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Wass-Bánffy Castle from Gilău

In the Middle Ages, the Gilău domain was owned by the Bishopric of Transylvania, and the town – formed near the Roman fortress – was one of the bishop’s residences. The medieval fortress of Gilău is mentioned in documents from the year 1428, during the time of bishop Gheorghe Lépes. From the time of Bishop Ladislau Geréb (1479-1502), the cousin of King Matthias Corvinus (1458-1490), have been preserved the first elements of artistic value of the episcopal residence in Gilău. Among these we mention:

– Bishop Ladislau Geréb’s coat of arms (leaning lion in a crown, currently located in Cluj-Napoca, National History Museum of Transylvania)

– Two identical rectangular pieces decorated with fasces laureati (a symbol of victory in the Roman era, also used in Renaissance art), carved in stone, built into the fireplace of the upstairs salon.

– A rectangular piece decorated with the figure of the Archangel Michael slaying the dragon (currently located in Cluj-Napoca, National History Museum of Transylvania).

In 1541, in the Gilău castle was signed the agreement regarding the unification under the leadership of the Habsburgs of the Hungary Kingdom territories not occupied by the Ottomans. From 1580 the domain had several owners: in 1587 the governor John Ghiczy, in 1597 the bishop of Transylvania Dimitrie Náprágyi, between the years 1600-1603 the owners were Mihai Viteazul, Ștefan Csáky and general Giorgio Basta, in the years 1603-1605 the noble Pancrațiu Sennyei. After sieging the castle in 1605, Prince Ștefan Bocskai also ordered the first inventory of it.

During the reign of Prince Gheorghe Rákóczi I, the castle became a princely residence and was radically modified. In 1663 the Gilău castle and domain was mortgaged to the noble Dionisie Bánffy, Comite of Dăbâca. Between 1704-1705, during the Revolt of the Hungarian Aristocracy, it was damaged.

In 1874 the castle was bought by Bernat Rosenberger. He is responsible for the renovation and reconstruction of the castle after the fire from 1861. In 1911 it was bought by Countess Ecaterina Bánffy. She owned it until its nationalization in 1948. After 1972, the castle was used as a school for disabled children until 2002, when it was returned to the old owner. The current owner renovated the castle through a project with European funding. In the near future, it is planned to rehabilitate the entire domain adjacent to the castle.

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