Peles Castle-Sinaia-November 2009

......Today a historical monument, Peleş Castle is a Neo-Renaissance castle placed in an idyllic setting in the Carpathian Mountains, near Sinaia, in Prahova County, Romania, on an existing medieval route linking Transylvania and Wallachia, built between 1873 and 1914; its inauguration was held in 1883.
......Construction has seen a slight halt during the Romanian War of Independence in 1877-78, but soon afterwards plans grew in size and growth was rapid. Peleş Castle has seen its official Royal Ball of inauguration in 7 Oct. 1883. Until the castle was built, King Carol I and Queen Elizabeth lived in Foişor Villa (where King Ferdinand and Queen Mary also resided during the construction of Pelişor Castle). Even King Carol II lived in Foişor Villa when he was King of Romania (1930-40, except in 1932-3 when the hunting house was destroyed by fire). King Carol II of Romania was born at the castle in 1893, giving meaning to the phrase "craddle of the dinasty, cradle of the nation" that Carol I bestowed upon the Peleş Castle.
......After King Michael's forced abdication in 1947, the Communist regime seized all royal property, the whole Peleş complex except the homonymous castle which was opened for tourism became, for a short time, a creation and resting place for Romanian cultural personalities. The castle was declared a museum in 1953. During the last years of the communist regime, between 1975-1990, Nicolae Ceauşescu closed the entire area. The only persons accepted in this area were maintenance and military guard personnel. The whole area was declared a state protocol interest area.
......Peleş Castle was host to grand figures guests from royalty and politicians to artists. One of the most memorable visits was that of Kaiser Franz Joseph I of Austro-Hungary, then one of the world's most powerful men, on 2 October 1896, who later wrote in a letter: The Royal Castle amongst other monuments, surrounded by extremely pretty landscape with gardens built on terraces, all at the edge of dense forests. The castle itself is very impressive through the riches it has accumulated: old and new canvases, old furniture, weapons, all sort of curios, everything placed with good taste. We did a long hike in the mountains, afterwards we picnicked on the green grass, surrounded by the Gypsy music. We took many pictures, and the atmosphere was extremely pleasant. Artists like George Enesco, Sarah Bernhardt, Jacques Thibaud or Vasile Alecsandri visited often as guests of Queen Elizabeth of Romania (known to literature as Carmen Sylva). Even after the fall of the monarchy, alongside Romanian prominent figures from political and artistic life, other foreign demnitaries like Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Muammar al-Gaddafi, Yasser Arafat were all entertained here.
......The castle was featured in the 2009 film release The Brothers Bloom. The exterior of the castle is used to represent a large estate in New Jersey, the home of the eccentric billionaire Penelope played by Rachel Weisz.
......Peleş Castle has 3200 sq. meters of floor plan, over 170 rooms, 30 bathrooms, many with dedicated themes from world cultures (in similar fashion with other Romanian palaces, like Cotroceni Palace for example), themes that can vary by function (offices, libraries, armouries, art galleries) or by style (Florentine, Turkish, Moorish, French, Imperial) all extremely lavishly furnished and decorated to the slightest detail. The establishment hosts one of the finest collections of art in East and Central Europe, consisting of statues, paintings, furniture, arms and armour, gold, silver, stained glass, ivory, fine china, tapestries and rugs; the collection of arms and armour has over 4000 pieces, divided between Eastern and Western war, ceremonial or hunting spreading over four centuries in history. Oriental rugs come from the finest sources: Bukhara, Mosul, Isparta, Saruk and Smirna, porcelain from Sevres and Meissen, leather from Córdoba but perhaps the most acclaimed are the hand painted stained glass vitralios, mostly Swiss .
......A towering statue of King Carol I by Raffaello Romanelli overlooks the main entrance but many other statues are present on the seven Italian neo-Renaissance terrace gardens, mostly of Carrara marble executed by the Italian sculptor Romanelli. The gardens also host fountains, urns, stairways, guarding lions, marble paths and other decorative pieces.
Of the 168 rooms in the castle, only 35 are accessible to the public. While an important area is in the upper levels, this is off limits. Only the museum in the basement and the rooms on the first floor can be visited. The visiting hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m Wednesday through Sunday. On Mondays the castle is closed and on Tuesdays the hours are till 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. These visiting hours are subject to change by the current owners of the castle. Each year in November the castle is closed to the public for the whole month, during which time it is used solely by the owners. Admission fee is 15 RON. Additionally you must check your camera or pay 30 RON to take photos or 50 RON for video. (

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