The Legendary Karolyi Castle in Satu Mare

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Revamped between 2009 and 2012 within the Regional Operational Program, the noble Karolyi family’s castle, Satu-Mare, has become a local tourist attraction and a cultural and historical landmark.

Karolyi Castle is located in the middle of Carei, Satu Mare County and was built in 1482, starting from a fortified house built by Karoly Laszlo. That construction has caused hostility against the nobles in Satmar County, requiring the direct intervention of the Roman king on the throne of Hungary, Matthias Corvinus, to settle the conflict. In 1592, due to frequent incursions of Turkish troops, Karoly Mihaly has decided to further strengthen the existing building.

The old building was surrounded with strong walls, interrupted with bastions, with a reinforced outer palisade trench, with a single passing over suspension bridge. Inside the fortress there is also an armed garrison.

The citadel has played an important role throughout history, along the seventeenth century being among the great defense fortresses of the western border in Transylvania. The importance of this fortress is mentioned especially after its reconstruction between 1661 and 1666.

Attacked by the Austrians in 1705, the fortress was partially destroyed, but quickly restored. After the Peace of Satu Mare, in 1711, no longer having a military role, Count Károlyi Jozsef demolished the walls and covered the trenches.

The first plans to transform the fortress arouse once the military conflicts settled in the area. It was meant to become a building with special, residential functions. Károlyi Antal was the promoter of these ideas, but the work hardly began in 1792. The main elements of fortification and bastions had been all demolished and the fortress turned into a Baroque castle, according to Jozef Bitthauser’s plans. The upper floor had 21 rooms and the ground floor had 20 rooms.

The 1834 earthquake destroyed almost the entire Castle and it was rebuilt to its present form only between 1894 and 1896. The restoration was done in neo-Gothic style by the architect Meining Arthur, helped by local craftsmen from Carei and the surrounding area. The interior design, the doors, windows and a big part of the furniture are all creation of the local craftsmen. Many of them are original.

During the inter-war period, the castle again underwent through changes: one side of it became a sanatorium while the rest hosted a casino.  It also sheltered a military school during the World War II, and then turned into a military hospital, in 1944. During the communist period, the castle survived and became the town’s museum, a cultural center, and a library.

Károlyi Castle is a spectacular construction, one of the most beautiful in Transylvania and Romania. Károlyi Castle was present at the first edition of the ‘European Fair of Castles’, that took place from 1-3 May 2015, in Hunedoara, in order to promote the beauty of historic monuments in Europe.Corvin Castle, one of the most important monuments of Gothic architecture in Romania, hosted the fair.

Károlyi Castle was a pleasant surprise for the audience, amateur for such monuments, but also for visitors in general. Around 8,000 people visited Carei stand during the three days of fair.

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