Peles (pronounced ‘Pel-esh’) Castle sits on the outskirts of a small town called Sinaia at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, about a 3-hour drive from Bucharest. It’s well worth the trip.
The castle was built (finished) in 1883 by the German-born King Carol 1, after a 10-year construction period, and was the home of the Royal family until 1947 when the Communists dispossessed the then King Michael, a descendent of Carol. It was the first castle in Europe to be entirely lit by electricity (from the castle’s own generating plant), and hosted Romania’s first ever movie in its small theatre in 1906. It remains today as it was in the past, complete with original furnishing and decorations which are very ornate, and contains a large weapons collection from days past, amongst many other features. During its construction, Queen Elizabeth, the wife of Carol, wrote the following in her diary:
Italians were masons, Romanians were building terraces, the Gypsies were coolies. Albanians and Greeks worked in stone, Germans and Hungarians were carpenters. Turks were burning brick. Engineers were Polish and the stone carvers were Czech. The Frenchmen were drawing, the Englishmen were measuring, and so was then when you could see hundreds of national costumes and fourteen languages in which they spoke, sang, cursed and quarrelled in all dialects and tones, a joyful mix of men, horses, cart oxen and domestic buffaloes.
MB & daughter MB2 took a day-tour with Bucharest-based tour company Mr Tripp and tour-guide Mary to the Carpathian/Transylvania region and enjoyed the day immensely. More details of that trip will follow in a subsequent post and for all to see.
Getting into the castle upon arrival however is fraught with difficult, as it’s Romania’s Nr 1 tourist attraction and the Castle authorities do not control the entry system very well. Long queues form from very early morning and tour groups like MB’s get to jump the queue, which results in much pushing, shouting and anger on the part of those who have queued earlier and are unaware of the rules, mainly because the rules are haphazardly applied it seems, and those queueing are not informed. One or two of MB’s below pics shows what its like at the entrance door. It is an obvious (to MB) situation where the authorities should issue tickets with approximate entry times on them (a lá Disney World) which would prevent hundreds of people arriving too early and having to queue for needlessly long periods. One expects the castle owners to contact MB shortly after this blog post is published to sort it all out from them. And no better man to do so!
Anyway, if followers want to learn a little more about the castle, click here.
And here are some awesome MB photos to give you all a flavour of the castle and surrounds: