A project of the SRITA Association

Apafi Castle (Dumbraveni)

Gergely Apafi, bought land in Dumbraveni in the middle of the sixteenth century from the Bethlen family, and built the Renaissance castle between 1552 and 1567. His son, Miklós established his family residence here in 1590. The castle’s golden age was in the period when prince Mihaly Apafi made Dumbraveni his princely residence. After the death of his son, Mihály (1713), the family had no male descendants, and Countess Bethlen Kata came into possession of the estate. She made an agreement with the Treasury in 1722, according to which she could use the estate during her lifetime, after which the castle became the property of the Treasury. This agreement was contrary to an inheritance contract between the Apafi and Bethlen families from 1584, that stated, that if a family dies without descendants, the other family receives their properties. Count Ádám Bethlen, after a long process based on the mentioned inheritance contract, in 1776, won the right to the property against the Treasury. In the meantime the estate was sold to the Armenians, and the Bethlen family received another estate in turn, the castle remaining in the property of the Armenians. The castle was in ruins at the end of the eighteenth century and in the nineteenth century served as a court, prosecution hall, jail, library or even school. In 2010, Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland have provided government support for the renovation of the castle, today the Union of Armenians of Romania hosts a museum inside the castle, in four rooms dedicated to the Armenians from Transylvania.

Access: Dumbrăveni (Erzsebetvaros in Hungarian, Elisabethstadt in German), Cuza Voda street no. 4.