibits have more than 100 years old.

The Museum of Art is at first floor and it continues the oldest pinacoteque in the country that existed along with the first modern Romanian university of 1860. The Museum of Art has 24 rooms for permanent exhibitions, arranged in three galleries (universal art gallery, Romanian modern art gallery and contemporary art gallery) and has in its artistic patrimony over 6 000 works, among which almost 2500 are graphic works and 470 are sculptures.

The Museum of Science and Technology is located on the ground floor of the Palace, in the East side, and is named after the great savant from Iaşi, Ştefan Procopiu. Founded in 1955, the museum has four sections: energetic, telecommunications, mineralogy – crystallography, recording and replaying of sounds. The foundation of a section that comprises a collection of computers is also under discussion.

Besides the four museums, The Palace of Culture presents some other attraction points. One of them is the Gothic Room, where can be admired the mosaic that presents a medieval “bestiarum” (gryphons, bicephalous eagles, lions). There is also the Voivodes' Room, located at first floor, where there are the portraits of Moldavia’s rulers and Romania’s kings, starting with Decebal and Traian, paintings made by Ştefan Dimitrescu and his students. Then there is „Henri Coandă” Room, which was named after the carvings and relief works made by the famous Romanian inventor of a cement invented by him. On the right there is the “Turnul de Strajă” (the Watch Tower), reminiscence of the Royal Court of Iaşi, along with the galleries underneath the court of the palace. On the left there is a collection of capitals and other stone architectonic elements grouped in a lapidarium. The hall is superposed by a glass ceiling room, where initially a greenhouse was arranged. In front of the the palace there is the equestrian statue of Stephen the Great, framed by two Krupp cannons, trophies from the Independence War.

Here you can see some panoramas.

Valea Viilor fortified church

Valea Viilor (German: Wurmloch; Hungarian: Nagybaromlak) is a commune located in Sibiu County, Romania. It is composed of the villages of Valea Viilor and Motiş.

Valea Viilor is first mentioned in 1305 when its owner, Count Apafi, passed away. In a document from this period the village was referred to as terra Baromlach which means "land of the cattle". The German version of the village's name sounds similar but has a different meaning. The German name appears half a century later in a document that acknowledges the church of Wurmloch as belonging to the Superior Council of Schelk (Şeica Mare). The Saxon name roughly translates to "snake hole". As to whether the place was swarming with snakes or full of cattle it is unclear. What is clear is that the land was owned by nobility. However, by 1359 the land was being mentioned as a free commune. Surprisingly, the villagers of Valea Viilor excelled at making wine, giving rise to the Romanian name meaning "Vineyard Valley". The whole area has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999.

The fortified church is situated in the center of the village. The first church was most likely a Gothic basilica erected in the early 14th century. Archeological excavations have revealed the existence of another building before the present church. Observable ruins in the floor of the vestry indicate that once was a Romanesque church at Valea Viilor. It is speculated that the original church was approximately 10 meters long, less than half the length of the present church. The present-day Gothic church, built in the 14th century, is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The church is characterized by Late-Gothic elements from around 1500. The church hall has a tunnel vault with a Late-Gothic ribbed net. The small nave has a vault supported by seven pairs of pillars that are attached to the side walls. Both the nave and the choir have a complex network of ribs on their vaults. In the construction phase, more levels were added above the choir with arches between the tall buttresses and a fortified level with a hoarding. The Baroque altar from 1779 has two tiers, columns, small columns, saint’s statues, and painted panels. A Eucharist shrine and stall work from the beginning of the 16th century have survived. The existing organ is from 1808. The church had undergone several periods of construction in the beginning of the 19th century.

The church is surrounded by an oval precinct with 7-8 meter high mantle walls. Towers were placed in the east, west, north, and south with the western one being a gate tower. The church and precinct are accessed via a vaulted gangway with portcullis on the western side. On the sides there are four bastions oriented north, south, east, and west. The walls are equipped with battlements and machicolations that are supported by brackets on the outside. There is another hoarding above the hall, with loopholes and arches for machicolations. The west tower, which is also a bell tower, has buttresses at 45 degrees, arches between the buttresses, and a hoarding on wooden cantilevers. The fortress of Valea Viilor is impressive because of the sculptural character of the fortified aspects.

