Photo: Compactforever

Miklósvár (Micloșoara) is in the area called Barcaság, it is a region in Kovászna County of Transylvania, in Romania. It is famous for its Renaissance fortified palace of the Kálnoky family as well as for its fortified church, now a beloved place of Prince Charles of Wales. The settlement is on the right bank of the River Olt and it is 32 km from Sepsiszentgyörgy (Sfântu Gheorghe, Gergen) to the northwest. You can also see the old ruins of the previously built Tortyogóvár on the 717-meter-high hill above the village, though according to the latest research, it is said to have been just a neolithic fortification. 

Miklósvár Photo: Andreidan

Miklósvár got its name from a fortified church that was devoted to St. Miklós (Nicholas) in 1211, called Castrum Sanct Nicolai in the document of King András II. It was the year when the king gave the Barcaság to the German Teutonic Order, and its boundaries were described in this document. These borders were Halmágy Castle, Noilgant (Ugra) Castle, and Miklós Castle aka Miklósvár. However, it must have been not a stone castle, but rather a typical palisade fort from the age of the Arpad dynasty so it perished during the Mongolian invasion in 1241. Next time, Miklósvár was mentioned in 1332.

The settlement had only 19 “gates” (homesteads) in 1567, each “gate” belonged to an extended family. The inhabitants are Hungarian Székely people, you can read more about the Székelys here:


The COA of the Kálnoky fsmily

The place is famous for the castle and palace of the Kálnoky family which was built in the Renaissance style in the 16th and 17th centuries. This family was mentioned as the owner of the place at first in 1588.  It was Kálnoky Bálint, the first owner who may have built a simple stately home there in the 16th century which served as a hunting lodge.

Photo: Andreidan

The Kálnoky family was one of the first Székely families of which there are written records in this region. The family received the noble coat of arms from King Lajos (Louis II) of Hungary. However, according to the family legend, Kálnoky András was the captain of the bodyguard of King Lajos (Louis) I the Great, who loved hunting in Transylvania. On one such occasion, the King somehow got lost in the forest, broke his spear, shot his last arrow, and stood there alone and unarmed, when he found himself confronted by a huge mother bear, and just as it was about to tear the King’s head off, Kálnoky András arrived, aiming his bow and arrow and shooting the open-mouthed bear through the mouth at the last moment. The king said, “András, I am grateful to you for saving my life, you have a choice between half my kingdom or a beautiful coat of arms.” The family was always very modest, so they chose the coat of arms and stayed with it.

The Kálnoky manson (Photo: MTI)

It was Kálnoky III István who began the construction of the castle in earnest in 1648. The northern and southern walls of the two-story-palace building are reinforced by two bigger and two smaller bastions. The beautiful Renaissance window and door frames were made of red andesite. 

Kálnoky Sámuel was enlarging the castle in the 1690s. The great hall of the castle is the nicest example of the late Renaissance buildings of Transylvania. Its decoration is the same as the ornaments of the Jesuit church of Nagyszombat (Trnava). This landlord was supporting the Jesuits so the connection is very likely. You can read in the castle the slogan of the Kálnoky family, curved in the stone: NON-EST MORTALE QUOD OPTO which means “I want no mortal”

At the end of the 1990s, Kálnoky Tibor returned from Germany and took over the renovation of his family’s castle. He had a royal guest there, Prince Charles who is also very fond of Transylvania and who has real estates there as well. Here is a short video about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PQJ_kSLt08

Miklósvár Photo: http://coalition.castleintransylvania.ro/

In the spring of 2017, restoration work was completed, creating a functioning museum. In the Museum of Transylvanian Life, you can gain an insight into 17th, 18th, and 19th-century Transylvanian noble life through the rooms.

Photo: http://coalition.castleintransylvania.ro/

The ground-floor halls of the castle with their two bastion rooms show the segments of Transylvanian noble and bourgeois life in the 17th and 19th centuries. The two bastion rooms are furnished in the 19th-century style – in the Biedermeier and Old Germanic styles – and the three central rooms offer a glimpse of 17th-19th century life in three different themes.

Photo: http://coalition.castleintransylvania.ro/

The Banqueting Hall is a remarkable example of the unique Transylvanian late Renaissance – early Baroque (turn of the 17th and 18th centuries) style, with a dining room and dance hall suitable for concerts.

Photo: http://coalition.castleintransylvania.ro/

The next room is called the “House of the Ladies”, as the contemporary name indicates the room of the lady of the house. Here, through the objects connected to the habits of the Lady, the everyday life of the late Renaissance – early Baroque period is brought to life. Then comes the “Lords’ House”, the room of the lord of the manor, with the objects of the 19th-century nobleman. The so-called “Old German Salon”, already mentioned, displays the gentry culture of the Háromszék region.

Miklósvár Photo: http://coalition.castleintransylvania.ro/

The museum section of the basement level is the vaulted ground floor room of the bastion and its lobby, where the panels presenting the history of the castle and the renovation, as well as archaeological finds recovered during the works, are displayed.

Miklósvár Photo: http://coalition.castleintransylvania.ro/

The museum occupies a small area in the basement due to the service rooms, but some of the cultural activities in the building can be carried out in the café space, so its atmosphere follows the same concept. In addition to the potted hearth in the café, an interior reminiscent of the former castle kitchen will be set up with ceramic utensils, dried herbs, etc.

Miklósvár Photo: http://coalition.castleintransylvania.ro/

In the vaulted space below and in the foyer, the archaeological finds are displayed: pot fragments, stove tile fragments, etc., and their reconstruction drawings are also exhibited, accompanied by text and drawings of the castle’s construction history.

The mansard rooms are used for various after-school activities, where they give extra lessons to children from the village, with the help of teachers from Barót.

Miklósvár Photo: http://coalition.castleintransylvania.ro/

Parts of the castle garden have also been restored based on archived documents, and visitors can now see a Renaissance herb garden and a pond with a philagoria.

The fortified church of Miklósvár

As for the original fortified church of the village, it had been destroyed before 1404 but there is another fortified church in the village. After all, Transylvania is the land of Saxon and Hungarian fortified churches.

Miklósvár Photo: Arcanum

The first medieval fort of Miklósvár used to stand where this second fortified church of the village presently can be found. This church is on the bank of the Olt River, it was built from the stones of the old fort. It was surrounded by a strong wall but a new church was constructed in 1772-75. According to the great Székely geographer, Orbán Balázs, there was a bell in it that was made in 1400. The bell was made by a Saxon bell founder who lived in Brassó (Brasov, Kronstadt). Unfortunately, this bell was destroyed in WWI. You can still see the 2.5-meter-high thick walls around the church, fortified with buttresses and with loopholes.

Photo: Peter Gill

Source: partly from http://www.hazajaroegylet.hu

You can read more about the Kálnoky family here: https://www.old.transylvaniancastle.com/kalnoky/kalnoky.html

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Here are a few pictures of the fortified church of Miklósvár and the fortified Renaissance palace of the Kálnoky family: