The castle’s name was taken after the creek that crosses the valley of Sinaia in the area called Pietrele Arse. King Carol I of Romania did some traveling in these parts back in 1866, and fascinated by the area’s charm, decided to put the foundation of a castle. Peles Castle was built in the neo-renaissance style by German architect Wilhelm Doderer and was inaugurated in 1883. Later, there were other development plans that brought the castle in its current form: guard rooms, ‘Economatul’, the hunting house (gazebo) the royal stables and a power plant. All works were completed in 1914. At that time, Peles was one of the most beautiful castles in Europe, but in some ways different from all others: it was the first European castle entirely electrified. It had its own power plant, situated on the Peles creek.
The interiors of the castle are as marvelous as its history. Tourists have the opportunity to admire a great deal of valuable collections of sculptures, paintings, carpets and furniture, armor, tapestries and statues, usensils of gold and silver, stained glass and fine porcelain items. Each visit at the Peles Castle leaves you with memorable memories.
During the extension works carried at the Peles Castle – during 1899 – 1902 -, one of the architects of the time, Karel Liman, raised Pelisorul, the ‘little brother’ of the famous royal residence. From the beginning, it was meant to be a smaller scale replica of the Peles Castle, with only 99 rooms and a clear destination: Pelisor had to be residence of Prince Ferdinand and Maria. Pelisor was decorated by the Viennese artist Bernhardt Ludwig, but bears the imprint of Queen Mary’s personality: the gold bedroom, for example was decorated with carved gilded wood furniture – as well as the office – and the walls were embellished with thistle leaves. A motif for which the queen had a real weakness, since it was present in Scotland’s emblem – her birthplace. Interesting and flattering is that all this was achieved with furniture carved in the Art and Crafts Workshops, in Sinaia.
The ‘George Enescu’ Memorial House
The ‘George Enescu’ Memorial House in Sinaia, known as ‘Vila Luminis’, represents the recreation and inspiration setting where George Enescu composed some of his favorite works, mainly Oedipus. Located in Cumpatu, the house was built between 1923-1926 with the help of architect Radu Dudescu, after blueprints made by Enescu himself.
Built in an authentic Romanian style and integrated in ambience of Bucegi mountains, surrounded by fir trees – many of them planted by Enescu – the villa is simple, sober and at the same time it shines, perfectly defining and outlining the personality of the person who lived in it and always said that ‘simplicity in life is the true freedom.’ Because George Enescu was extremely concerned about the way light falls, an important aspect in the construction of this house is found in the placement of windows and light distribution. Vila Luminis was donated to the Romanian state in 1947 to be used as a place of recreation for creatives and artists. In 1995, ‘Vila Luminis’ became the ‘George Enescu’ Memorial House, and since 2007 is a department of the ‘George Enescu’ National Museum.
Sinaia Monastery, also called the ‘The Carpathians’ Cathedral, is dating from the 17th century and represents the historical identity of the city; it was the first building to take shape on this land. The monastery’s founder, Mihail Cantacuzino, together with his mother and his sister, Elena Stanca, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Nazareth and reached Mount Sinai where they prayed in the Monastery of Saint Catherine. Impressed by what he saw, he decided to return to Romanian and build a monastery that beared the name of Mount Sinai. The monastery museum contains objects of worship, such as the first Bible printed and translated in Romanian, in Bucharest, and a large collection of religious art.
Saint Anne's Cliffs
The name of ‘Saint Anne’ was given by refugee monks of Mount Athos. According to documents of the time, at the base of St. Ana’s cliffs existed a small hermitage of monks, who found there a safe haven, after the Turk’s conquest of Constantinople on the 29th of May 1453.
The hermitage also appeared in 1453. Until 1581, the somewhat deserted religious life in Prahova Valley, was taking place at Saint Anne’s cliffs.
The Royal Sheepfold & The Franz Joseph Cliffs
Two of the most beautiful places in Sinaia, with spectacular views, the Royal Sheepfold (ro: Stâna Regală) and the Franz Joseph cliffs, were the favorite places of Romanian monarchs for taking walks and organizing rustic parties for guests of the Royal House.
Stâna Regală, also called Poiana Regală, is actually an alpine meadow situated at 1270 meters, whose uniqueness is given by a full view over Bucegi Mountains.
In regard to the Franz Joseph cliffs, it is said that King Charles I came here with the monarch of the Austro-Hungarian empire, to show him Prahova Valley and have lunch.
Currently, it remains one of the less known touristic destinations, although it is relatively easy to access on foot and by car. However, for those who have the inspiration to visit both, they are indeed breathtaking discoveries.