Sinaia Travel Blog› entry 18 of 28 › view all entries
On 22 August, 1875, the foundation for Pele┼č Castle, the city of Sinaia, and indeed for the country of Romania itself was established. The construction site, the Pele┼č Creek Valley, was bought on this date by ruler Carol I (Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen 1866-81, later King of Romania 1881-1914). Several other buildings, annexed to the castle, were built simultaneously: The Guard's Chambers, The Economat Building, The Foi┼čor Hunting House, The Royal Stables, and the Electrical Power Plant.
Until the completion in 1883 of Pele┼č Castle, King Carol I and Queen Elizabeth lived in Foi┼čor Villa (where King Ferdinand and Queen Mary also resided during the construction of Peli┼čor Castle). Even King Carol II lived in Foi┼čer Villa when he was King of Romania (1930-40, except in 1932-3 when the hunting house was destroyed by fire).
Pele┼č Castle was designed in the neo-Renaissance style, first by German architect
Pele┼č Castle has over 170 rooms, unlike Peli┼čor Castle which has only 70. Worthy of mention is the fact that Pele┼č Castle is the first European castle entirely lit by electrical current. This was possible because electricity was produced by its own electrical plant which was located on the bank of Pele┼č creek.
It is also important to know that Pele┼č Castle shelters one of the most important and most valuable painting collections in Europe, almost 2,000 pieces.
It is interesting to note that Ceau┼čescu did not like the castle very much and visited rarely. After the December 1989 Revolution, Pele┼č and Peli┼čor Castles were re-integrated into the tourism circuit. At this moment, The Foi┼čor Castle remains - like in the past times - a presidential residence, unlike the Economat Building and the Guard's Chambers Building where hotels, restaurants and terraces have been established. The other components of Pele┼č complex became either tourism villas or state protocol buildings. Still, the most interesting account about Pele┼č Castle remains the one that comes from Angelo de Gubernatis (1840-1913), an Italian writer, who arrived in 1898 in Sinaia, as a guest of the Royal Family:
Inaugurated in 1883, Pele┼č Castle is not only a pleasant place during summer time; it has been conceived to be also a national monument, meant to keep the trophies of the Plevna victory, which explains the simple but majestic style. The castle's courtyard - Bramantes type - with a fountain in the middle, in the most accurate Renaissance style, pleasantly surprises the visitor. The courtyard has a merry decoration, made out of plants and flowers; all round, the building's facades are animated by elegant drawings. The interior of the castle is a true wonder, due to the beauty and richness of the sculpted wood and the stained glass windows. As you get in the vestibule, you are on the Honor Staircase, in front of the most important rulers of old Romania: Holy Stephen the Great, and Michael the Brave. In a proud attitude, wearing whether a fur cap or with the gold crown on their heads, they impress through the brilliant dressing, in which the white of ermine blends with the emerald green or the red of the large mantle. On the right and on left side of the two rulers, as servant knights, four shield bearers carry the Romanian Provinces escutcheons. Inside the Queen's library, over the groups of children symbolizing poetry and science, there is the image of Ulfilas (311-383 a.d.) a Goth religious ruler, from the northem side of Danube River, translating the Bible in their language and bringing his contribution in spreading Christianity, a Christian apostle of the Romans, and the image of Dante Alighieri, the creator of western poetry. Passing the library and getting into the dormitory, we will meet the image of Genies and Allegories of Painting and Music, as well as a series of legendary themes. Inside the apartments reserved for the honor guests, a number of coat-of-arms were shining through their heraldic abundance, speaking about the ancestors of the Royal Family. But among all, the glass paintings from the Pele┼č Castle are, beyond any doubt, the most profound and shining. Here, the subjects are taken out of Alecsandri's poetry.