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Hidden in a dense forest from Moldavia, Sturdza Castle is a small Neo-Gothic monument with a history that goes back over one hundred years. It’s part of the legacy of one of the most important aristocratic families in eastern Romania, Sturdza, whose crest inspired by Saint George and motto ‘Utroque clarescere pluchrum’ (beauty shines everywhere) are engraved on the walls of this small castle.

The castle was built between 1880 and 1904 on the vast property that belonged to the Sturdza family since the late 17th century. Surrounded by an English-style park and a vast forest that still extends on tens of hectares today, Sturdza Castle was famous back in the day for its precious art, books and religious collections.The castle served as a residence for the members of the family until the Second World War when, during 1944, it was taken over by Russian troops. This moment marked the beginning of the castle’s most dramatic experience as the occupying army partially destroyed the residence.

A few years later, the monument was nationalized as part of the communist regime violent confiscation of all private property. The monastery established here in 1947 on the wish of Ecaterina Sturdza Cantacuzino, who donated the entire property to the church, was evacuated. During the communist period that lasted up to the end of 1989, the monument’s preservation was completely ignored by responsible authorities who used it for one of its dreaded orphanages for disabled children. The castle’s art collections (weapons and medieval costumes, jewels, sculptures and paintings) simply disappeared.Only one thousand of books were recovered from the library of 60,000 volumes that was once one of the most important in the country.The last furniture and original decorations were turned to ashes in the fires from the castle’s time as an orphanage that was only relocated in 2001.

The monument was partially renovated after 2004 and is open today to visitors who can also enjoy lunch or dinner in the restaurant from the park.

Sturdza Castle is more than worth the trip from Iasi as it’s one of the few aristocratic properties from eastern Romania that survived, at least in part, the destructive strategy of the communist authorities against the former elites’ legacy.

Sturdza Castle
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