Prominent Transylvania monument gets EUR 5 mln overhaul

The most significant Transylvanian monument, the Vajdahunyad Castle (Hunedoara in Romanian and Eisenmarkt in German) is going to be renovated in the coming years. The local council asked for EUR 5 million ($5.72) from the EU funds to support the reconstruction works of the ancient home of the Hunyadis. Mayor Dan Bobouţanu signed the implementation contract with the representative of the constructor company a couple of days ago. The mayor highlighted in his statement that the renovation is not only important because the monument attracts some 350,000 tourists each year, but also because the Hungarian and the German community have emotional connections to this monument.

Vajdahunyad Castle
Vajdahunyad Castle watercolor from the XVIII. century (Hungarian National Museum, Budapest)

The reconstructions works will last more than two years, or 27 months to be precise. During this period several parts of the medieval castle will be reinforced and restored. The cracks found in the Nebojsza tower, the knight’s hall, and the so called Legislature – where the negotiations took place during the ruling of János Hunyadi – are going to be restored.

Both exterior and interior restoration works will be done. The original vault and planking will be rebuilt, while the parts built out of cement during the previous renovations will be removed. After completion of these works more parts of the castle will be accessible to the public, like the White Barbican or some parts of the Bethlen-wing. 2% of the overall cost of the renovation will be covered from the town’s own resources, while the vast majority of the RON 21,88 million (EUR 5 million) cost will be financed from EU funds. According to the plans the restoration process will be finished in 2021 but it is still unknown whether the castle will remain open during the renovation or not.

Vajdahunyad Castle
Left: the original Vajdahunyad Castle in Vajdahunyad. Right: Scaled replica of the Vajdahunyad Castle in the heart of Budapest in the Városliget (City Park), which was built for the Millennium Celebrations of 1896, when the 1000th anniversary of Hungary was celebrated.

The Vajdahunyad Castle is one of the most iconic buildings of Hungarian history both from an architectural and a historic perspective. It is invaluable because it never actually turned into a ruin, and it still has its original medieval parts standing. The Hunyadi domain was donated by Sigismund of Luxembourg to the father of János Hunyadi, to Vajk (Woyk) and the family even changed its name after this domain. Later, János Hunyadi lived here with his wife Erzsébet Szilágyi and their second son, who would become King Mátyás/Matthias. Mátyás wasn’t born here  (but in Kolozsvár/Cluj-Napoca in 1443) just because the castle was also under renovation at that time. More than four centuries later, this was also the place where the first ever state-financed Hungarian monument reconstruction started. After a huge fire in the castle in 1854, and after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 the renovation started in 1868 and has been an ongoing project ever since.


Title image: Vajdahunyad Castle (photo: Rieger Bertrand)

Author: Attila Szoó