Peleș Castle

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Peleș Castle: A Romanian Masterpiece

With a charming history and impressive architecture, Peleș Castle in Sinaia stands as a symbol of royal refinement in the heart of Romania. Built between 1873 and 1914, this royal palace was the favorite summer residence of King Carol I and Queen Elisabeth. 

Situated at the foot of the Bucegi Mountains, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Peleș River and the Piatra Arsă massif, the castle shines in all its historical and artistic splendor. From the remarkable architectural details to the enchanting stories from its past, Peleș Castle remains a monument of exceptional significance not only for Romania, but for the whole of Europe. Read on to discover the story behind the Peleș Castle!

How do you get to the Castle?

If you’re traveling by car and want to visit Peleș Castle, there are several options. From Brașov, the distance to the castle is approximately 44 kilometers, and from Bucharest about 122 kilometers, on the E60 (DN1) European road. This route is well marked and easy to follow, offering travelers a pleasant and comfortable journey.

Once you reach Sinaia, there is a designated parking area near the castle, where you can safely leave your car. From there you will have to take a short walk to reach Peleș Castle with the final part of the route offering picturesque and enjoyable scenery.

On the other hand, if you’re using public transport, you can take the train from Brașov to Sinaia, and from there it’s just a short walk of about 30 minutes or you can take a taxi.

General description of the Peleș Domain and the Castle

The Peleș and Castle Domain

Peleș Castle is a treasure in the historical landscape of Romania and 19th century Europe. It was created on the initiative of Prince Carol I, following his encounter with the natural beauty of the area in 1866. Construction began in 1873 under the guidance of renowned architects Johannes Schultz, Carol Benesch and Karel Liman, who made considerable efforts to tame the whims of nature, thus allowing the emergence of a true architectural masterpiece. 

Peleș not only served as a summer residence for the Romanian royal family, but also witnessed historical significant events. It hosted important political meetings, such as the Crown Councils of 1914 and 1925, as well as memorable encounters with prominent personalities of the time, including kings, queens, writers and musicians. The most notable visit was that of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary in 1896, who was enchanted by the splendor and richness of the castle. Despite the passage of time and political changes, Peleș Castle remains a jewel of European architecture and history, still attracting the attention and admiration of visitors from all over the world.

The history of Peleș Castle

The history of Peleș Castle

Steeped in history and elegance, Peleș Castle and Pelișor Castle are two architectural treasures in the heart of Romania. Built between 1899 and 1902 by King Carol I for the future King Ferdinand I and Queen Mary of Romania, these monuments impress with their timeless beauty.

Peleș Castle, with its imposing architecture combining elements of German Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-Renaissance styles, attracts visitors from all over the world and offers them an insight into the history and culture of royal Romania.

Just a few steps away from Peleș Castle is Pelișor Castle, a smaller but equally impressive gem. Intended as a summer residence for Prince Ferdinand and Princess Mary of Romania, Pelișorul exudes an intimate and refined atmosphere. Adorned with lavish decorations and intricate details, this castle offers a glimpse into the aristocratic life of past times and the couple’s royal tastes.

About Peleș Castle

Founded on the initiative of Prince Carol I in 1872, the castle was an ambitious project, which was completed in 1914, marking a special period in Romanian history.

Peleș Castle became more than just a royal summer residence. It hosted important political meetings, such as the Crown Councils of 1914 and 1925, and was the site of landmark events in Romanian history, including the birth and baptism of King Carol II and the birth of King Mihai I. Over the years, the castle has been an important cultural and social center, attracting prominent personalities from all over Europe.

Today, visitors are invited to explore the 160 rooms, admire the beauty of the architectural details and enjoy the atmosphere filled with history and elegance that still reigns in these imposing chambers.

About Pelișor Castle

Pelișor Castle

Pelișor Castle rises majestically on the valley of Peleș stream with history and story behind it. Built in a style that masterfully blends European architectural influences with specific Romanian elements, where every detail blends perfectly. King Carol I showed his passion for art and for his adopted country by building this castle, and for the future King Ferdinand I and Queen Mary it was not only a home, but a shrine to their noble aspirations.

