Next in exploring Romania and its top locations is Corvin Castle, a fortress fit for any movie, be it local, an European production, or Hollywood.
While we were able to spot the elegant Peles Castle in various movies after visiting it for quite a few times during our travels, for Corvin Castle my little family and I decided to watch the movie while planning the visit. The reason was that Corvin Castle is tucked away in Hunedoara County, at a significant distance from major railway stations or airports.
To visit Corvin Castle we traveled by train from Bucharest to Brasov where we planned a stop over and allowed an entire day only to visit Corvin Castle, including traveling to and returning to Brasov by car. We couldn’t have done it without the amazing support and advise of Mr Cornel and Mrs Cristina, the owners of Guesthouse Casa Cristina in Brasov, always welcoming, offering the same top accommodation and a hearty breakfast for the past ten years that we’ve been visiting them (this endorsement is not backed by any financial gain).
You might be familiar with the sight of dark marbled towers topped with pointy, burgundy roofs – a result of the smoke and red dust produced by the industrial furnaces of nearby Hunedoara’s Iron foundries. This stern looking fortress is often associated with Vlad Tepes, although his true presence here still fuels debates between historians.
Welcome to medieval Corvin Castle, or Hunyadi Castle / Hunedoara Castle.
Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire movie at Corvin Castle
This fairy-tale castle of Gothic-renaissance architecture, built on an old Roman fortification, is a stunning sight with a three pointed drawbridge and high battlements.
Five marble columns with delicate ribbed vaults support two halls, the Diet Hall above and the Knight’s Hall below, both from 1453 – what you first see as you look at the castle.
Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire is the third in the Dragonheart movie series. When the king of Brittania dies, the dragon who shares his heart must find a new ruler.
We meet the monarch’s twin grandchildren, twin boy and girl who bear the mark of the dragon, thus had to be hidden away at birth. To save the kingdom, Drago the dragon (voiced by Patrick Stewart) must forge a bond between the estranged twins and locate the Heartstone, the source of his power, stolen by a common enemy.
Above, Edric (Tom Rhys Harries), the twin boy, a young man with incredible strength, enters Corvin Castle. Below, the entrance in the castle as we saw it.
On the right side of the main entrance is the original torture chamber. On the left side, the torture bastion and above it the gold chamber.
On the far right of the picture above are the Neboisa Gallery and the Neboisa Tower.
The castle wall was built out of 30m solid rock by Turkish prisoners. The fortress was extensively restored by Iancu de Hunedoara (Janos Hunyadi in Hungarian) from year 1452 onward. The castle’s last restoration dates from 1952.
But what would you do if a dragon suddenly lands in front of you, as you approach the castle’s gate tower?
The new gate tower (above) was built during Iancu de Hunedoara’s first stage of construction (1440-1444) on the North-West side of the fortress. At that time it was only a rectangular defense tower, with three levels.
During the 17th century its defense floors were turned into bedrooms and a new entrance into the castle was opened through its ground level, still in use today.
Believe me, it is well worth exploring Romania and its castles, especially the medieval Corvin Castle.
This stream is as old as the fortress, Zlasti Stream, and the hills profiling behind are part of the Poiana Rusca Mountains. Something tells me that this stream was running with more force back in medieval Romania, a true defender of Corvin Castle.
Below, the main courtyard of Corvin Castle today.
Right in front is the Matia wing. The same stairs as above can be viewed on the right side – leading to the Chapel Complex and the Neo-Gothic gallery.
On the left are the Knights Hall (ground level) and the Council Hall or Diet Hall (first floor).
But when night falls, dragons return to Corvin Castle:
Looking less scary during daylight, I admit. Right in front is the administrative palace and the Bethlen palace on the left (the squarish building).
Below, a view of the main court of Corvin Castle, looking towards the Bethlen palace and the administrative palace, while standing on the first floor balcony of the Matia wing.
Initially built by the Anjou family on a Roman camp, in a zone dating from the Bronze age and rich in iron, along trade routes between Alba Iulia, Hunedoara and Hateg, Corvin Castle changed rulers, fought the Ottoman Empire, and it still stands, one of the seven wonders or Romania.
Romanian movie Mihai Viteazul shot partially at Corvin Castle
Filmed in 1971, there is a stunning scene in Romanian movie Mihai Viteazul, Michael the Brave, shot inside the inner court of Corvin Castle.
At the end of the 16th century Wallachian ruler Prince Michael the Brave overcame the adversity of the Ottoman and Austrian Empires to unite Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania into one country.
The Nun movie at Corvin Castle
For the horror movie The Nun a cemetery with over one hundred wooden crosses was specially created in the shallow valley of Zlaşti River.
Singh is Bliing, with Akshay Kumar, Bollywood liked Corvin Castle too
Apparently for Singh is Bliing only Corvin Castle’s wooden bridge was used, but other locations from Romania include the whimsy Bâlea Lake (find an image here on my blog) and the majestic Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest.
Throughout its contemporary history Corvin Castle served as filming location for several prestigious cinematographic productions. Surely the integrity of this medieval monument, its exceptional architecture, as well as the rural environment are among the criteria for which the castle from Hunedoara is chosen by so many film producers.
Other movies filmed at Corvin Castle
A few other movies that were filmed at Corvin Castle include:
- Close to Sun (Aproape de Soare, 1961, Romania),
- The Meeting (Itelet, 1970, Hungary),
- Vlad Ţepeş (Vlad the Impaler, 1979, Romania),
- The Return of Voivode Lăpuşneanu (Întoarcerea lui Vodă Lăpuşneanu, 1980, Romania)
- François Villon, Tramp Poet (François Villon, Poetul Vagabond, 1987, Romania),
- Bloodstone: Subspecies II (1993, Romania, USA),
- Nostradamus (1994, USA)
- Vlad (2003, USA),
- A Cursed Monarchy (2005, France, Italy), based on the novel of the same name by Maurice Druon,
- Lady of Csejte (based on a story of Countess Bathory), 2015
Corvin Castle, the history of a name
Its name derives from the regents who built it, Iancu de Hunedoara (aka John Hunyadi), and his son, Matthias Corvinus (King of Hungary between 1458 and 1490). The Corvin family was renowned for stopping the Ottoman Empire from conquering Belgrade and advancing towards Western Europe during the 15th century.
Not many know, but Vlad Tepes’ father, Vlad Dracul II, supported Iancu de Hunedoara’s campaigns against the Ottoman Empire. Later, his son, Vlad Tepes, aka Dracula, won great, significant battles against the Turks. The Corvin family was related to Vlad the Impaler, sharing a tumultuous history fitting for those dark times and filled with passions, conspiracies and betrayals…
I hope you enjoyed exploring medieval Romania and Corvin Castle. We left the door to Corvin Castle open – as we wish to return there. If not by train, then surely in the pages of a book…
If you want to enjoy your own medieval adventure just like in a movie, visit Corvin Catle in Transylvania, Romania.
Hallmark Christmas Movies Filmed in Bucharest, Romania
I feel quite proud to share with you all that Bucharest, Romania’s capital city, was often chosen, over Canada and other European cities, as the setting for some pretty festive royalty-themed Hallmark movies: A Crown for Christmas, A Royal Christmas filmed at Snagov Palace by the Lake Snagov, near Bucharest, Christmas at the Palace (also filmed at Snagov Palace), and even Christmas in Rome!
Until then, you might like to read:
A Journey through the Medieval City of Sighisoara, Romania
Looking UP: Street Lamps from Brasov and Fagaras Castle, Romania
5 Remarkable Places You Will Want to Visit After Reading Silent Heroes, When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting for