Mikes Castle, Zăbala

Zăbala (Hungarian: Zabola) is a village in Covasna County, Transylvania, Romania, located at 7 km from Covasna. It was attested in 1567 and it formed part of the Székely Land region of the historical Transylvania province. Until 1918, the village belonged to the Háromszék (Three Chairs) County of the Kingdom of Hungary. After the Treaty of Trianon of 1920, it became part of Romania. The commune has a Székely Hungarian majority (76.55%). Zăbala is renowned for the beautiful castle of Mikes counts, which gathers specific architecture of the mansions of Covasna County and folk architecture elements.

The Mikes Castle dates back to the 16th century. It was built on the remaining of an early fortified building which is suspected to be burned down in the liberation war of Transylvania. Under Communism the Castle and the estate was a children home, hospital, school. Especially in the last 20 years the buildings and the park were neglected. The castle was returned to the descendants of Count Mikes, Gregor and Alexander Roy Chowghury, which transformed it into a great tourism location. As a first step in bringing the estate back to life archaeological research has been initiated. Research is also being undertaken in the archives.

On the first floor all the ceilings were covered (currently painted over) with Frescoes from 1867 when the building was extended and redecorated. The Castle is connected through a 50m long tunnel with a large villa built around 1900 for hosting the offices of the Estate and rooms for the guests of the family as well as a large kitchen. Next to the building there was a small church. Mid 19th Century the church was demolished. Count Mikes Benedek provided a plot in the center of the village were he used the material to build a new Catholic church. The family crypt behind the castle has been destroyed in 1948 and demolished in the 1960s.

The 34 ha park, with lakes and ponds, at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains offers a splendid view both to the mountains and the Háromszék Highland. The park was first designed to have its current shape at the beginning of the 18th century, and was then adapted and modified by each following generation. The current shape was created by the renowned French garden designer Achille Duchene. The estate owns forests, agricultural land and buildings spread over the county and other parts of Transylvania.

Infos and photos from www.zabola.com and other minor sources.