Bánffy Castle from Bonţida is one of the architectural monuments representative of the Transylvanian Baroque style, the richness of elements specific to this architectural style also bringing it the name of “Transylvania’s Versailles”. According to historical documents, the castle took the place of a former mansion, a noble residence that existed around the 14th century.
King Sigismund of Luxembourg donated to the Bánffy family, in 1387, the estate on which Bánffy Castle now stands. Dionisie Banffy starts the construction of the castle in Bonţida commune, a place located approximately 30 km north-east of Cluj-Napoca. The construction was designed to have the shape of the letter “L”, in the first phase being built a fortress surrounded by a fortifications system, with strong stone walls and doors carved in Renaissance style.
The tower located at the entrance to the castle, had an important defense role. Symmetrical alleys, long terraces, airy atmosphere, are the things that completed the castle park, making it look unique.
The main buildings of the palace are dominated by architectural elements specific to the Renaissance style, in the 18th century being made extensions in the Baroque style.
The reconstruction of the castle, in Austrian Baroque style, is initiated by Dionisie Bánffy II, starting with 1745, according to the plans of the Viennese architect Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlachc. He gives a new shape to the palace, like the letter U, by creating new buildings: the riding hall, the stable, the shed and the servants’ houses. The amusement park keeps the same baroque style, being provided with symmetrical alleys, the lake on the right side of the castle from where you can admire the romantic side of the castle, statues, obelisks and artesian wells.
The next descendant of the family, József Bánffy, changes the appearance of the estate by demolishing the gate tower and redefining the sober baroque forms in the park, with more free, romantic forms, characteristic to English ones. Also during the reign of József, a new wing of the building was raised, and a water mill was built from the material resulting from the demolition of the tower, made available to the villagers.
In 1944 the castle was used as a military hospital, and at the end of World War II it was largely damaged by vandalism and arson by retreating German troops. After 1950, one of the wings of the castle became the headquarters of the Bonţida Agricultural Production Cooperative.
The domain of the Bánffy family was not limited only to the Bonțida Castle, but also extended within the Răscruci village, located in the same commune. Bánffy Castle from Răscruci was built in the 18th century, in an eclectic neoclassical style, the residence being surrounded by one of the most beautiful parks of the Bánffy family estates. The palace belonged to the Bonţida estate and was used as a summer residence by the Bánffy family, the two residences being connected by a poplar alley.
Currently, Bánffy Castle from Bonțida is under the administration of the Transylvania Trust Foundation, which aims to restore and capitalize on the potential of the Bonțida estate. Numerous cultural-artistic activities are currently organized here, activities that attract many visitors.
The castle became famous due to the fact that every year it hosts the famous Electric Castle music festival. The festival initiated on the castle estate in 2013, taking place over 3 days, in which lovers of different musical genres lived a unique experience in Romania. From one year to another, the festival becomes more and more popular, registering increases among the participants, the scenes used, innovation and creativity. The 2019 edition marked the existence of the first festival in Romania that translated for those with hearing impairments, the most important concerts, using sign language.
Among the most important awards obtained by the festival are the Best Camping Award at the European Festival Awards in 2017, the Best Food & Drinks Award at the European Festival Awards in 2018 and the Best Medium Sized Festival award at the European Festival Awards in 2019.
The access to the castle is made from the national road leading to Bonțida, a commune located about 30 km from Cluj-Napoca.
The castle awaits its visitors with its gates opened every day.
Address: Ștefan Emilian street, Bonțida
Phone: 0264-439.858; 0745-141.540