Corvin Castle, also known as Hunyadi Castle or Hunedoara Castle, is a Gothic-Renaissance castle in Hunedoara, Romania. It is one of the largest castles in Europe and figures in a top of seven wonders of Romania.
Corvin Castle was laid out in 1446, when construction began at the orders of John Hunyadi who wanted to transform the former keep built by Charles I of Hungary. The castle was originally given to John Hunyadi's father, Voyk (Vajk), by Sigismund, king of Hungary, as severance in 1409. It was also in 1446 when John Hunyadi was elected as the regent-governor of the Kingdom of Hungary by the Diet.
The castle is built in Renaissance-Gothic style and it features tall and strong defense towers. Beside the towers, bastions, the inner courtyard, and the drawbridge, the wall is actually double and flanked by round or rectangular towers, an innovative feature for Transylvanian architecture. The rectangular towers have larger openings, for larger weapons. Some towers were built solely for defense, such as the Buzdugan Tower (Mace tower), while others, like the Drummers' Tower, the Deserted Tower, and the Capistrano Tower were used as prison cells. The castle is divided into three main areas: the Diet Hall, the Knights' Hall, and the circular stairway. The halls are rectangular and paved with marble, and were used for feasts and ceremonies. Built over the site of an older fortification and on a rock above the small Zlasti River, the castle is a large and imposing building with tall and diversely coloured roofs, towers and myriad windows and balconies adorned with stone carvings.
The first step was building a double wall for fortification purposes. The walls were flanked by rectangular or circular towers, an architectural innovation to the period's Transylvanian architecture. Some of the towers (the Capistrano Tower, the Deserted Tower and the Drummers' Tower) were used as a prison. The Buzdugan Tower (name after a type of weapon) was solely built for defence purposes and it had its exterior decorated with geometric motifs. The rectangular shaped towers had large openings to accommodate larger weapons. The castle has 3 large areas: the Knight's Hall, the Diet Hall and the circular stairway. The halls are rectangular in shape and are decorated with marble. The Diet Hall was used for ceremonies or formal receptions whilst the Knight's Hall was used for feasts. In 1456, John Hunyadi died and work on the castle has stagnated. Starting with 1458, new commissions were being undergone to construct the Matia Wing of the castle. In 1480, work was completely stopped on the castle and it was recognised as being one of the biggest and most impressive buildings in Western Europe.
The 16th century did not bring any improvements to the castle, but during the 17th century new additions were made, for aesthetic and military purposes. Aesthetically, the new Large Palace was built facing the town. A two level building, it hosted living chamber and a large living area. For military purposes, two new towers were constructed: the White Tower and the Artillery Tower. Also, the external yard was added, used for administration and storage.
The current castle is the result of a fanciful restoration campaign undertaken after a disastrous fire and many decades of total neglect. It has been noted that modern "architects projected to it their own wistful interpretations of how a great Gothic castle should look".