Gyimesbükk castle around 1914

Gyimesbükk (or Ghimeș-Făget in Romanian) used to be the Easternmost border castle of the Kingdom of Hungary, it is located in the middle of the Transylvanian Carpathian Mountains, in Romania. It is a small fort between Gyimesbükk and Palánka which guarded the historical Hungarian border in the Tatros River’s valley at the lower section of the Gyimesi Pass. The place is 32 km from Csíkszereda to the northeast. It is called Rákóczi Castle but it was Prince Bethlen who had it erected. This is a 3D video about the castle of Gyimesbükk that is a reconstructional work of Fodor Zsolt, please watch it, and enjoy the Hungarian folk music, too:

Drawing of Gyimesbükk castle by Fodor Zsolt

Although it had been a crossing place before, the castle is said to have been built by Prince Bethlen Gábor of Transylvania in about 1626. It was an important border post against the intruding Crimean Tatars from Moldova. In a time of peace, there were always two guards watching over the pass as was noted in 1677. It was called Rákóczi castle because Prince Rákóczi György had it reinforced. It was quite an important border station, even the Habsburg monarch King Joseph II paid a visit there in 1773. 

Later, the Habsburg rulers also reinforced the small fort.  It had little military significance but it was able to control the trade route that was passing through the Carpathians 30 meters below its walls. There was a steep flight of stairs leading up to the castle that was covered by a wooden roof. There were 134 steps on it and according to a legend, a Székely warrior called Latz András managed to ride up on horseback in 1789 which had been thought impossible before.

Below the castle, you can see the railway station in the middle of the settlement. It was built between 1895-97, based on the plans of Pfaff Ferenc who had also been the architect of railway stations in Pécs, Szeged, Zagreb, and Győr. The station is 107 meters long and 13 meters wide and the building consists of an additional royal waiting hall that was created for Empress Elisabeth of Austria.

Photo: Kvmgz

A guardhouse was built in 1897. During WWII, the structures were part of the so-called Árpád defense line. The railway station’s guardhouse had not been in use since the 1960s but it was bought by a local Hungarian man called Deáky András in 2003. He gifted it to Gyimesbükk village. Then, funds were raised with the help of the Cultural Foundation of Budakeszi and the Foundation of Szeret-Klézse so the building was opened to the public in 2008.

Photo: Szabi237

You can read more about the local Hungarian Székely people here:

A monument over the grave of a Hungarian officer (Photo: Hints Zoltan)

It is noted, that a Hungarian officer called Sebő Ödön had been defending the Pass in September 1944 for three weeks. He had only three platoons of soldiers, and he was attacked by the Soviet and the Romanian army.

Photo: Hints Zoltan

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The Gyimes Pass (Photo: Kabóca)

Here are a few more pictures of Gyimesbükk castle: