Gorneşti (Hungarian: Gernyeszeg) is a commune in Mureş County, Romania. It is situated on Mureş River, 17 km from Târgu-Mureş and has a Székely Hungarian majority (75%). The village was documentary attested in 1319 (as Knezeg), when the king of Hungary, Carol Robert of Anjou, donated it to the Prince of Transylvania, Szecseny Tamas. The Szecseny family owned the domain until 1395, when changed some properties with a certain Zsigmund. Between 1405-1642 it belonged to Erdelyi of Somkerek, then was in possession of the Teleki family until 1949. It seems that in the 15th-16th centuries here was a landlord residence, fortified with walls and water ditches.
Teleki is a prominent name in the history of Transylvania and Hungary. The aristocratic family was actively involved throughout the centuries in both political-administrative and cultural activities. In 1685, Mihaly Teleki (1634-1690) became Count of the Holy Roman Empire, receiving the title from Emperor Leopold I. But the most famous family member was Sámuel Teleki (1739-1822), chancellor of Transylvania and founder of the Teleki Library in Târgu-Mureş. The most interesting character in the family is certainly the famous explorer of Africa, Sámuel Teleki (1845-1916).
The castle, built between 1771-1778 and finalized in 1802 by Count László Teleki, is a representative example of Baroque architecture in Transylvania. The project seems to be realized by architect Andreas Mayerhoffer from Salzburg, the castle resembling with the palaces Pécel and Godollo made by him. It was built into an impressive arboretum, in so-called Grassalkovich style, very popular in Budapest, and is the only one in Transylvania that hosts a Baroque statues park.
The U-shaped architectural composition is balanced, the central body is "en decroche" and the decorative elements are elegantly articulated. The facade is marked in its center by a raised risalit with rounded corners. The high roof with a huge cupola in the middle has skylights and a clock on top. From the main body of the building starts two wings to the garden. The castle has 52 rooms and 365 windows, symbolizing the weeks and days of the year.
In the Baroque period, the emphasis was on illustrating the social status. In this residence, this is highlighted by space representation, main hall, monumental staircase, rooms for receptions, areas for study - especially the library - and spaces for different types of artistic performances.
The explorer Sámuel Teleki (1845-1916) kept in the castle his collection of illustrations and the family's library, including 6,000 volumes. Unfortunately, a large part of it was destroyed during the two world wars. Count Domokos Teleki (1880-1955), a carpet collector and scholar, kept his Oriental and Occidental rugs in Gorneşti Castle. Unfortunately the Teleki Collection was never published, although its richness can be guessed at from a few pieces now in the Hungarian National Museum and in the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts, among them a 17th century Ushak medallion carpet fragment (numbered 1292 in the Teleki Collection inventory!).
The garden started to be laid out between the building and the moat in 1782, during the ownership of József I Teleki. The earliest known garden scheme, dating from c.1792, features ornamental parterres. However, József I Teleki, probably inspired by Rousseau, with whom he was personally acquainted, wished to lay out a landscape garden at that time.
In the early decades of the 19th century, his son József II Teleki, who had traveled in England as well, brought the landscape garden to completion. For this purpose, the moat at certain points was widened to form pools, and filled up at others. The garden's most significant edifice is József II Teleki's monument erected by his widow after his death in 1817 in the middle of the park. A design dating from 1831 features, in addition, a gloriette and an obelisk. A fine collection of deciduous trees were enriched with conifers from the 1850s.
The garden's last significant phase of improvement took place at the beginning of the 20th century when Domokos Teleki aquired some 18th-century statuary for the park. Seven mythological statues may originally have stood in the garden of Starhemberg Palace in Vienna before being transported to a private garden in Buda in the 19th century. Also among these newly acquired statues is a group of four gnomes, originally part of a series. Park paths and banks of ponds were decorated with numerous allegorical statues, but busts, such as Mirabeau's or Louis XVI, works by sculptor Martinelli.
The last owner of the castle, Count Mihaly Teleki, donated it to the sanitary authorities of Romania. At the moment, the castle shelters the Tuberculosis Observation Sanatorium and it is claimed in court.
Photos from here.
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