In my last post, I talked about Peleș Castle in Sinaia, but I didn't talk much about the city of Sinaia itself. Although I was only there for an afternoon, and a rainy one at that, the city charmed me with both its quaintness and grandiosity—for Peleș Castle isn't the only building that King Carol I built here.
In 1889, Carol I ordered the construction of Pelisor Castle (Little Peleș), which he built for his nephew, the future King Ferdinand. (Carol I and his wife Queen Elizabeth of Weid only had one daughter, Maria, who died at age 4.) The castle took four years to complete. Unfortunately, I arrived too late to see the inside, but here are some interesting facts about it, anyway:
The castle was designed by Czech architect Karel Liman, but Ferdinand's wife, Queen Marie, played an important role in styling the Art Nouveau interior, which combined Byzantine and Celtic elements.
The "Golden Room" is covered in oak timber and a Scottish floral emblem—the thistle—in order to remind Queen Marie of her homeland.
Queen Marie died in 1927 after being fatally injured while trying to intervene in a duel between her sons.
During the communist era, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu vacationed in Pelisor Castle.
After Ceaușescu’s fall, Pelisor was returned to the royal family along with Peles, who opened the complex to public tours.
View of Pelisor Castle from the courtyard
Additionally, Sinaia boasts a beautiful monastery that predates Peleș Castle by about 50 years, and which had an even more magnificent predecessor. The original monastery was built by Prince Mihai Cantacuzino in 1695 after his trip to the holy grounds of Nazareth and Jerusalem. It was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was called Sinaia in the memory of Mount Sinai where Moses received the Ten Commandments.
The New Monastery (pictured below) was built in 1846, but King Carol renovated and enlarged it to use as a summer home until the inauguration of Peles Castle in 1883. Inside are two large-scale painted portraits of the king and queen, as well as two royal seats close to the altar. The wing the royals used as a summer residence (not pictured) later became the first religious museum in Romania.
The New Monastery
Interior of the New Monastery
There were many other beautiful buildings in Sinaia, including a grand hotel, casino, and the Cemetery of Heroes (Cimitirul Eroilor). Pictures are below.
Hotel Palace Sinaia
How would you like to stay here?!
The Cemetery of Heroes
The cemetery was established in the memory of the soldiers who fell in the First World War. (Source: tripadvisor.com)
A courtyard on the way back to the train station
At the end of my day, I had dinner at a lovely restaurant near the train station. Sinaia is about an hour south of Brasov, so it was an easy visit for a Sunday afternoon. If you're ever in Romania, I highly recommend a trip to Sinaia. Your visit won't be complete without it!
Restaurant near the main strip, not far from the train station
Sources: tripadvisor.com, https://www.historyhit.com/locations/peles-castle/, https://www.historyhit.com/locations/pelisor-castle/, https://www.uncover-romania.com/attractions/history-culture/churches/sinaia-monastery/