Hidden away in the landscapes of Romania, Banffy castle is one of the country’s most iconic historic places.
Banffy Castle is located in Bontida, Transylvania, and is the largest castle in the region. Though the castle isn’t the most attractive from the outside, as large parts of the structure are in decay, it’s dark and interesting history makes it a prized landmark in Romania.
Banffy castle has also gained the reputation as one of the most haunted buildings in Romania.
History of Banffy Castle
The castle was built by the Banffy family, between the years 1437 and 1543, proving to be a timely and costly project. It was constructed on land which had been given to the Banffy family in the 14th century by Sigismund of Luxemburg.
It was built near the Somesul Mic river, in Bontida village, less than 30 kilometers from the city Cluj-Napoca, and consisted of four towers.
The Renaissance style features were added later, when famed Austrian architect Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach was hired to rebuild the castle in the Baroque style of the Habsburg Empire.
Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach expanded the property, adding a Court of Honor, stables and residences for the servants. He also added lavish appeal to the exterior, by adding Baroque style statues and fountains in the castle grounds.
A World War II German Hospital
The family remained in the castle until 1944, when German soldiers arrived and turned the castle into a military hospital.
The castles interior was decorated in a rich Baroque style, but under Nazi control, there was a devastating fire that destroyed much of the interior.
Authorities tried to salvage what was left of the castle, managing to save the structure that still stands today.
The paintings in the gallery, and the extensive library of books, were lost forever.
The Haunted Banffy Castle
The turbulent history of the castle has given way to stories of ghosts and the supernatural. It was featured on episode 144 of the paranormal television show Ghost Hunters International.
Some of the more prevalent ghost stories revolve around the sightings of men in military uniforms, who often appear to be injured. These apparitions are thought to be some of the wounded Nazi soldiers who passed away while being treated at the castle when it operated as a military hospital in World War II.
Another of the more famous ghost stories revolves around the story of a young noble girl, who would sneak out of the castle at night to visit a boy she liked.
The boy was a commoner, and given her status of nobility, she would have been forbidden from engaging in such a relationship.
One night, as she was sneaking out to visit the boy, she was discovered by a stable worker. In a desperate attempt to preserve her secret, she seduced the man, and stabbed him several times. His ghost is now said to wander the stables.
The last of the ghost stories is that of a man who was thought to have been having an affair with a married woman.
After the woman’s husband discovered their affair, it’s said that he murdered the man in fit of rage. The ghost of the man can be seen still roaming the castle grounds.
Legacy of Banffy Castle
Today, the castle continues to be funded by various charitable organizations, and is home to an Electronic music festival once a year.
The festival is called Electric Forest, and a portion of the revenue generated through the event is donated to the maintenance of the castle.