The Rákóczi-Bornemisza Castle

The Rákóczi-Bornemisza Castle


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Gurghiu 547295, Romania


13 km from Reghin, in the center of Gurghiu, right at the foot of the Citadel Hill stands the Rákóczi-Bornemisza Castle architectural ensemble.

The beginnings of the castle date back to Prince I. Gheorghe Rákóczi I (1593-1648), who wanted to establish a more accessible residence for the hunting parties organized in the Gurghiu Mountains, in which he often participated.

In 1717, the castle was leased out to Vice-Chancellor Ioan Bornemisza and his descendants for 99 years. The Bornemisza family made a lot of investments, erecting new buildings around the castle: in 1740 the chapel with an elliptical design (rarely found in Transylvania) was built. Between 1754 and 1756, the paper mill was rebuilt and was operational until 1872; a glass factory and a porcelain work-shop were also established.

The events of the 1848 Revolution did not spare the Gurghiu domain. The castle was besieged by the serfs, many goods being destroyed. The family restored the buildings, constrained by the fact that the domain had to be returned. Upon expiration of the lease, the Bornemisza family refused to return the property, demanding payment of all the investments made, and consequently the Austrian state brought them to justice. The lawsuits lasted for 27 years and in 1869 the two parties came to an agreement, the Bornemisza family binding themselves to return the property by the end of 1870.

Since 1880, the domain has been used directly by the state, the castle and its annexes undergoing a renovation process to transform the whole place into a hunting castle for the successor prince Rudolf of Habsburg. After the Mayerling drama, when the heir prince is alleged to have committed suicide in the hunting lodge, the destination of the castle changed, so it became a foresters’ school in 1893.

The dendrological park of the Rákóczi-Bornemisza Castle is among the last arranged “English Parks” and is characteristic of the Mureş nobility residences of the 18th-19th centuries. Set in 1740 on the initiative of Leopold Bornemisza, it includes over 100 species of native and exotic trees (originating from Australia, Japan, South America and North America). The park offers the visitors the opportunity to relax in a natural setting, and botanic enthusiasts the opportunity to improve their knowledge.

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