Gheorghe Hagi

Gheorghe Hagi (or Gică Hagi, born February 5, 1965 in Săcele, Constanţa County) was a Romanian football player who played for the Romanian National Team in three World Cups. He was a top attacking midfielder of eighties and nineties in Europe. He was exquisite in passing, ball control and he had great long-range shots. Wherever he played, Hagi left his mark on the game and he was the first Romanian player to truly play at the highest club level possible, since he managed the rare feat of playing for both Spanish giants, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Nicknamed Maradona of the Carpathians or The King, he is a hero in his homeland. He has won his country's Player of the Year award a record six times, and was recently named Romania's player of the century. Now, Gheorghe Hagi is a successful coach and businessman.

Hagi started playing for the local team Farul since an early age. He shone out ever since he was a young boy, despite his small frame and fragile look. He did not have the sheer power of his teammates, but he had an outstanding technique, allowing him to play in championships with kids 3-4 years older. At age 17, Gheorghe Hagi was selected for Farul's senior team, but he would not play there for more then a season, being bought by much wealthier Bucharest-based team Sportul Studenţesc. In the 4 seasons spent at Sportul, Hagi became a name in Romanian soccer. He was top scorer for the club with no less than 58 goals in 107 matches.

This attracted the interest of several European clubs, but with the communist regime still reigning in Romania, he moved to Steaua Bucharest, who just managed the most important achievement in Romanian soccer history, namely winning the European Cup (today's Champions League) in 1986 and thus qualifying for the Super Cup. Actually, Hagi was given an original contract that would last just one match; the final! He played in the Super Cup against UEFA Cup winner Dynamo Kiev and Hagi managed to score the only goal of the match, from a superb free kick. After this feat his contract was prolonged and Hagi played for Steaua another 3 seasons, in which he scored 76 goals in 97 matches, before being picked up by Spanish giant Real Madrid.

Hagi spent 2 seasons at Madrid, but unfortunately didn't manage to win any trophies in Spain with either Real or FC Barcelona. He played 67 matches for Real, scoring 15 goals but he found it hard to adapt to the Spanish soccer and lifestyle, so he decided to move to Brescia in Italy's Serie B (Second Division) where he would be coached by one of his career's mentors, Mircea Lucescu. Winning promotion with Brescia, Hagi was on his way for fame again, but unfortunately Brescia dropped right back in Serie B after one season and Hagi was still in his career's prime and did not want to waste away in a second division, be it the second division of the most powerful championship in the World at that time. His move from Brescia to FC Barcelona saw him return to the Spanish championship but this time with even less success than at Real, since he only played 35 matches for Barca, scoring a total of 7 goals and not winning any trophies.

In 1996, he decided to move closer to home and play for Turkish side Galatasaray Istanbul. Already 31 yo, many rushed to say that Hagi was a finished player, but at Galatasaray he had the best time of his career. The Turkish club team won the UEFA Cup title in 2000. Prior to his retirement in 2001, he won 125 international caps, scoring 35 goals.

Hagi has since returned to football as a coach. He became the head coach of the Romanian National Team in 2001. He then took over as coach of Turkish first division side Bursaspor but left that club after a disappointing start to the season. After a 18 month hiatus spent running a coastal Black Sea hotel and appearing in television commercials, he then returned to club management at the helm of the club at which he won his first European trophy, Galatasaray. In November 2005, Gheorghe Hagi took over as manager at FCU Politehnica Timişoara.

Hagi is ethnically Aromanian. In March 2004, he was named among the FIFA Top 100 living footballers by Pelé.

