Sânpaul (Hungarian: Kerelőszentpál, Szentpál; German: Paulsdorf) is a commune in Mureş County, Transylvania, Romania. It is located on Mureş River, 20 km west from Târgu-Mureş.
Sânpaul village was documentary attested in 1332 as Sancta Paulo, in the 'Târnava Minor Archdeaconry Register', page 614, where is noted that Szent Pál village paid between 1332-1337 a contribution of 40 dinars to Vatican. It seems that at the time existed already here a fortification made of stone and wood - in another document it is reminded that in 1263 people of Kerelew (Chirileu, a village belonging to Sânpaul commune) were send to defend the citadel.
The first castle was built by Count Alardi Ferenc, at an unknown date. The first owner of the village was Szentpáli Mihály. When all his heirs died, the village was taken by one of the sons of King Matthias Corvinus. In 1486 the estate became the property Szentgyörgyi family, then in 1511 Ferenc and Márton, sons of a remote heir of Szentpáli family, were the next owners. Other masters followed, until the village became the property of Báthory family. In 1575 here was a battle for the possession of Transylvania, between Prince Báthory István and hostile nobles led by Békés Gáspár. During this battle, the castle was destroyed.
In 1609, Báthory Gábor donated the domain to Haller brothers - István, György and Zsigmond. The Haller family originated from Nürnberg, Germany. In April 1699, they became Barons, and on January 15 1719 became Counts. In 1610, Haller István began the reconstruction of the castle, which was completed in 1674 by his son, Haller János. It was destroyed again during the Kuruc Uprising (1703–1711, Romanian: Războiul curuţilor) against the Habsburgs, led by Rákóczi Ferenc II. The Medieval remains of the castle were demolished in the mid 18th century. It was built also a chapel, between 1745-1760. Followed a new reconstruction, but the castle was significantly damaged again in 1945, during WWII. The Haller family owned the Sânpaul domain until 1949, when all properties have been confiscated and nationalized. Near the castle was a vast arboretum with many rare and exotic species, and an ornamental lake. It seems that it was also a secret tunnel between the castle and the chapel on the hill.
In 1960, the castle was rebuilt by the 'Authority for Historical Monuments'. During the Communist regime, it was used as site for an agricultural association, vegetable storage, furniture storage, temporary home for people affected by floods in the '70. After 1990, it was claimed by the daughter of Count Haller, who donated it to the Roman-Catholic Archdiocese of Alba-Iulia.
Ancient legends speak of a terrible curse that still haunts the castle in Sânpaul. It is said that a gypsy witch, angered by the cruelty of Count Alardi Ferenc that unjustly whipped his husband, cursed the family and the castle to eternal desolation. Since then, the troubles followed the owners and the noble edifice which they lived. The castle was built three times and three times reached the decay and desolation.
Tour in Dorobanti area – Sunday 2 April
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