Photo: Khamsin

Keresd (Creisch, Cris) is in Transylvania, Romania. It was not a Saxon fort, although there lived Saxons along with Hungarians. Keresd is famous for the Renaissance palace of the Bethlen family which is being renovated now by the orphans of Father Böjte Csaba. 

Photo: Tovissy

The settlement is situated only 12 km to the south-west of Segesvár (Sighișoara, Schäßburg). It is so much hidden among the hills that the locals call it a “castle that cannot be found” (“meglelhetetlen”). Due to its hidden location, the Bethlen family used the place for weddings and honeymoons quite frequently. As far as we know, it was already in the Bethlen family’s hand in 1367. 

Photo: Andrei Stoica

The first castle was built in the mid-15th century by Márk, son of Miklós but it was rebuilt in 1559 by Bethlen György and his wife, Lady Nagykárolyi Klára. Their son, Mihály continued the constructions, too. As Keresd was near a center of Transylvanian Saxons, Schäßburg / Segesvár /Sighișoara, it shared in the events that formed its history. Luckily enough, the major wars and destructions avoided Keresd Castle.

Photo: Tovissy

Lord Bethlen Elek built bastions in old Italian fashion and made further fortifications in 1675. The famous historian, Bethlen Farkas wrote Transylvania’s history here and he also established a printing house. The printing of the book began in 1684 but all the copies were lost at the Tatar and Ottoman attacks during the reign of Prince Thököly in 1690. Some of the copies of Bethlen Farkas’ works survived in Keresd because they were walled in.

The Habsburgs decided to demolish most of the Hungarian Borderland castles in 1701 but Keresd was regarded as a palace of the higher nobility so it was not pulled down. The Bethlen family had been taking good care of the palace for as long as they could. Like so many other buildings of the aristocrats, the palace was taken away from the Bethlens in 1948 by the Romanian state. The next renovation took place in the 1970s which saved it from utter destruction.

Photo: Tovissy

Now, at first look, the Renaissance palace of the Bethlens seems to be in a very bad condition like many of its brothers in Transylvania. Fortunately, we have good news, too. The Bethlen family was able to get it back only in 2007 and began to clean and renovate the building. They cleaned the well, built a fence, and mended the roof; then, they installed electricity. The palace was given to the Foundation of Saint Ferenc of Déva in 2014. Father Böjti Csaba is in charge of the building now and the reconstruction is steadily going on, the orphans of Father Csaba are working on it while learning new professions in it. It is in their hands for the next 50 years. By now (2018), lots of improvements have happened there.

Photo: Thaler Tamas


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Photo: Khamsin

Here are more pictures of Keresd: