The Bethlen Castle Ruins


Monuments and Archaeological sites

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The Bethlen Family Castle is located near Sighisoara, in Cris village, Danes Commune of Mures County, in the middle of a park with secular trees.


There are circulating many legends about this noble palace of ghosts that haunt the rooms, of unshared love and even of a snake devouring the locals, until one day when a crusader killed him. The story is also found on the Bethlen Family coat of arms.


You can get to the castle on DN14 up to Danes, from Sighisoara or from Medias, then on DJ 143 up to Cris village, and you will find the Castle is exactly in the middle of the village.


The Bethlen nobles entered into the possession of these lands when a member of the family was rewarded for faith and bravery in the last crusade. Some even say the family name comes from the city of Bethleem.


From these domains, the family left a mark on the history and culture of Transylvania. We can mention Gabriel Bethlen, who was Prince of Transylvania between: 1613-1629, succeeded only for a short period of time by his older brother Stefan Bethlen.


Regarding the history of the Danes Castle, in the beginning only a wooden structure was raised having the role of defence against Tartar incursions. For 400 years, in the XIV-XVIII centuries, the construction has developed from a wooden structure to a stone building with irregular shape, with bastions added later on and presently it welcomes us with a Renaissance structure, the reason why many say it is perhaps the most beautiful castle of its kind in Transylvania.


The Bethlen Castle was at some point one of the most important libraries in Europe, when they began to print books here.


After nationalization by the communists in 1948, the Bethlen Castle was used as a pioneer’s camp, and later on as a warehouse for the products of the State Agricultural Enterprise in the area. Hundreds of rare books were burned by the negligence of the authorities.


In 1974, the Department of Historical Monuments took over the castle and began to restore it. In 1977, the Department was abolished, all works ceased and the building remained abandoned.


Nowadays the Castle is under the Bethlen Family possession again. Although it is marked as private property, it can be visited informally by courtesy of the guard, and with this occasion you will be able to admire the remains of a sumptuous decor on the walls and ceilings, the large rooms where once lived Lords and Ladies, the renovated chapel and even the sauna.

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