Corvin Castle or Hunyadi Castle, as it is also known in the specialty literature, is one of the Romanian emblematic monuments which attracts an impressive number of visitors every year.
The castle is located in south-western Transylvania, in the centre of Hunedoara County. Hunedoara, together with Hațeg Country, the region surrounding it, have constituted since the Middle Ages an important centre of Romanian culture.
The first writing on Corvin Castle dates since year 1364, being at that time a royal castle, a citadel. After year 1440, Iancu of Hunedoara initiates large-scale constructions, intending to turn the citadel into a castle. The first construction is the Chapel, then, after year 1446, he builds the Palace which incorporates the Knights Hall and the Diet Hall.
Following the death of Iancu of Hunedoara, the castle is inherited by Matei Corvin, then it goes to his son – Ioan Corvin. Between 1526-1618, the castle gets in the property of Torok family, and then in the property of the Prince Bethlen.
Prince Gabriel Bethlen modifies parts of the castle, modifications required by civil and military needs. On the eastern side, on older foundations, it is erected a building named “The Large Palace facing the Town”, composed of two levels, respectively a living room and bedrooms. Still part of the civil plan, the Diet Hall is redesigned, by removing the entire gothic architecture made of stone and its partitions and obtaining rooms with various destinations.
The modifications of military nature are represented by the construction of the White Tower and the Artillery Terrace, functioning as an open platform, ready for heavy firearms.
In year 1724, the castle becomes the property of the Hungarian state, and in 1918 it starts to be part of the patrimony of the Ministry of Romanian Cults.
The Corvin Castle is a highly important landmark, with an impressive history, which must not be missed, irrespective whether we talk about foreign or Romanian tourists. From the entrance, the medieval touch takes over the visitors and carries them back in time.
A series of legends is linked also to Corvin Castle, among the most important counting: the legend of the raven, the legend of the fountain and the legend of the bear pit.
The legend of the raven
On the coat of arms of the Corvin family it is drawn a raven holding in its beak a golden ring, the attribution of this symbol to the family having also a legend. It is said that Ioan of Hunedoara was the illegitimate son of Sigismund of Luxembourg, king of Hungary, and a beautiful woman from the Hateg Country, named Elisabeta.
To protect her against dishonesty, the king marries her with one of his brave men, Voicu, giving her at the same time a ring for the child not born yet, to be recognized when he will grow up and arrive at the royal court. During a trip made by the Voicu family, the ring is forgotten at a rest stop and a raven, attracted by the brightness of the raven, steals it trying to get away with it. The child Ioan of Hunedoara takes a bow and an arrow and catches the raven, thus recovering the ring. When he grows up and arrives at the royal court, he tells this story and the king, impressed, decides that the symbol of the Hunyadi family shall be the raven holding a golden ring in its beak.
The legend of the fountain
It is said that this fountain was dug by three Turkish men that Ioan of Hunedoara kept prisoners at the castle. Ioan promised the three men that he will release them if they dug a fountain with good water. The prisoners, hoping to be released, dug in the rock for 15 years and when they reached 28 metres in depth they eventually found the precious water.
Only that in the mean time Ioan died, and his wife, Elisabeta Szilagyi, decided not to fulfil her husband’s promise, and not to release the three Turkish men, deciding to be killed instead. The prisoners, as a death wish, asked the permission to write on the keys of the fountain the inscription: “Water, you have got, heart, no”, as a reproach for the promise made and not kept.
The legend of the bear pit
The bear pit is a narrow space between two inner walls of the Castle, which can be admired from above, from the terrace called the Ammunition Bastion. It is said that wild animals were kept there and that prisoners used to be thrown in there.