Kalnoky Castle is currently being administered by Count Tibor Kalnoky, who is responsible for HRH Prince Charles of Wales’ properties in Romania. The castle, located in Miclosoara, was first mentioned in 1211AD as a border fortress between the territory donated to the Knights of the Teutonic Order and the rest of the Kingdom of Hungary. Today’s structure came into being in the 1500s as a hunting manor for the family and still contains many Renaissance elements, like painted wall decorations. It has lain abandoned for the last fifty years and is currently undergoing restoration. In the vicinity of the castle are guesthouses, most of which date from the 1800s or even earlier, but have of course been restored. Moreover, in the village of Viscri, the Prince of Wales owns a traditional Saxon house that also provides accommodation.
Getting there: The closest airport is Tirgu Mures (TGM), less than 150 km away, with flights from Bucharest available. Other possible airports are Sibiu and Cluj-Napoca. By car, Miclosoara is approximately three to three and a half hours from Otopeni International Airport in Bucharest.
Sibiu is a must-see stop-off on your Medieval Tour. In recent years, by virtue of being chosen European Capital in 2007, the city has undergone a great deal of renovation, which has revealed the splendor beneath its once shabby appearance. One of the most picturesque places in the old town is the Passage of the Stairs, which connects the upper and lower parts of the city. They were visited by Jose Manuel Barosso, president of the European Commission, in 2007.
Close by is a short bridge with a long history: the Bridge of Lies which is, just like a lie, beautifully embellished. The bridge links two sectors of the Small Square in Sibiu and is a romantic place where lovers used to meet.
Meanwhile, the Thick Tower is a medieval landmark which dates back to 1540 and has a platform that once bore canons. Inside this tower is the Thalia Room, the first ever theater hall in Romania, which hosted its first show in July 1788. The Evangelical Church has the tallest tower in Transylvania, over 73 m high, and houses a baroque organ that is the biggest in South-Eastern Europe.
Getting there: By car, Sibiu is a nearly 300 kilometer journey from Bucharest, so it is within reach in just 5 hours by car. You can also catch a train from Gara de Nord to Sibiu station.
Although the Sighisoara Medieval Festival finished at the end of July, the town is a tourist attraction at any time of year. One of the few authentic medieval citadels left in Europe, it has survived vicious attacks and two outbreaks of the plague that wreaked havoc among the town’s population. Sighisoara is also the birthplace of Vlad Tepes, the notorious Romanian ruler who inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Have we got your attention yet?
Sighisoara could well be called the Town of Many Towers, as each guild that was established in this city had a tower that survives to this day: the Tanners, Gold Diggers, Tin Craftsmen, Ropers, Butchers, Weavers, Tailors, Shoe Makers, Locksmiths, Blacksmiths, Coopers and the Furriers. In addition, there is the famous Clock Tower, a 64 m-tall building that was a place of torture and imprisonment as well as the headquarters of the city hall in the Middle Ages.
Getting there: By car, Sighisoara is a five-six hour drive from Bucharest. If you are going by train, it is a 126 km journey from Brasov and 39 km from Medias.
If they were good enough for Prince Charles, the Saxon Villages must be good enough for our Medieval Tour. Apold, Biertan, Malancrav, Homorod, Rupea and Viscri are just some of the Saxon villages established since the 12th century. Some of these villages have been declared Heritage Sites by UNESCO, as they are among the few places in Europe where life still goes on as it did hundreds of years ago.