The Peles Castle was built between 1873 and 1914, on the initiative of the first king of Romania, Carol I, by the architects: Johannes Schultz, Carol Benesch and Karel Liman, and it was decorated by famous decorators J. D. Heymann from Hamburg, August Bembé from Mainz and Bernhard Ludwig from Vienna.
The Peles Castle has a unique character, and by its historical and artistic value it’s one of the most important monuments in Europe, built on the second part of the XIX century.
Prince Carol elected as prince of Romania in 1866, visited Sinaia at that time a small mountain village called Neagului Bridge, the Peles castle’s home, first time in the same year, and he was enchanted by the beauty of this place and he decided to build here a castle. A few years later in 1872 the prince buys a land here and in 1873 around 3000 workers are preparing the land and area for the castle to be, under the close supervision of the prince himself.
In 1875 starts the construction of the castle. Under the first stones the put dozens of gold coins of 20 lei, the first Romanian coins with the image of Carol I.
1883 is the year of the official inauguration of the Castle, and in the eyes of Carol I the Peles is the “headquarter “ of the new dynasty. The castle location was not accidental, not far from here at Predeal was the border of Romania with the Austro-Hungarian, but later after the unification of The Old Kingdom with Transylvania, the castle was placed in the very heart of the country.
Peles gained a growing importance, became the summer residence of the royal family of Romania, who spent considerable time here usually from May to November. Also here were held important political meetings such as the Crown Council from 1914, when Romania decided neutrality in the World War I.
Many important personalities of the time: musicians, painters, poets, king and queens were guest of the Peles Castle.
The most important visit was the one of the Old Austro – Hungarian emperor Franz Joseph in 1896, who was very impressed by the beauty ad richness of the castle.
A simple calculation shows the between 1875 and 1914 with the construction of the castle they spent over 16 million gold-lei.
Even after his inauguration in 1883, Peles was expending constantly. On current form it was reached only in 1914, the year when Carol I died.
The castle has 160 rooms and several staircases and entrances. The central tower measures 66 meters tall. The castle has a theatre hall with a small stage and 60 places plus the royal lodge. All the facilities in the castle was very modern for the time of its construction. For example, the glass ceiling of the hall of honor is mobile and can be driven by an electric motor.
Since 1883, the castle has central heating.Besides the Castle it was also builded Pelisor, The Body Guards, House of Hunting, Stables, Power Plant and Sipot Villa. By the time they finished the construction of the castle in 1883, the King Carol I and Queen Elisabeth lived in the Hunting House.
Due to the Electric Plant built in this area the Peles Castle was the first completely electrified castle in Europe.
Te Castle has a special importance for the history of hour country. Here was born in 1893 the future king Carol II, the first king of the dynasty born on Romanian land and baptized in Orthodox religion. Also, in 1921 was born here his son, King Michael I.
In 1921 at Peles was the wedding of Princess Ileana, sister of Carol II, and are invited here a few of the VIPs of the moment such as Nicolae Iorga also called Voltaire of Romania.
The Peles Castle remain the summer royal residence until 1948, when it was confiscated by the communist regime. In 1953 became a museum. Since 1990 the Peles castle and Pelisor are opend to the public for visits.
It is interesting that Nicolae Ceausescu visited rarely the castle . There were some information that the communist leader Ceausescu wanted to establish here a protocol residence in 1980. Knowing that they had mania to order all kinds of demolition and changes curators have scared them that inside the castle is a fungus that attacks wood elements and is very dangers for the people’s health. In fact the true was that the wooden part of the castle was attacked by a fungus due to moisture. For this reason restoration works have started and it was replaced the structural frame and the hall of honor, and the living room located downstairs. Cautious, the Ceausescu spent one night in the castle.
After the Revolution from 1989 the Peles Castle and Pelisor were reintegrated in the tourist circuits. In 2006 the Romanian government has returned the castle to the former King Michael I.
Although it is privately owned by the Royal House of Romania, King Michael decided to keep it as a museum.
The Peles Castle was and it will be the most important royal edifice from Romania, and one of the most beautiful castle in Europe.