Places of interest20 August 2019

Noble Transylvanian families and their lavish residences: Kendeffy Family

This old family used to own some of the most beautiful edifices in Transylvania which have now become historical monuments

Kendeffy Castle - Sântămăria Orlea, Hunedoara County

Kendeffy Castle - Sântămăria Orlea, Hunedoara County

The Kendeffy family is one of the oldest in Transylvania, of Cuman origin, and was first mentioned in an official document in the year 1236. It was originally called Candea, but was magyarized in the 15th century. Its ascension started with John (Ioan), who received a family coat of arms from King Sigismund of Hungary. Later on, he and his descendants obtained many estates in Hunedoara County from Iancu de Hunedoara and Matei Corvin. Ioan had two sons and, with them, the family split in two branches – Kendeffy and Kenderessy.

The most important property owned by the Kendeffy family is the Kendeffy Castle in Sântămăria Orlea, a village in Hunedoara County. It was built in the year 1782 by Count Elek Kendeffy – soon after becoming a count – on the foundation of a former mansion. The castle was originally a Baroque edifice, but it took on a broadly neo-gothic appearance in 1870–1874, when it was refurbished by Count Árpád Kendeffy. The latter also added an artificial lake around the castle, created in the English 19 century fashion.

The castle comprises three wings which are painted in pink, yellow and blue. The most imposing element is the tower on the western side, which is topped by a pyramid-shaped roof. The tower is connected to the main building through a wing that has two levels. The northern wing that houses the entrance to the castle has an asymmetrical shape. There is also a terrace near the entrance, reachable by a flight of stairs.

Although the original furniture was lost, specialists were able to establish that most pieces were made of oak and that the rooms contained art, books, weapons and hunting trophies.

The last owner was Gabor Kendeffy, who resided in the castle with his wife Zsuzsanna Banffy until 1946, when the property was nationalized. During the communist regime, the castle lost its furniture and was decommissioned. In 1982 it was turned into a hotel by Hunedoara City Hall, but was also shut down shortly.  

Sources:

Firtulescu, Ileana, ”ISTORIC| familii nobiliare | originea familei Kendeffy”, Comuna Râu de Mori, Available at: riu-de-mori.ro/istoric/origini_kendeffy.htm, Accessed: 07.03.2015.

Guță, Daniel, ”Povestea zbuciumată a castelului Kendeffy din Ţara Haţegului”, Adevărul, January 28th 2014, Available at: adevarul.ro/locale/hunedoara/foto-povestea-zbuciumata-castelului-kendeffy-1_52e7ff63c7b855ff56e125c4/index.html, Accessed: 07.03.2015.

Lentoiu, Maria, “Castelul Kendeffy”, Turism Land, March 4th 2015, Available at: http://www.turismland.ro/castelul-kendeffy-transilvania/, Accessed: 07.03.2015.

Panait, Daciana, ”Castelul Kendeffy”, Stelian Tănase, March 27th 2013, Available at: http://www.stelian-tanase.ro/castelul-kendeffy/, Accessed: 07.03.2015.

Sidó, Zsuzsa, ”Castelul Kendeffy”, Sântămăria Orlea, Referințe, February 2nd 2011, Available at: enciclopediavirtuala.ro/monument.php, Accessed: 07.03.2015.      

Andra Mihaela Cimpean

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