Located on Peles brook valley, on the spot named Pietrele Arse (the Burnt Stones), the Peles Castle, Hotels in Sinaiathe most famous royal residence in Romania, was built between 1875 and 1883 – when it was officially opened.
It is said that sometime in august 1866 king Carol I arrived in the neighborhood, and spent the night at the monastery of Podul Neagului (as Sinaia was known at that time). He liked so much the wild and picturesque landscapes that he decided to built here a castle. So he bought the land in 1872, and then hired the German architect Wilhelm Dodderer to make the plans for the construction. That is why, in what concerns the exterior architecture, the main elements are specific to the German neo-renaissance style.
As a matter-of-fact, the construction began in 1873, but the basement of the castle dates from 1875. After its official opening in 1883, some development plans followed, the present shape of the building being finished in 1914. Mainly it is about some buildings that were annexed, like Camerele Gardianului (the Guardian’s Rooms), Economatul (the Bursarship), Foisorul (the Foisor Hunting Chateau) (the hunting house), Grajdurile Regale (the Royal Stables) and the Power Station. Over 300 craftsmen, from all over the world, worked here during this period.)
Between 1889 and 1903, architect Karel Liman, who was in charge of the construction, built Pelisor Chateau – a modern and smaller replica of the main building – the residence of King Ferdinand I of Romania and of Queen Mary. The royal couple also lived in the Foisor Hunting Chateau for a while, building that was destroyed in a fire and was rebuilt again in 1933.
A brief estimation shows that between 1875 and 1914 there were spent over 16 million golden lei for Peles.
Valuable collections and a secret door
Both, at the end of the 19th century and nowadays, the Peles Castle was and is considered to be one of the most beautiful castles in Europe, and the first to be entirely electrified on the continent. Its own power station was located on the bank of Peles Brook. Otherwise, the building had, even at that time, an interior elevator, vacuum cleaner and central-heating system. The castle has 170 rooms, out of which only 10 can be visited by tourists, and shelters various valuable collections of paintings, sculptures, armours, carpets, furniture, tapestries, statues, potteries, gold, silver and china dishes, stained-glasses.
The Entrance Hall is magnificent, with walnut tree carvings, covered with bas-reliefs and statuettes. The movable glass ceiling, activated by an electric engine or by a manual system, was a surprise element for the king’s visitors, who could admire the sky on cloudless summer nights.
The rooms included in the touristic circuit have suggestive names, like Sala Maura (the Moorish Salon), the Florentine Room, the Columns Room, the Music Room, and the Armoury.
The Royal library attracts especially those who are keen on rare books, with leather covers engraved with golden letters. There is an attraction point even for those who are not familiar with the universe of books, namely the secret door, a way of access behind a book shelf through which the king could becalm in various rooms of the Castle.
The armouries, arranged between 1903 and 1906, shelter more than 4000 European and Eastern pieces from the 14th and 17 centuries. The most valuable are considered to be the German armours from the 16th and 17th centuries and a complete armour for horse and knight, unique in Romania.
The Music Room became a musical soirée salon at Queen Elisabeth’s wish. The furniture from this room was a gift from the Maharajah of Kapurthala.
The Florentine Room, also called the Great Salon, impresses with its ceiling sculptured out of linden trees, gilded, with two great chandeliers, and its ornaments in the Italian neo-renaissance style.
Maura Salon is the work of architect Charles Lecompte de Nouy, having Spanish-Moorish elements and an indoor Carrara marble fountain, replica of a similar piece in Cairo.
The Playhouse has 60 seats and a royal box, being decorated in Louis XIV style.
At first floor there is the Concert Room, arranged in 1906, where one can find a harpsichord made in 1621 at Antwerp, a Bluthner piano with vertical tail and a Rieger organ with two keyboards.
The Imperial Suite was also arranged in 1906, for the Austro-Hungarian emperor Franz Josef, invited at King’s Carol I celebration of 40 years of reign.
Other rooms that offer the tourists various surprises are: the Council Room, which resembles one of the rooms of the mayoralty in Lucerne – Switzerland; the Work Cabinet where there is an imposing writing table and also an audience desk; the Dining Room, where there are exhibited some very valuable silver pieces, is at the first floor and has a rustic, Briton furniture from the 18th century; The Turkish Parlor which shelters a collection of Turkish and Persian brass pots; the Bedroom which is lighted by a Bohemia crystal chandelier.
The stained glasses from Peles Castle were bought and set up between 1883 and 1914, most of them being brought from Switzerland and Germany, dating from the 15th and 17th centuries. The castle also has seven terraces decorated with stone sculptures, fountains and Carrara marble decorative pots.
After the Bran Castle, Peles Castle is considered to be the second most visited museum in the country. Only in 2006 there were over 250 000 visitors from our country and also from USA, Australia, Japan and New Zeeland. The importance of the castle is also underlined by the existing security measures: military guards, supervisors and video cameras.
In March 2007 the Romanian Government gave back the Peles castle and Pelisor Chateau and the afferent lands to the Royal Family. Then, after a memorandum signed by the representatives of the Royal House and of the Government, it was agreed that the Peles Castle and the Foisor Hunting Chateau remained “forever”, as museums, in the property of the Romanian state.