This castle represents a combination of Queen Mary’s aesthetic taste and artistic vision. Elements of „Art Nouveau” can be found in every corner of this palace, illustrating both a historical period and an inner world full of passion and sensitivity. Through her daring artistic endeavors, Queen Mary transformed the Pelișor Castle into a cultural treasure, where every room and every ornament tells a story of its mystery and charm. 

Castle architecture

The architecture of Peleș Castle reflects a sublime blend of various European influences, mirroring the refined tastes of Romanian royalty in the 19th century. Initially, the plans were rejected for their lack of originality and high cost, but the German architect Johannes Schultz succeeded in creating a grand and distinctive architectural plan. Inspired by classical elements of European architecture, the castle combines Italian aesthetics with German elegance and functionality in an ensemble that delights the eye and stimulates the imagination. The construction, carefully supervised by Czech architect Karel Liman, took more than two decades, but the result is a masterpiece that impresses and inspires.

The exhibitions at Peleș Castle

The castle houses a variety of exhibitions illustrating aspects of Romanian history and culture. Here are some of them:

  • The temporary exhibition „Crown Prince Carol of Romania”;
  • The temporary exhibition „The Royal Hunts”;
  • The exhibition „Mihai I – A Century of History”;
  • Painting „Emotions in colors” – Agnes Andrei. 

The collections at Peleș Castle 

Peleș Castle, the summer royal residence, is one of the most significant museums in Romania due to its varied and highly valuable collections. In addition to the famous collection of more than 200 paintings, King Carol I initiated and developed a remarkable collection of decorative art, carefully assembled over approximately five decades of his reign. This collection includes pieces of furniture, weapons, tapestries, carpets, precious metalwork, glassware and ceramics, representing creations from the most prestigious workshops and manufactories of the time.

  • The ceramics collection – offers a remarkable diversity, illustrating the craftsmanship of oriental crafts, such as Persian and Turkish Iznik ceramics, alongside the stylistic richness of European ceramics in the 19th-century, including faience with historical and ideological values from the Renaissance and decorative pieces from Spanish workshops;
  • Clock collection – Most of the pieces were acquired by King Carol I of Romania, known for his punctuality, but the collection also includes clocks belonging to Queen Mary, King Carol II and a clock received by King Mihai;
  • Silver and base metal collection – The collection, consisting of about 5500 pieces, includes objects of particular artistic and documentary value, belonging to kings, queens and other personalities of the Romanian Royal House and their contemporaries;
  • Glassware Collection – The glassware collection of the National Museum of Peleș, consisting of over 1500 pieces, is made up of two important stages: the acquisitions and commissions made by the Royal Family between 1866 and 1941 and the acquisitions made by the Peleș Museum between 1969 and 1974.

Remarkable people in the history of Peleș Castle

  • King Carol I;
  • King Mihai I; 
  • Queen Mary;
  • Queen Elizabeth; 
  • King Ferdinand I; 
  • King Carol II;
  • Queen – Mother Elena. 

Peleș Castle during the communist period

During the communist period, Peleș Castle underwent dramatic transformations. Confiscated by the communist regime in 1948, it was turned into a museum in 1953, but public access was restricted between 1975 and 1989. Nicolae Ceaușescu ordered the closure of the estate to the public and considered using it as a protocol residence. However, concerns about conserving the structure limited its use, and visits inside remained rare and cautious.

Present – What you can visit at Peleș Castle

Discover the rich history and incomparable beauty of Peleș Castle, an architectural treasure located in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains. As you step inside, you will be captivated by the splendor of the Hall of Honour, decorated with precious wood and subtle statuettes. Here, the movable ceiling offers a unique experience, revealing the starry summer night sky. In addition to these wonders, you’ll have the opportunity to explore an impressive collection of antique weapons, enjoy the beauty of the Royal Library and let yourself be carried away by the music in the Concert Hall. Each corner hides fascinating stories and precious artifacts, inviting you to enter the fascinating realm of history and royal luxury.

