Peles Castle is one of the most important and visited tourist attractions in Romania. It is listed on the top of most beautiful castles in Europe and even in the world. The castle is located in Sinaia, the most appreciated mountain resort on Prahova Valley, also known as the Pearl of the Carpathian Mountains.
King Carol I was the one who fell in love with these places and decided to build the summer residence of the royal family here.
In this way, the village Negru Bridge receives a new name – Sinaia, coming from the nearby monastery and becomes a luxury resort. Once the high society moved here, impressive villas, hotels and casinos were built.
When was the Peles Castle built?
The foundation stone of the castle was laid in 1875, but it was inaugurated eight years later. Expansion and renovation work were done until 1914, when Carol I died. Peles Castle is unique because of its historical and artistic value.
It became the most modern castle in Europe, having its own electric plant. It was also equipped with central heating, elevator and vacuum cleaner.
The castle was built according to the plans of the German architect Wilhelm von Doderer. The castle seems to come straight out of a fairy tale, being placed in a landscape surrounded by amazing mountains and forests.
The architecture is in German neo-Renaissance style and reminds of the royal family’s origins in Germany. Its towers can be seen from a long distance and the central tower reaches over 60m height.
The castle has over 160 rooms, but guided tours are organized only for some of the rooms located on the ground floor and on the first floor. These rooms are home to many valuable collections of sculptures, medieval weapons, paintings, unique books, carpets, etc.
The Hall of Honor provides access to all the open spaces to the public. They have suggestive names, such as The Grand Armory of the Arsenal, The Moorish Salon or The Florentine Room.
Besides these you can also visit The Music Hall, The Playhouse, The Concert Hall, The Imperial Suite, The Turkish Parlor. All the halls have beautiful decorations, some of them even unique. The frescoes and stained glass are inspired by German and Romanian stories.
There are two more palaces in the castle area, Pelişor and Foişor (Foyer). The first one is also open to the public, while the second one is closed to visitors, but it is used to host dignitaries.
Pelisor is a few meters away from Peles and was built in Swiss style for the son of Charles I, King Ferdinand I. It has a beautiful facade made of stone and wood. Queen Mary was involved in designing the interior of the castle. The queen’s passion for painting and art can be clearly noticed inside the castle.
Instead, the foyer was originally built as a hunting lodge at an altitude slightly larger than the other two castles. During the communist era it was extended by the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu because he wanted to build his own palace there.
Both Peles and Pelisor castles were reopened to the public as museums after the Revolution and were returned to the royal family in 2017.
As the second most visited tourist destination in Romania, after Bran Castle, Peles receives more than 300,000 visitors every year.