Viscri fortified church

The village of Viscri (German: Deutschweißkirch or simply Weißkirch; Hungarian: Szászfehéregyháza), is part of Buneşti commune in Braşov county and is best known for its highly fortified church, originally built around 1100 AD. It is part of the villages with fortified churches in Transylvania, designated in 1993 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The church was built in the 12th century by Szekely (Szeklers, Hungarian ethnics) colonists and taken over by Saxons colonists in 1185. In the 12th century, that is in the first stage of German colonization in Transylvania, the Saxons had built a Romanesque church, which, having been pulled down by the Tartar invasion in 1241-1242, was replaced by an edifice which has been preserved to the day.

Though small in size, the Gothic Church at Viscri impresses by the grandeur of its walls made of roughly shaped stones. The plan of the former Saxon Romanesque church had been simple, with a single nave, a flat ceiling and a semicircular apse on its eastern side. In the 13th century a keep was built onto the west of the church, the choir was extended eastward and shortly afterward the church was enlarged as far as to the tower. During a third phase of construction at the end of 15th century, the church was converted into a fortified church by adding battlements to the choir and the West Tower. In the chancel one can see what was left of a Romanesque pillar, ended in a cornice capitel (actually the only one known in Transylvania), alongside a triumphal arch left also form the former church. After 1743 a covered corridor for the storage of corn was built. A century later, two chambers in the defense corridor of the bastion were turned into school rooms. The classic 19th century altar has as centerpiece "the Blessing of the Children" by the painter J. Paukratz from Rupea. The font was made from a capital of the 13th century church. The furniture of the Church is decorated with folk Saxon motifs.

The residence tower alongside its outbuildings placed in an oval enclosure that had once (in the 13th century) been home to the village's headman were actually the core of the Peasant Fortress built in the 14th century, and restored, together with the Church, in the 16th century. The Fortress has two precinct walls. The inner one, provided with four towers and two bastions, has been preserved to the day. On the wall, one can still read that restoration works were made in the 17th century under the guidance of architect Hartmann, and having the following motto ‘In pace de bello et in bello de pace cogitatis'.

Mention should be made of the covered wall-walk of the fortification, linked to the four towers and to the Church. At times of war, it would allow people's safe moving along within the Fortress. The fortification has a stone arched entrance and four upper levels which can be reached by the wall carved steps. The walls have a depth of five meters which were built from the nearby river's stones.

The Church and the Peasant Fortress display three different building materials, namely stone mixed with partially plastered brick for the precinct walls, towers, as well as for the Church's walls and spire; wood used to encircle the precinct walls and the towers, and placed below the cornices and along the bracket corridors; tile which covers the Church's and the towers' tall roofs. Their corresponding colors, i.e. white, brown and red make the buildings' complex look particularly picturesque. To this effect contribute also the Church's buttresses, with lateral entrances to the nave, alongside the very narrow space left between the Church and the Fortress, keeping with the rural styles during the Middle Ages.

Official Promos

The official promos for the campaign "Romania - Land of Choice" released by the Romanian Ministry of Tourism.

Saschiz fortified church and fortress

Saschiz (German: Keisd, Transylvanian Saxon Kisd, Hungarian: Szászkézd) is a commune in Mureş County, Romania. It has a population of 2,048: 88% Romanians, 5% Germans, 4% Hungarians and 3% Roma. The commune has a fortified church, designated in 1993 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saschiz has been first mentioned in writing in 1305. In 1419 it counted several guilds, of which those set up by shoemakers, carpenters and house painters. By that time, Saschiz boasted several schools, a hospital, Turkish bath-house and a court-house. On the 12th of May 1678, the town of Saschiz fell under Sighişoara's administrative jurisdiction by a decision of Transylvania's Diet. The settlement is known for its folk pottery (of a zgraphitocobalt type) since 1702, as well as for its folk costumes and fabrics.

On the premises of a Romanesque church, a great fortified church was erected in 1493. A couple of preserved documents certify subsidies given by the Province of Sibiu from 1494 to 1525 for the construction of the church. The township was even given Papal indulgence from 1503 to 1507 and was furthermore exempted from supporting the military troupes with accommodation and supplies as the official Johan Polder had established. It draws attention by the expressive beauty of its proportions, and by a rigorous adaptation of a typical fortification's elements to the requirements of a church. The fortified level is placed over the nave and choir, making the edifice look like a huge bastion. The bulwark of the wall-walk is pushed forward by the bracket over the massive arches placed on top of the stone and brick buttresses. Behind the arches one can see the slits of the loop-holes.

