Transylvania Trust

The Restoration of Bánffy Castle in Bonțida and its Use as an Educational Centre

The aim of our previous project, supported by the Bethlen Gábor Fund, was the structural consolidation of the main building and the restoration of its Neo-Gothic wing, as well as the creation of a new permanent exhibition, the Force Fields of Miklós Bánffy.

The complete structural restoration of the Main Building posed a significant challenge, as it had remained uncovered for 40 of the last 65 years, resulting in damage to its masonry walls and the collapse of its vaults. In addition to reinforcement, the joinery was installed, stairs leading to the upper floor were constructed, and necessary utilities for the building’s operation, including electrical wiring, water and gas supply installation, and the heating system were also implemented. This work saved the main building from collapse and provided an opportunity for the restoration of the entire castle through additional grants.

The restoration of the western wing also included the creation of a memorial space titled Force Fields of Miklós Bánffy. Here, visitors can learn about the concept of Transylvanianism, the count’s work as Hungarian Foreign Minister and intendant of the Hungarian Opera House in Budapest, as well as the circumstances surrounding the writing of The Transylvanian Trilogy. They can also explore the challenges of establishing Hungarian cultural life in Transylvania and operating its institutions. Naturally, as part of the exhibition, we also present the more than 700-year-old presence of the Bánffy family in Bonțida. Bánffy Castle has become a significant destination for literary tourism, as it is featured in several works by Bánffy. In The Transylvanian Trilogy, Miklós Bánffy describes the castle as a venue for the novel’s events. English traveller Patrick Leigh Fermor visited the castle and vividly described his experiences in his book, Between the Woods and the Water. These reading experiences inspire many of our visitors to seek out the castle.