Good Tuesday morning! A striking castle with dark and tumultuous history, built in the 1930s by the former Prime Minister of Romania, now for sale!
This stunning structure is located, appropriately, in the hills of Transylvania. It has a dark and complicated history of gold mining and disturbing far-right politics in the 1930s, having served as the former summer residence of the Prime Minister under King Carol II, Ion Gigurtu. Considering we are now in October and getting close to Halloween, I am getting shivers imagining all ghosts that may haunt it and the dark deeds that may have happened here. Despite the remnants of its past, it is now ready for a new purpose – whether being split into individual rental units, used as a hotel, or even enjoyed as a private residence, the gorgeous architecture of this castle has heaps of potential!
Walking on the picturesque road that goes up, through Apuseni, from Alba-Iulia to Arieșeni, you will surely be robbed of the captivating beauty of the places. But, once past Zlatna, at the entrance to Botești, a banal curve will bring before your eyes an image you did not expect: a castle in all its splendor, today slightly blurred by the tumultuous history it went through, but a splendor which, however, is impossible to miss: from the imposing stature with which it rises to the edge of the forest to the architectural details it preserves.
The castle was built between 1936 and 1939 by Ion Gigurtu, son of Olga Gigurtu (daughter of Nicolae Bălcescu’s brother and the niece of the painter Theodor Aman), former Romanian engineer and far-right, pro-German politician. His political career began in 1918 within the People’s Party. On April 10, 1932, he followed Octavian Goga when he broke away from the PP to form his own political party, the National Agrarian Party. From July 14, 1935, Gigurtu became one of the leaders of the new formation of the Christian National Party, resulting from the merger of PNA and LANC (Professor A. C. Cuza’s party). In July 1937, he was nominated by the Ministry of Industry and Trade as a specialist in the Superior Economic Council. In the government led by Octavian Goga between December 28, 1937 and February 10, 1938, he was appointed by King Charles II to prepare for the establishment of the personal regime, receiving the portfolio of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. After this experience, the head of state reconfirms him as a member of the Superior Economic Council. Gigurtu again receives ministerial portfolios in the Gheorghe Tătărescu government. He was appointed head of the Ministry of Public Works and Communications (November 24, 1939 – June 1, 1940), then Minister of Foreign Affairs (June 1, 1940 – June 28, 1940). In 1940, the head of state appointed Ion Gigurtu as prime minister, a position he held until September 4, 1940, when he handed over the leadership of General Ion Antonescu’s government. His life was not easy, in the years that followed he was arrested and released several times. On the night of 5/6 May 1950, he was arrested and imprisoned at the Sighet penitentiary together with the other former dignitaries from the interwar period, but also with his wife. Ion Gigurtu died on November 24, 1959 at the Râmnicu Sărat penitentiary, aged 73 years.
Well-known businessman, he was also the general manager of the company “Mica”, specialized in the extraction of gold and other precious metals. The castle was originally used as the family’s summer residence and as the administrative headquarters for the mining company. The stature and composition elements frame it in the Neo-Romanian architectural style of Moldovan influence, very close to the Ghika-Budești style: “The Ghika-Budești style is unmistakable and bears a strong Moldavian imprint: exposed brick, glazed ceramic discs, neo-Gothic frames. Also noteworthy are the tower-tower of monastery inspiration, the horseshoe arch, the decoration with “saw teeth” and geometric motifs. In particular, the horseshoe bow is customized, with a brace at the top. The chromatics of the facades of his constructions combine the shades of red-brick with the green of the decorative ceramics and the light shades of the plaster in similipiatra. ”
The castle is located on a plot of 8,800 square meters, has a built area of 1358 square meters, 19 rooms and a development project that includes 23 apartments. In fact, in recent years, the castle has benefited from a series of consolidation and rehabilitation works that not only ensure the proper preservation of the building, but will also facilitate the mission of the future owner: foundation insulation, interior partitioning, roof and frame replacement, system replacement rainwater collection.
The castle witnessed the period of glory of the place, related to the gold mines in the area, then it was used as a school and school camp, so that in the ’80s it was offered to a military unit. But the castle’s celebrity is related to the fact that an important part of the film “Noi, cei din linia întâi”, was filmed here, a film directed by Sergiu Nicolaescu and starring Ion Besoiu, Colea Răutu, Valentin Uritescu and Ștefan Iordache.
Today, the castle is ready to begin a new adventure. The surroundings of a completely special beauty and the versatility that the current rehabilitation projects offer us instantly send us the thought of a future hotel, pension, care center or, why not, maybe a chic hunting castle.