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Peleș Castle

Updated: Feb 9

I've been thinking about how buildings tell stories. Like novels, buildings tell stories about who we are, what we value, what time period we live in, and what legacy we hope to leave behind.

This building is Peleș Castle, located in Sinaia, in the Carpathian mountains, in the heart of Transylvania. Carol I, Romania's first king after it gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire, commissioned the palace. It was to be the royal family's summer home, as well as a hunting preserve.

Statue of King Carol I in front of Peleș

The palace was constructed between 1873 and 1914. It was built in a neo-Italian Renaissance style with German Fachwerk facades, and was the first European palace to be powered by electricity, created in its own power plant, and that had central heating.

The 3,200-square-meter, 160-room castle is impressive. Pictured above, the main hall, is beautifully decorated with sculpted wood and stained glass windows, including a stained glass ceiling.

The Castle Room

Ornate wood staircases, doors, and paneling can be found everywhere in the castle. Truly, this home would be a woodworker's dream . . . or nightmare.

One of the best-known rooms is the Great Armory Room, which hosts some of the finest collections of arms and armor in the world. The room contains more than 4,000 pieces of weaponry—mainly from Western and Eastern Europe, but also from other parts of the world. The above damask steel sword caught my attention in particular. It belonged to Gabriel Bathory, Prince of Transylvania from 1608 to 1613, and is embellished with silver, pearls, and rubies.

The Royal Dining Room

The Turkish Room

The Throne Room

Many of the castle's rooms are decorated so that they resemble the styles of various cultures from throughout the world. Due to its remarkable architecture and to the artistic value of its exhibits, the castle is one of the elite monuments in Europe and certainly one of the most remarkable in Romania.

A sitting room

The music room

One could spend hours going over the detail in each of the rooms. The longer you look, the more there is to see. Queen Elisabath used the music room pictured above to host musical evenings. She and Carol only had one daughter, Princess Maria, who died at age 4.

King Carol I's Robe

Queen Elisabeth of Weid's Robe