Report - - Castelul Haller, Sânpaul, Transylvania, Romania, April 2018 | European and International Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Castelul Haller, Sânpaul, Transylvania, Romania, April 2018


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1. The History
The Mureşean settlement of Sânpaul is one of the oldest in the county and boasts a rich history including Haller Castle. Named after The Haller family of Hallerkő, they acquired the Kerelőszentpál estate by marriage in 1610, when István Haller married Judit Kendy. Originally from Germany, more specifically, from Nuremberg, the Haller family began to put Sânpaul on the map. With the first fortress having been destroyed after the Battle of 1575, István Haller ordered the laying of the foundation stone for a new castle in 1610. By his death in 1657 an L-shaped, a two-storey castle had been built. The construction works were continued by his son János and wife Katalin Kornis, who built a ballroom and the outer walls with four bastions. The rebuilt castle was completed in 1674 but was destroyed during the Kuruc Uprising between 1703–1711 against the Habsburgs, led by Rákóczi Ferenc II. The Medieval remains of the castle were demolished in the mid-18th century.

The castle was then rebuilt in Baroque style between 1770 and 1780 at the order of Count Gábor Haller, based on a U-shaped plan. Boasting courtyard arcades and a three-axis central olivine, it was a luxurious place with vaulted rooms decorated with paintings and sculptures. The chandeliers were brought from Vienna, and the solid wood furniture from Paris.

The castle circa 1874:

Haller 3 by HughieDW, on Flickr

At the beginning of the 20th century a delightful garden was established around the castle by György Haller and his wife Countess Ilona Bethlen. This is now sadly gone without a trace along with all the auxiliary buildings with only the three-storey grain storage remaining. The more than three-thousand-acre estate and mansion was looted by the villagers and then by retreating Russian troops after 1944. The Haller family owned the building until 1949, but following nationalization, the property was confiscated.

Two rather grainy archive shots of the castle just prior to World War I in 1914 (note the turret on the tower is now missing):

Haller 2 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Haller 1 by HughieDW, on Flickr

In 1960, the castle was rebuilt by the 'Authority for Historical Monuments'. During the Communist regime, it was used as site for an agricultural association, vegetable storage, furniture storage and as a temporary home for people affected by floods in the '70s. The furniture, expensive carpets and artwork all disappeared. However, its real destruction occurred post-1989 with the regime change when it was abandoned. Every last piece of wood, including the flooring in the building, was used as firewood, tiles were stolen and stoves destroyed. The heirs successfully claimed the castle in 2001 following a ten-year legal process. Unfortunately, by then the castle had been so badly damaged it could no longer be saved.

Folk-law attributed the castle’s frequent demises over time as being down to a curse placed over the Haller family. A servant was whipped by a former count, Alardi Ferenc, for trying to steal from the castle. The wife of the servant, a Gypsy witch, cursed the family and Count Haller's castle. The Count died shortly after and many troubles beset the Haller family and the curse with the castle being rebuilt three times and three times being destroyed.

2. The Explore
Another place I managed to find out about pre-trip. It was in a pretty, rural setting off the main road between Turda and Târgu Mureş and on our tour route so it seemed rude not to call in at this place. Initially I thought it was just going to be a roofless shell but if you looked carefully, there were a few interesting original features. Very photogenic and big, this place easily swallowed-up an hour of our time. Explored with non-forum member GazzaM. Incidentally I can heavily recommend Transylvania!

3. The Pictures

Into sight the castle comes…

img7072 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7069 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Round to the front:

img7015 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7017 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This stone carving to the right of the door is in good nick:

img7018 by HughieDW, on Flickr

But the one to the left appears to have been defaced:

img7050 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The left wing:

img7019 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7029 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Some stunning corridors:

img7021 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7026 by HughieDW, on Flickr

..and arches:

img7022 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Some floors and completely gone:

img7027 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Others partially fallen-through:

2018-05-15_09-36-26 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Remains of one of the former tiled stoves:

img7044 by HughieDW, on Flickr

On to the first floor:

img7030 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7031 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7036 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Which is very overgrown:

img7033 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7034 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7035 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7037 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Pretty bare but if you look carefully…

img7038 by HughieDW, on Flickr

…you can see the original painted-plaster work:

img7039 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7040 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7041 by HughieDW, on Flickr

img7046 by HughieDW, on Flickr