Cetatea de Baltă Castle

Cetatea de Baltă (Hungarian: Küküllővár; Saxon German: Kâkelbrich; German: Kockelburg, Kukelburg, Kuchelburg, Kümelburg) is a village in Alba County with a population of 3235. It is located between Târnăveni (15 km) and Blaj (21 km).

The village was first attested in a Papal register in 1177, as "Villa Cuculiensis Castri". The reformed church towers were built in 1060, and have resisted to the Tatar invasion of 1214. As a reminder of those events, on church walls is painted a big head of a Tatar (late 13th century). According to another document in 1214, during King Stephen I of Hungary here was a wooden fort fortified with embankments of earth, which was destroyed during the Tatar invasion in 1241.

Documents from the early 14th century refers again to a fort, which during 1467-1538 was under the rule of Ştefan the Great and Petru Rareş, ruling princes of Moldavia. In 1565 it was destroyed by the Csaky family, owner of the serf villages to build here a fortified castle. In the late 17th century the domain became the property of Prince Apafi Mihály.

In 1757 was bought by Gábor Bethlen, than the castle than became the property of his brother Miklos Bethlen, who, in 1770 , rebuilt the castle. Instead of the drawbridge he built a stairway, the building got a pointed roof, the outer wall was dismantled, he built a chapel, a boose, and a gate barbican which, in 1972, crumbled down.

After Count Bethlen’s family, the Haller family received it by marriage and moved into the magnificent castle. During the WWII the walls of the castle were damaged (1944). After the war, the castle was used as a granary, office house, and after the 70’s the Jidvei champagne factory used the cellars of the castle for storing. Today the castle is private property and can not be visited. The castle was bought from Count Haller’s grandchild with the condition that it can not be modified. The new owner wants the castle to be placed in the touristic circuit.

The Bethlen-Haller Castle was built in the 16th century in the French Renaissance style and restored in the 17th-18th centuries in the Baroque style. The building has a rectangular plan, with massive walls, laid on top with holes for oil and circular defense towers on corners.

The basement and first floor have semi-cylindrical vaulted ceilings. On the upper side is a spiral staircase. The main staircase, richly decorated, is carved in wood. The new owners have preserved it, and at its end, in the cellars where were tortured the serfs and where food was kept, is now arranged a room for wine tasting. The doors and window frames, the architecture, generally bears the imprint of the French Renaissance. The gate, in Baroque style, was built in 1769. The castle was famous for its gardens and the deer farm. From the castle cellars start tunnels leading to the castle of Sânmiclăuş, another family property.

Images from here.