The Church holds one of the most beautiful chalices made by the goldsmiths in Transylvania. The chalice of the Evangelical Church at Saschiz is richly adorned, with its leg decorated with beams, an inscription and a trimming with lily flowers. On the leg of the chalice are carved the portraits of three Hungarian kings, i.e. Stephen, Emeric and Ladislas.

The Tower at Saschiz is one of the most beautiful examples of Saxon architecture in Transylvania. The spire of the Tower has the shape of a pointed pyramid, it is covered with coloured enameled tiles, and is richly decorated. Its top level below the cover of the roof is slightly protruded, being held up by a bracket, and supported on a row of narrow arches that hold the loop-holes on the cornice. Its defensive role was strengthened by the elevation of the vestry with solid masonry. The twelve skylights, three on each side of the Tower, the four turrets on its corners, and the highly pointed spire with its bulb-shaped iron-plated base, make it look like the building that actually inspired it the Clock Tower at Sighişoara.

In the old days the settlement was surrounded by a defensive wall. Its remains are the present enclosure of the premises. The fortified church was also watched over by the stronghold built on the hill next from the village.

The Fortified peasant fortress stands on a wooded hill close to the village and has an ellipsoidal plan, tall walls and towers. The Old fortress of Saschiz, as it is also called, just like the Rasnov fortress, is not a typical fortification for Transylvania. The construction of the refuge fortress evinces the transition from the Romanesque to the Gothic architectural styles in Transylvania, which was put an end to in the 14th century. This is proved by the Fortress' bent roof and loop-holes provided with a wooden beam that would rotate in order to ensure a better aiming at the enemy. This system of arrow loops and fire holes is also to be found at the fortresses of Rupea and Prejmer. The stone walls of the Fortress are 7-9 m tall, and they are fortified by square defensive towers. The towers' names, i.e. the School Tower, the Fire Powder Tower, the Priests' Tower, the Princess' Tower, the Guard's Tower indicate that the village community was well organized. The Old Fortress has kept a 65 m deep fountain to the day.

Dârjiu fortified church

Dârjiu (Hungarian: Székelyderzs) is a commune in Harghita County, Romania comprising of 2 villages: Dârjiu and Mujna. The commune has an absolute Szekler (Székely - Hungarian) majority (98.3%) and it is situated 18 km away from Sighişoara on a county road. Szeklers are a Hungarian ethnic group mostly living in the counties of Harghita, Covasna and a part of Mureş counties. Dârjiu was first mentioned in writing in 1334, but on its present territory have been discovered early human traces dating from the neolithic age.

The village of Dârjiu is home to a 13th century fortified church, which is today Unitarian, and is on UNESCO's World Heritage Sites List. Unitariansm was an official religion in Transylvania from the 1583 Mediaş (Hungarian: Medgyes) parliament. The first bishop was Ferenc Dávid, a local Hungarian-speaking Saxon.

Formerly built in the Romanesque style (14th and 15th centuries), the Church acquired a Gothic aspect in 1640, under the rule of Transylvania's prince György Rákóczi I (1630-1648). Fortified in 1400, it has a rectangular precinct with high walls, strengthened by five towers. The Gate Tower preserves its original aspect, with massive masonry pierced by loop-holes provided with wooden shutters. The fortified church was embellished by Gothic rib vaults; unfortunately, the rib embedding process damaged many of the original murals dating from 1419.

The fortified storey covers both the nave and the choir, while the parapet of the wall-walk supported on corbels is placed over the buttresses. This set-up facilitates the wide opening of the loop-holes below the cornice. Although designed for utility purposes, these loop-holes have a special decorative effect. So has the stairway to the organ, dating from 1837. Placed on the eastern side of the building, the stairway is massively carved in rigorously cut planes. The church has the overall aspect of a bastion, with a high roof and no towers. The precinct is covered by an inner roof below which can be seen the supply cells where the villagers have stored their hams to the day. The church has a big bell dating from 1612, which was donated to it by Ioan Petki, a general in the Székelys' army and a chancellor of Transylvania. In the northwestern corner of the church there is a deep fountain that used to supply water during wars.

