18th century. An enchanting palace in Transylvania at the foothill of Făgăraş Mountains; A palace inspired by Viennese architecture and a ballroom that hosted parties that all high society of the time attended. Glamour, power, beauty, elegance, stunning gardens and good music.
This were the glorious moments of Brukenthal Summer Palace.
Of course, this was in the 18th century, but the palace still remains today and we had the opportunity to spend a night here after 250 years of history.
Let me tell you a little bit about this place.
Brukenthal Summer Palace in Avrig was the former summer residence of Baron von Brukenthal, who was the famous governor of Transylvania two centuries ago,
It was designed in Baroque style of the era between 1760-1764.
The domain of Avrig includes the palace, the park and the orangery building, now arranged as a restaurant, event room, and hotel.
It was inspired by Schönbrunn Castle in Austria. The two-level building in U-shaped is located on top terrace and opens to a spectacular park.
Initially, the palace had living quarters, administrative offices, an art gallery and a splendid ballroom.
By the beginning of the 20th century, during Communist times, and until 2005 it functioned as a sanatorium.
Unfortunately, today, the palace is in a bad condition. In the next years, a concept is being developed to restore the palace and introduce it to the public.
In the 18th century, landscaping expressed the taste and power of its owners. Baron von Brukenthal invested a lot in landscaping and gardening. He even brought famous specialists from Vienna.
At that time, Brukenthal’s gardens were also admired for the diversity of the species that grew here and rivaled with Europe’s most prestige’s gardens.The park included the English, French and Dutch gardens, pheasant gardens, artesian fountains and artificial ruins, as well as areas for the cultivation of herbs, aromatic plants and native vegetables for food.
It also hosted rare exotic plants such as aloe, lemons, oranges, pineapples, dates, figs, coffee plants could be admired.
The park was crossed by a network of streams that fed artesian fountains.
The harvests of these gardens reached both the baron’s table and were offered for sale.
Although the original structure is preserved, the park doesn’t have the beauty or glory it once had. Fortunately, an intense restoration begins and hopefully, it will come back to its glory.
The orangery was built between 1770 and 1779 and at that time was famous in Europe for its exotic plants that could be seen here. Over a thousand orange and lemon trees were growing here, for which a unique water pipe system created a favorable microclimate.
A special attraction was the Queen of the Night, a rare species of cactus, which blooms only once a year, only for one night. And that moment was a great social event.
The orangery was restored in 2012 and now hosts a hotel and restaurant. This was also the place where we spent the night.
Ingredients used to prepare the dishes are high quality and traditionally cultivated. They have international cuisine but the specialty of the house consists of the original recipes of the palace.
One of our big surprises was the use of the natural seasonal plants.
Following the ideas of Samuel von Brukenthal, they cultivate here in the park vegetables that will be used in the kitchen.
We loved the idea of seasonal food because it is fresher, tastier and has more nutritious than food consumed out of season.
It was the season of nettle and we found in the menu lot recipes of nettle freshly pick up from the palace’s garden.
You can choose to have your breakfast, lunch or dinner on the terrace or inside the restaurant.
If you choose the garden, depending on the season you will be surrounded by tulips, blooming roses, lavender and many other flowers. Perfect ambiance for a coffee or a homemade cake.
But if you choose the restaurant you can treat yourself to a wonderful time in a romantic ambiance of the 18th century.
We just love our breakfast by the panoramic windows with view to the baroque garden.
We had a blast having the “sleeping in a Transylvanian palace” experience.
Once here, in Transylvania, you have many interesting things to do like visit amazing places, see people that still live a traditional way of life, have the experience of medieval towns and shepherd’s villages alongside the edge of the Carpathians, amazing castles and palaces.
So, a trip to Transylvania and the Carpathians is worthwhile.