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THE CASTLES AROUND ARAD

For the visitors from all over the world, Arad is a priceless archeological treasure, which houses a wide range of fortresses and castles that bear the print of important historical figures. Numerous Transylvanian vestiges and their novel landscapes turned MureÅŸ Valley into the Eastern-European Loire Valley. A tour of Arad County offers trip lovers and those who admire unique monuments a magnificent opportunity to come in contact with the testimonies of the previous civilizations. Furthermore, if you are a music, photography or extreme sports buff you will find appropriate places to practice your hobbies in these lands.

Although it was attested in documents only in 1028, Arad dates from the end of the 6th century B.C., a period when the fortresses on the inferior course of the MureÅŸ (Ziridava, Savarin, Varadia, Cladova) were part of Burebista’s state defense system and later, of Decebal’s kingdom. After the Roman conquest, the territories north of MureÅŸ were included in Dacia province, falling under the rule of several migratory peoples like the Goths, the Huns, the Gepids, the Avars, the Slavs. The 11th century marks the beginning of the Magyar rule in Transylvania, as the Romanian voivodeships in Arad were also defeated by the Hungarian army. The Ottoman and Habsburg dominations succeeded in the area; hence, Arad has been highly influenced by these civilizations.

The historical events in the south of CriÅŸana can be learned by visiting the famous fortresses and distinguished palaces that still tell their stories today. We invite you to discover the legends of the Romanian people written in stone, during a surprising and fascinating journey.

Mures river

 

Savarsin Garden

The Royal Castle at SăvârÅŸin

An emblem of the Romanian royalty, the Castle at SăvârÅŸin is set in a fairytale-like décor, at the foot of the Metaliferi Mountains, on the shore of the MureÅŸ, an ideal space to continue their noble calling. At the end of the 17th century, the palace was the property of the Forray Magyar family. Set on fire and restored repeatedly, the edifice gained its final form two centuries later, when it was rebuilt in a neoclassical style. In 1943, King Michael I took over the estate at SăvârÅŸin, turning it into a royal residence.

In the park of the castle, among the lofty secular trees, there is a lake surrounding an islet. At the end of the wooden bridge across the water, a coquettish gazebo invites you to an afternoon spent in quietness and fresh air, contemplating the splendid and generous nature. The intimacy of the place, the perfect peace, the unique view of the palace which has preserved its charm, they all project you within a fairytale world. The recent restoration works, based on the information and advice of King Michael, restored the castle its look and former prestige. It will be soon included in the tourist circuit, offering even accommodation spaces.

Savarsin Royal Castle

 

Savarsin Royal Castle

 

Savarsin Royal Castle

ÅžoimoÅŸ Fortress

The medieval fortresses around Arad remind of famous characters in the history of the principality. Raised between the 13th and the 15th century, in strategic locations, they had a surveillance and a defense role against the invaders. The fortifications had a similar destiny: initially, they were conquered by the Turks, then they went under the voivodes’ rule, being finally destroyed by the armies of the Habsburg Empire. An old legend in CriÅŸana says that Åžiria, ÅžoimoÅŸ and Dezna Fortresses were built by three sisters. When they met, two of them said that they can raise their fortresses in one day, with the help of God. The third sister defied divinity’s support, considering that she can raise her own fortification. The girls saw their plans finalized at the end of the day, but not for long, as all the fortifications crashed. The young women quickly turned into snakes, wearing golden crowns on their heads and a key in their mouths. It is said that when the sisters are released from this curse, their fortresses will reappear from their own ruins.

One of the most important fortresses in the area is Şoimoş, situated 34 kilometers south-east of Arad, at the intersection of the Mureş Corridor with Zarandului Mountains, the Western Romanian Plain and Lipova Hills. The name comes from hawk breeding (in Romanian ʹşoimʹ means ʹhawkʹ), an intensely practiced activity in this area during the Middle Ages. The fortress was founded by the Severin noble family, having successive rulers. Finally, under the rule of the Hunedoreşti, it was rebuilt by John Hunyadi. What followed was another period of sieges until mid-16th century, when Şoimoş became the residence of Prince John Sigismund and was beautified according to the renaissance style. The fortress, one of the biggest in the west of the country, lost its military importance after its deterioration, remaining in ruins.

From its choline, the fortification at ÅžoimoÅŸ offers an amazing view over MureÅŸ Valley, shaded here and there by the trees. The quietness of the place invites to introspection and recharging your batteries, for the bright green surrounding the fortress from all around fills you with energy. Nearby you can visit Radna Monastery, founded by the Franciscan monks in a period when Banat region was ruled by the Turks. Rebuilt repeatedly after the Lipova invasions, the halidom is a representative of the baroque style. If you arrive in this area, don’t hesitate to spend a few moments in this holy place.

Soimos Fortress

 

Soimos Fortress

 

3D Reconstruction of Soimos Fortress

The Mocioni Castles

Among the architectural jewels of Arad County there are the residences of Mocioni family, two castles of perfect proportions and incredible beauty. The edifice in CăpâlnaÅŸ village, BirchiÅŸ commune, rises from behind a wall of trees and from whichever angle you look at it, its majestic and elegant silhouette reminds of fairytales with princesses. The castle has its own story, one that speaks of the Mocioni noble genealogy, known in Transylvania thanks to its dedicated efforts spent in the benefit of the Romanian people. Eugen and Alexandru Mocioni have made their residence into a welcoming space, where the representatives of the Romanian culture often used to meet.

Political reunions and classical music concerts were held in an atmosphere of balance and discipline, characteristic for the spiritual aristocracy.

Built at the middle of the 19th century and inspired by the architecture of the Petit Trianon in Versailles, the Mocioni-Teleki Castle catches your eye.  Surrounded by a wild park, it is presently a psychiatry hospital. Well preserved, the building still attracts tourists curious to learn certain details from the lives of the nobles who succeeded at the palace. The second residence of the family, the castle at Bulci, was one of the favorite places of the Royal family. Massive, distinguished, surrounded by exotic trees, it degraded in time after the nationalization, having different functionalities. In summer, during the Bulci Festival, rock and folk music lovers gather at the palace, for a weekend full of fun in the middle of nature.

Mocioni Castle Capalnas

 

Mocioni Castle Bulci

Ineu Fortress

Ineu Fortress pretty much went through the same stages as ÅžoimoÅŸ and Åžiria. Raised at the end of the 13th century, it initially had a defense role against the Ottomans. Being conquered by the Turks, it came under the rule of Michael the Brave and then under the occupation of Hapsburg troops. An architectural piece of late Renaissance, the fortification knew both glorious times and periods of decline and poverty.

At Ineu you will see the ruins of the interior fortress, surrounded by four circular bastions, the most prominent being the one from the CriÅŸul Alb. Many of the decorative elements have disappeared or have been hidden by unsuccessful renovations. Appreciated for its rich history, the fortress waits to regain its past glow. The investments would not only restore its spirit, but they would also turn it into a space for cultural events, thus revitalizing the entire area.

Ineu Fortress

 

Ineu Fortress

The fortresses and the castles in Arad are veiled in the tunes of old music, for these historical monuments house many festivals of this sort. Marking the destiny of Transylvania, the vestiges need the authorities’ increased interest. Restored and reincluded in organized tourist circuits, these valuable architectonical jewels could continue to tell their stories.

[An article written by Andreea Bertea]