Jibou (German: Siben, Hungarian: Zsibó) is a town in Sălaj County, Transylvania, Romania. First attested in 1205 as Chybur, Jibou was known as Villa in 1219 and Oppidum in 1564, latin names that prove the importance of the locality in the area in Middle Ages.
Barons Wesselényi owned large domains in the area and they built here a castle in 1584, from which exist today only remains of the foundation. The present day castle was built between 1779-1810, and is one of the largest baroque buildings in Transylvania. The castle was built on two levels, on an elongated rectangular plan, with the center and ends more prominent. Two pavilions, side-symmetric, defines a reception court towards the gardens. A beautiful mansion (curia), a barn and stables were already built in 1755.
The first phase of construction is dated between 1778-1785. Between 1785-1789, when Baron Miklós Wesselényi was imprisoned, the works were stopped. The stoves were made by craftsmen from Sibiu. The hunting scenes were painted in 1805 by Franz Neuhauser, and the interiors were finished in 1807. After the death of Miklós Wesselényi, in 1810, the castle was almost finished and furnished. His widow, Ilona Cserei, continued the works, completed by the end of 1830. Béla József, specialist in Transylvanian Baroque, affirms that the constructor of the castle was Zahanum Brauman, who built also the Bánffy Palace in Cluj.
After the nationalization from 1948, the castle was used as a local school, high school and boarding house, and is now used by pioneers. The domain was claimed by the heirs of the baron.
The castle was surrounded by a large garden, but during the decades this garden was neglected and abandoned. In 1968 professor Vasile Fati founded near the castle a botanical garden for educational purposes. The garden design was inspired by the old garden surrounding the Wesselényi castle, with beautiful parterres. It has a surface of about 25 hectares and hosts more than 5.000 taxa from all around the world. It is still in expansion and recently it was finished the Japanese Garden. The botanical garden is organized in an innovative way. It is divided in ornamental, geographical, systematic, ecologic and genetic, economical sectors. The garden hosts also two spherical green houses (dome globes), projected in the ’80 by Cluj University and represent an important example of the architectural avantgarde of the last decades of the 20th century.
The kitsch statue of King Carol I
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