Bethlen Castle

Bethlen Castle


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One of the most important citadels in Romania is the Bethlen Haller Castle from Cetatea de Balta Commune, Alba County.


Located at 20 kilometres from Tarnaveni towards Blaj, on DJ 107, the castle represents true monument of the Renaissance architecture with Baroque influences.


The castle on the banks of small Tarnava seems to have appeared out of nowhere, as the year of construction and the beneficiary is not clear. However what is known for certain is that the original building was destroyed, and the current one was built around 1600, on a land owned by Stefan Bethlen, brother of Prince of Transylvania at that time.


It was meant to be a noble residence without defensive purposes; therefore, the castle was not designed as a refuge in case of enemy attacks, although it possesses five round towers giving the aspect of a fortress. Four of the towers of the castle from Cetatea de Balta are built in the corners of the building, while the fifth is on a side.


The castle has basement, ground floor, first floor and attic, maintaining the characteristics specific to the Renaissance times of Transylvania, but without interior yard. The ground floor of the castle used to host the servants’ rooms in the past, while the seniors’ main rooms were at the first floor.


The first process of restoration of the castle began in the second part of the XVIII century, when important modernizations in Baroque style were made especially in the interior.


The modernization works were completed in 1773, the date being certified by a memorial inscription in Latin, located behind the castle, which can be translated more or less like this: Miklós Bethlen, the illustrious count, regional Chancellor of the State and Government, Royal Treasurer and Adviser over the great Principality of Transylvania, ordered this castle to be renovated and decorated in 1773.


The second name of the castle, Haller, was given by another Transylvanian noble branch, who bought the residence from the Bethlen Family in late nineteenth century. After the post-war nationalization, the castle forcedly became the State property, a champagne manufacturing section being founded here.


Since 2003, the Castle has gone through a new stage of arrangement, especially in the basement and the ground floor and the castle stairs were also replaced.

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