The Sturdza Castle in Miclăuşeni

Around 1410, the ruling prince of Moldavia, Alexandru cel Bun, (1400-1432) gave to the boyar Miclăuş (1380-1440), member of the Prince's Council, a large estate, located near Siret River meadow. The estate became known as Miclăuşeni after the death of the nobleman. On April 25th 1591, Miclăuş's descendants sold the estate to treasurer Simon Stroici (1550-1623). He built a mansion whose ruins could still be seen at the beginning of the twentieth century. Through a last will of 5 June 1622, treasurer Simon Stroe bequeathed the Miclăuşeni village to Lupu Prăjăscu. In 1697, the descendants of Lupu Prăjăscu bequeathed the estate to brothers Ion and Sandu Sturdza, their distant relatives. On April 19 1699, Sturdza brothers have divided the possession, Miclăuşeni being awarded to Ion Sturdza.

In 1752, boyar Ion Sturdza (1710-1792) raised here a cross shaped landlord's mansion here with a basement and ground floor. The manor had 20 rooms, ten on each floor. The manor had stables with pure race trained horses. Concerned about extending the estate, the son of Ion Sturdza, Dimitrie, built during 1821-1823 a church in the yard, near the castle. He endowed it with a beautiful baroque iconostasis and many valuable religious objects. Dimitrie Sturdza wrote in 1802 the first draft of the Republican Constitution of the Romanian. Son of Dimitrie, Alecu Sturdza Miclăuşanu, arranged on a surface of 42 hectares around the mansion a beautiful English-style park with ornamental trees and many species flower alleys. He handled the purchase of several books and rare manuscripts collections that have enriched the manor's library. He died of cholera in 1848 and is buried in the church manor. After his death, his widow Catincathe administrated the estate and she left the it to his son, George A. Sturdza, in 1863.

In 1869, George Sturdza married Maria, daughter of writer Ion Ghica, and moved then to the estate. Between 1880 and 1904, George Sturdza built at the site of old mansion a beautiful palace in the late Gothic style, a copy of Western feudal castles and recalling the Palace of Culture, but also the Royal Palace of Ruginoasa. Construction plans have been made by the architects Julius Reinecke and I. Grigsberg. The castle was in those days a proof of high cultural level of its owners that brought among the Moldavia hills models of existence, of construction and of environment that Sturdza have found during his trips along the Southern and
Western Europe.

Outside, the building had numerous decorations (including emblems inspired by the Sturdza family crest: a lion with a sword and an olive branch), completed in 1898 in Art Nouveau style by architect Julius Reinecke. This was helped by Maria Sturdza, who illustrated many of the poems of Vasile Alecsandri, neighbor and a close family friend. Neo-Gothic influences are found in decoration such as Gothic towers, medieval armors, tower entrance with bridge over a water ditch, riding school hall, Latin dicta on walls. Inside, the castle has a central staircase in Dalmatia marble, elaborately carved rosewood furniture, fireplaces in terracotta, porcelain and earthenware, made abroad, intarsia parquet with essences of maple, mahogany, oak and ebony, made by Austrian craftsmen and painted ceilings and interior walls.

The Sturdza's family vast library of 60,000 books contained at the time exquisite books, published in the European space, the theological ones being directly ordered as soon as they were published. Out of all these, quite few ones were preserved; over 50.000 of them disappearing after the II World War.

The castle with the church (and now including the monastery and pilgrim and aging people centre) of Miclăuşeni comes in support of this idea belonging to the Metropolitan Orthodox Church of Moldavia and Bucovina and is waiting for Europe to discover it as an integrated part, not only since the third millennium but from the beginning of XXth century.

Thanks to Jurnal Românesc for the ideea!