Peles Castle, Romania
Aleea Peleșului 2, Sinaia 106100, Romania
Interior, exterior and aerial photos page: 1
Peles Castle is a Neo-Renaissance castle 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.
King Carol I of Romania (1839–1914), under whose reign the country gained its independence, first visited the site of the future castle in 1866 and fell in love with the magnificent mountain scenery. In 1872, the Crown purchased 1,300 square kilometres (500 sq mi) of land near the Piatra Arsă River. The estate was named the Royal Estate of Sinaia. The monarchy commissioned the construction of a royal hunting preserve and summer retreat on the property, and the foundation was laid for Peleș Castle on 22 August 1873. Several auxiliary buildings were built simultaneously with the castle: the guards’ chambers, the Economat Building, the Foişor hunting lodge, the royal stables, and a power plant. Peleș became the world’s first castle fully powered by locally produced electricity.
Peleş Castle has a 3,200-square-metre (34,000 sq ft) floor plan with over 170 rooms, many with dedicated themes from world cultures (in a similar fashion as other Romanian palaces, like Cotroceni Palace. Themes vary by function (offices, libraries, armories, art galleries) or by style (Florentine, Turkish, Moorish, French, Imperial); all the rooms are extremely lavishly furnished and decorated to the slightest detail. There are 30 bathrooms. The establishment hosts one of the finest collections of art in Eastern and Central Europe, consisting of statues, paintings, furniture, arms and armor, gold, silver, stained glass, ivory, fine china, tapestries, and rugs. The collection of arms and armor has over 4,000 pieces, divided between Eastern and Western war pieces and ceremonial or hunting pieces, spreading over four centuries of history. Oriental rugs come from many sources: Bukhara, Mosul, Isparta, Saruk, and Smirna. The porcelain is from Sèvres and Meissen; the leather is from Córdoba. Perhaps the most acclaimed items are the hand-painted stained glass vitralios, which are mostly Swiss.
Visits are done within guided tour. One of the tours is limited to the ground floor, another adds the first floor and the complete tour includes the second floor. Admission is charged, and there is an additional photography fee. The visiting hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. On Tuesdays the hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The castle is closed on Mondays. These visiting hours are subject to change by the Romanian Culture Ministry. The castle is closed in November each year for maintenance and cleaning.