The fortified church at Dârjiu is well-known due to its murals discovered in 1887. Their author is master painter Paul, Stephen of Ung's son, born in Slovakia. Educated in an eclectic environment, the painter would blend the Gothic and the Italian Renaissance styles. The artist depicted himself on one of the frescoes. Close to him, on a flag that waves somewhere over his head, there is an inscription in Latin written in Gothic small letters which says "This work was done and prepared by master painter Paul, son of Stephen of Ung, fourteen nineteen A.D. I was writing and thinking of a beautiful girl". This text shows the artist's surprising freedom of expression, as well as the fact that in 1419, the Transylvanian society was not at all far from the Renaissance spirit.

Unfortunately, very few of the initial murals have been preserved to the day. Most of them were effaced when the bracket rib vaults were built, by the end of the 15th century, and also, later on, in the 17th century, when a gallery was added. Murals depict Apostle Paul's Conversion, the Martyrdom of the 10,000, as well as several likenesses of sanctified bishops. The most valuable paintings are those relating to King Ladislas' Legend (In the Pursuit of the Cumanian, The Wrestle, The Cumanian's Defeat and Killing, Ladislas' Rest). The frescoes inside the church are considered the most impressive creations from medieval Transylvania.

The villagers keep their grains in the fortress even today. The same with the ham, bacon, lard and smoked pork products, which are kept in the bastions. As concerns the grains, they can take them home every morning but the pork products only once a week (Internet infos compilation).

Biertan fortified church

Biertan (German: Birthälm, Romani: Biyertan, Hungarian: Berethalom) is a commune in central Romania, in the north of the Sibiu County, 80 km north of Sibiu and 15 km east of Mediaş. It is one of the most important Saxon villages with fortified churches in Transylvania, having been on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1993. It was the seat of the Lutheran Evangelical Diocese in Transylvania between 1572 and 1867. It is one of the most visited villages in Transylvania, being the historically important place of the annual reunion of the Transylvanian Saxons, many of whom now live in Germany.

Biertan is one of the first German settlements in Transylvania placed between the two "Seats" (Mediaş and Şeica) in the Andreean Diploma from 1224. The first attestation of its name has been certified since 1283, in a document about the taxes demanded by the Catholic Capital from Alba Iulia to the Catholic priests from the Transylvanian Saxon communities. As any other Transylvanian Saxon Community, it had an urban organization, being noticed the franconic style of the rows of houses around the central square overlooked by a grandiose fortress-church.

This heavily fortified church sits on a hilltop in the center of Biertan village. The church was mentioned for the first time in 1402; most likely a Gothic basilica, it was completely demolished. The only remains of the original church are some stone vault ribs and a few bosses.

Today’s church is a hall-shaped church with a chief nave and two side-aisles. The four-bay church has a 5/8 apse and was built between 1500 and 1525, during the time of Priest “Baccalaureus Johannis”. The church has net-shaped brick-ribbed vaults over its entire ceiling.

Late-Gothic and Renaissance stone masonry is also preserved, including doorways, brackets, the pulpit, and other items. The wooden furniture, the doors, and the folding triptych date back to the beginning of the 16th century. Inside the church the late Gothic shrine, in the form of a triptych was realized in more stages between 1515-1524. The pews are made between 1514-1523 by Reychmut from Sighişoara and are ones of the most valuable pews of this kind from Transylvania. The Europa Nostra restoration from 1978 to 1991 revealed parts of the former paintings and inscriptions.

The pulpit was made in 1523 by the stone carver Ulrich, from Braşov. The painting on the wood of the pulpit is from 1754. The pulpit is impressive for the biblical scenes reproduction and for the adornment with architectural and vegetal motifs very carefully painted in the transition style from Gothic to Renaissance.

