Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Peleş Castle, Romania

With a very early flight Sunday morning from Chişinău we had several hours to kill back in Bucharest.  So rather than go walk around the city again, we rented a car and drove to Sinaia.

Sinaia is a mountain resort town about 100 km (62 miles) from Bucharest.  It is 60 km (37 miles) from Bran Castle and 50 km (31 miles) from Braşov.  I had wanted to stop here in 2010 but there wasn't enough time in the day.

Sinaia was named after Mt. Sinai in Egypt.  Many of my colleagues have raved about how nice the town is.  Which makes sense because this is where Romania's King Carol I built his summer home Peleş Castle.

Construction on the castle began in 1873.  There was an interruption in construction but it was finally completed in 1883.  The castle is amazing!  Peleş combines wood, stone, bricks and marble, and it has more than 160 rooms.  Inside of the castle is quite spectacular with each each room decorated in a particular style. 

It's kind of pricey to tour the castle.  Admission to the castle was 50 Romanian Lei ($14) four the tour of the ground floor (official reception areas) and the first floor (private areas).  They wanted to charge another $9 just to take photos inside of the castle.  I elected to forgo the interior photos but there are pictures on Flickr of the outside which you can take photos of for free.

Peleş Castle was the first European castle to be entirely lit by electric current.  The castle had its own plant that produced electricity.

Next to the Peleş Castle is Pelişor (Little Peles).  King Ferdinand felt that Peleş was too big to be used as a summer residence so he had a smaller, 70-room chateau built.  There wasn't enough time to tour Pelişor.  So maybe next time.

A return visit to Sinaia may just be in order.  Besides Pelişor, I would like to tour the Sinaia Monastery.  Plus, there's also the town itself which should be nice and relaxing.

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