Visiting the Peles Castle in Sinaia, Romania

    Visiting the Peles Castle in Sinaia, Romania
    Peles Castle

          The Peleș Castle in Sinaia is one of the most beautiful castles in Romania. While I was living in Romania, under the Communist regime, the entire Peleș estate was closed and the area was declared a “State Protocol Interest Area.” Only military personnel and maintenance persons were permitted on the property, so I was never able to visit it. It was only twenty five years later, during my last trip to Romania that I finally got to see it.

          The castle was built by Carol I of Hohenzollern, King of Romania, who after visiting the area, fell in love with the magnificent mountain scenery and commissioned the construction of a royal hunting preserve and summer retreat.  The construction lasted for over 40 years (1873-1941), but the castle was inaugurated in 1883. The cost was estimated to be 16,000,000 Romanian lei in gold (approx. US$ 120 million today).  The Peleș Castle remained in the royal family possession until 1947, when King Michael I was forced to abdicate. The Communist regime of Romania seized all royal property, including the Peleș Estate.

          For a short period of time the castle was opened as a tourist attraction and also served as a recreation place for cultural and political personalities. Artists like George Enescu, Sarah Bernhardt,Jacques Thibaud, as well as foreign dignitaries such as Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Muammar al-Gaddafi were hosted at the castle. In 1975 the Peleș Castle was declared a “State Protocol Interest Area” and remained closed to the public until 1990. Today the castle is a museum again.