The Castle of Gilau

Gilau Castle

Religious & cultural monuments


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Only a few kilometres west of Cluj Napoca city, in Gilau town, there can be found one of the most important evidences of the Roman people history: the Gilau Castle.


From architectural point of view, it is characterised by the Transylvanian Renaissance style, with a rectangular shape, on two levels – ground floor and first floor, with 30 rooms and an inner yard.


Located in the middle of a natural park of almost 15 hectares, it was raised instead of a medieval fortress, overlapping in its turn the Roman camp which was guarding the ancient Napoca. If you want to go there, you must go on a stone alley of over 100 metres.


Besides, significant discoveries were made in the area, representing important historical evidences. Among them we can mention several stone axes, but also Roman coins and a Roman funerary necklace. But by far the “star” of the collection is a bronze statue called “Venus of Gilau”.


The Castle of Gilau was built almost 8 – 9 centuries ago, in the 15th century being the House of Bishops for a long period, and thereafter in the 16th century the place of heart of the Polish origins Princess Isabella Jagiello Zapolya, daughter of King Sigismund of Poland and widow of King John I of Hungary.


The name is derived from the Magyar language, the noun “gyalu”, the equivalent of the word “deal” (hill) in the Romanian language. Another variant for the history of the name would be the name of the Voivode Gelu, who led a battle right in the respective area.


In the period 1475-1501, the ensemble was rebuilt in Renaissance style. In 1871, the castle was seriously damaged in a fire, being renovated subsequently in several occasions.


In the period following the nationalization until 1960, the castle was used as a forest school, then becoming a school for incapacitated children. In the last decades it was used by the High School of Gilau. Then the castle went through a long process of retrocession, which prevented the county authorities to invest in its rehabilitation and showing it to advantage.


Presently, the roof of the castle is gradually deteriorating, the stray dogs roam in the yard at will and weeds grow so big you almost cannot see the walls.


If you do not know how to get to Gilau, the way is simple: from Cluj-Napoca going west about 12 kilometres.

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