Renaissance Castle of Făgăraș, Romania
Făgăraș is a small but very old city near Brașov in Romania’s Transylvania region. The town is beautifully situated between the Fagaras Mountains (Transylvanian Alps) in the South, and the Olt River, in the North. The city boasts one of the finest Renaissance castles in the country.
The First document about the settlement from Făgăraș dates back to the year 1291. At that time was there a wooden fort, surrounded by a moat and wave of land. The fort was burned by the Tartars in 1241. In the 14th century on the same site, the castle was erected from stones. Between the 15th and 17th centuries, the castle was enlarged since this was an important place from which to defend the southern border of the former Hungarian kingdom. In that times it was considered one of the strongest fortifications in Transylvania. The fortress was surrounded by a deep moat which, in times of war, could easily be filled with water from a nearby river. A bridge over the moat provided the only access point.
In the 16th century, the castle was rebuilt the strong fortress. But the most important reconstructions, in terms of how the building looks today, were in the 17th century. The castle's fortifications were doubled and the moat was enlarged. The outer wall was bolstered with more bastions. The fortress was then that it gained its inner vaulting and its loggia that overlooks the courtyard within.
Throughout the years, Făgăraș Fortress functioned mainly as a residence for various princes and their families. The interiors were furnished luxuriously and richly decorated. Unfortunately, little of its former grandeur has been preserved because the castle was turned into a military garrison in the 18th century. After the WW II, under communism regime, political dissidents were incarcerated and tortured here.
Today, the beautifully preserved castle is surrounded by a wall roughly half as high as the building itself. The castle has four sides, and its corners are reinforced with polygon-shaped towers (the Red Tower, the Black Tower, the Prison's Tower, Tomori Tower and the Motley Tower). The oldest are the Black Tower, and the Red Tower built in about 1310. The other towers date from the early 1500s. The castle has 80 rooms in which houses a museum. The Făgăraș County Museum, displaying Roman artefacts, a collection of medieval weapons and traditional folk crafts. The museum also hosts a beautiful collection of icons painted on glass.
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