An organ existed in a church since 1523 (the organ player Bartholomaeus is mentioned); it was replaced in 1731, in 1785 (by Samuel Metz), then in 1869, when the Hessian Company in Vienna built a new organ with 1290 tubes, 2 manuals, pedals and 25 registers.

The artist Johannes Reichmuth from Sighişoara made in 1515 the special door of the vestry. The vestry has an intricate blocking system of the door which moved simultaneously 15 lockers. The room of the vestry shielded the treasure of the church and of the village when there was a siedge. In this room there can stil be seen tools of the Transylvanian crafters, paintings, jugs and bowls in Renaissance style.

On the southern part of the upper plateau, the "Catholic Tower" contains preserved fresco paintings from the mid-15th century. The two shielding walls, which partially lie on arches, are strengthened by many towers and a bastion. To reach the upper plateau of the fortress, one must pass four gate-towers. The outer wall, situated mostly at the base of the hill, is strengthened to the west and south by two fortified zwingers with gate towers.

Câlnic Fortress

Câlnic (German: Kelling, Hungarian: Kálnok) is a commune in Alba County, Romania, composed of Câlnic and Deal villages. Câlnic village is known for its castle, which is on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.

The name of the settlement comes from the slave "kal" or "kalinik (= clay, clayey). The Saxon name of the locality is Kelling and is coming from the early masters, the nobles Kelling. They were greavi of Câlnic (Saxon: Graeve or Gräve, German: Graf, Hungarian: Grof - meaning great landlord or earl) and they are mentioned from 1267, 1269 and 1309. One of them, Chyl de Kelling, built in the middle of the 13th century the dungeon of Câlnic and used it as housing. Chyl then bought Blaj and his followers have continued to buy the villages of Cut, Vingard and many other territories. At Câlnic was found prehistoric material, and vague medieval traces from the 11-12th centuries, but the medieval settlement itself dates from the 12-13th centuries. The most consistent area is corresponding to the consolidation of power of the Saxon earls (1267).

Reconstruction by Radu Oltean (click photo to enlarge)

The first residence contained a quadrilateral hall (probably an initial dungeon or a rectangular altar of the Chapel). The dungeon was built around 1272 and has a rectangular shape. It was called the Siegfried Tower, and the thickness of the walls reach one meter. Initially was only 14 m high, but was subsequently raised to 20 m. At the ground floor was a cellar with a semi-cylinder dome, same for the first floor, but the other levels have no dome, but a ceiling. On the first floor there is a fireplace, and were founded fragments of enameled tiles. During the 1962-1964 restoration was discovered a clover-shaped bipartite window, indicating an early Gothic phase, perhaps in the second half of 13th century.

The fortress has been designed with a inhabited massive rectangular keep protected by an oval precinct, fortified with defense tower to the south, a rectangular gate tower to the northwest and probably filled by a drawbridge; it was probably a ditch 3 m deep and 10 m wide. Subsequently was built the chapel, dated by coins from the time of kings Bela IV and Stefan V. Restoration work and pickling have revealed the existence of three rectangular windows slightly arched at the top on the west wall and one on the southern wall. The two Gothic windows, visible today, were built later and dates from the mid-14th century. The triumphal arch store the remains of two successive murals, the latest being a bust of Christ.

The last descendant of the noble family sold the fortress to the Saxon peasant community of Câlnic. Beginning with the first half of the 14th century, the community started to erect a new wall, to fortify the gate-tower by a barbican and to build a chapel in the courtyard, on the ruins of the former construction. One can find fragments of a fresco from the beginning of the 16th century, a wooden stand on the west side from 1733, decorated with panels painted in the floral Renaissance style, inspired from folk art. Provision larders have been built in the courtyard, along the walls, to be used in times of affliction. The raising of the second precinct in the 15th century was followed by the ranging in tiers of the keep by two floors, reaching a height of more than 20 meters, ensuring thus an efficiency of the fire arms beyond the exterior wall.

The fortress was restored between 1962-1964 by the Romanian Board for Historical Monuments, and today has been transformed into an international scientific and cultural center.