Main attractions in Peleș Castle

  • The Hall of Honour: The walnut paneling and bas-reliefs take you on a journey through time, and the movable glass ceiling offers spectacular views of the starry sky;
  • The Royal Library: It holds rare books with leather covers engraved with gold lettering and hides a secret door for curious adventurers;
  • Armour Halls: Hold more than 4,000 European and Oriental pieces from the 14th to 17th centuries, including German armor and a complete horse and knight armor;
  • Music Hall: Furniture gifted from the Maharajah of Kapurthala complements the elegant atmosphere of this space, where Queen Elizabeth held her musical evenings;
  • The Florentine Hall (Grand Salon): Impresses with its gilded limewood carved ceiling and Italian Neo-Renaissance style decorations;
  • The Moorish Hall: With Hispano-Moorish elements and a Carrara marble fountain, it is an architectural masterpiece created by Charles Lecompte du Nouy;
  • Theatre Hall: Decorated in the Louis XIV style, it has 60 seats and a royal box, offering a royal and captivating atmosphere;
  • Concert Hall: Fitted out in 1906, it houses a harpsichord made in Antwerp in 1621, a Blüthner upright piano and a Rieger organ with two manuals, reflecting the artistic refinement of the era.

Legends and stories about Peleș Castle

Legend has it that King Carol I discovered the beauty of the Prahova Valley during a journey when his carriage broke down near what is now Sinaia. Fascinated by the landscape, he decided to build the Peleș Castle there. During the construction, it was said that golden plates and precious objects were found, but their history remains a mystery. At the Queen’s request, an extraordinarily delicate coffee service, called a “coffee shell’, was brought.

Curiosities and facts about Peleș 

Besides its architectural and historical fame, Peleș Castle hides fascinating secrets. Deep within its foundation stones lie the first Romanian coins, symbolizing independence from Ottoman suzerainty. Financed by the personal money of King Carol I, the castle was purchased after the sale of an estate in Germany, and the estate itself was bought for 1,000 “pogoane” (old Romanian unit of measure) in the Prahova Valley, when the town was just a small village named Podul Neagului.

Who does Peleș Castle belong to?

Since March 1st, 2007, the Peleș and Pelișor properties have been reacquired by the Romanian Royal Family. However, the movable assets associated with these properties remain part of the national heritage and were not included in the process of repossession. The Royal Family has leased the two properties to the state, which currently operate aws museums under the administration of the Ministry of Culture. 

Peleș Castle – rates and visiting schedule

If you want to visit Peleș Castle, here’s what you need to know first:

  • It can only be visited in an organized group through a guided tour that lasts about 45 minutes;
  • You can opt for tours in both Romanian and English, and the guide fee is included in the price of the entrance ticket;
  • You can choose shorter tours that include only the ground floor rooms or the ground and first floor, and if you want the full tour it includes the second floor rooms;
  • On Tuesdays you can only visit the ground floor;
  • The last entrance for the first tour (ground and first floor) is at 15:30;
  • The last entrance for the second tour (ground floor and two floors) is at 14:45;
  • The last entrance to the main exhibition (ground floor) is at 16:15;
  • The ticket office closes at 16:10.

To visit Peleș Castle, there are two ways to buy tickets: online, on the website, or directly from the ticket offices at Peleș or Pelișor. The prices for the visit vary depending on the options chosen.

For the basic exhibition, which includes only the ground floor of the castle, prices are as follows: 50 lei for adults, 25 lei for retired and 12.5 lei for pupils or students.

For the tour covering both the ground and first floors, the prices are 100 lei for adults, 50 lei for retired and 25 lei for pupils or students.

For a full tour covering the ground, first and second floors, the rates are 150 lei for adults, 75 lei for retired and 37.5 lei for pupils or students.

Where are you staying? Choose Transylvanian Inn for an authentic historical experience!

In search of an authentic and comforting experience in the heart of Transylvania, choose to stay at the Transylvanian Inn Villa. 

Inspired by the desire to recreate the comforting feeling of „home” the villa offers more than just accommodation – it’s a true sanctuary for mind, body, and soul. With spacious relaxation areas and carefully designed amenities, here you’ll find the opportunity to reconnect with yourself and enjoy the peace and beauty around you.

Whether you want to unwind on the outdoor terrace, savor a delicious meal prepared with local ingredients, or explore the spectacular landscapes nearby, the Transylvanian Inn Villa is the perfect choice for an unforgettable experience in Transylvania.

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