Mikes Castle, Zăbala

  • National heritage number:
  • CV-II-a-A-13331
  • address:
  • ZĂBALA nr. 437
  • dated to:
  • 16th – 19th centuries
  • ownership:
  • private property

The castle gained its present, monumental aspect in 1867, when Earl Mikes Kelemen reconstructed the castle, and extended it. During the construction works, the style of the building was completely changed as well, as the mansion gained a mansard level, and new rooms were built in the attic. The rectangular, turret-like three-storey porch was constructed with carved pillars. The double family crest of Mikes Benedek and his wife, Sophia Moser, was placed at the gable. 

A building, fortified with a gate tower, already stood in the 15th century where today’s castle stands. That building has then been reconstructed several times over during the 17th and 18th centuries. The listed building is mentioned for the first time in written records in 1629; the fresco remains from the room on the upper floor also bear witness to its renaissance origins. The drawing contained in Orbán Balázs’s book, entitled A Székelyföld Leírása (The Portrayal of Szeklerland), attests to this as well. The mansion of old was reconstructed in 1867 by Earl Mikes Benedek (1819-1878), and extended to include a mansard: that is when the building gained its current shape. Earl Mikes Ármin (1868-1944) then constructed a new, three-storey castle between 1910 and 1912, where he accommodated his guests from abroad. The new building is connected to the old castle by a tunnel and a two-storey bridge. During the Second World War, the castle was ransacked, and the estate was devastated. In 1949 the building was nationalised, and the family was evicted. The castle became a headquarter for the state’s agriculture, after which it became a summer house for the labour union, later orphanage, school, as well as a sanatorium and asylum. The property was revendicated by the Mikes family in 2005. The castle and the estate were restored shortly after. It is currently a hotel.

The renaissance mansion constitutes the basis for the castle we see today. The lower floor of the protruding porch is closed, its only entrance being its arched stone gateway. The upper floor of the pillared porch is open; semi-circular openings can be seen at its sides. The floors are separated by a string-course, while the different segments are differentiated through colouring as well.

An open doorway to the old mansion was made by creating an opening in the wall of the ground floor. The first level of the porch is glassed in; the second was open until the first quarter of the 20th century, after which it was also glassed in. Together with the extension of the castle, the building also gained accentuated plaster courses and window frames. One of the age’s architectural novelties that the castle features, and which is also very visible from the outside, is the row of ransom windows which rises from the top of the roof.

The castle’s 17th – 18th century interior structure has been preserved. The rooms of the castle’s two lowest levels are vaulted. The barrel vaults of the ground floor feature irregular coffers, while the barrel vaults from the upper floor feature regular coffers. Two more rooms are located behind the listed building’s oldest room. The stairwell is located in the centre, in the area surrounded by the different cellars and rooms. The old ceremonial hall is located on the first floor of the castle; it was most probably split in two with a thin wall during the 1867 construction works. The glassed porch, the carved is accessible from here. The rectangular, carved pillars are ornate with shinning tendrils. The smaller room of the great hall contains a tile stove built according to the German renaissance style. It is considered to be one of the most valuable remaining elements of the old furniture. The different vault panels from the larger half of the great hall are divided by stucco along the ribs and groins; fragments of 18th century paintings have also been uncovered. Based on the uncovered fragments, it can be deduced that the vaults were once decorated with floral motifs. More interesting frescos once decorated the walls of the room situated in the back corner, where Turkish figures grabbing onto shinning tendrils have been uncovered. The mansard has undergone several modifications after the Second World War.

Property Status: it is currently owned by the descendants.

How do you get here?

How do you get here?



Links