The Mikó Castle   
The Mikó Castle is a fortified castle that became generally known as “The Castle” (A Vár). It is the oldest building of Miercurea – Ciuc. It was built on the initiative of Ferenc Hídvégi Mikó, vice – captain of the Szeklers from Ciuc, in order to stop the invasion of the Turkish troops. Ferenc Mikó was advisor of the Transylvanian prince, Gábor Bethlen. Mikó was member of the lower nobility but thanks to his loyalty to the prince, he became member of the high nobility. He was one of the most experienced diplomats of Gábor Bethlen and one of the most remarkable personalities of the 17th century political life. In 1613 Mikó was named as captain of the Szeklers from Ciuc, but the local residents were not enthusiastic about his nomination. Their disapproval against Mikó was based on his lack of a local residence, on his lack of animals and estates in the region. It seems however that the real reason of their disapproval was the Unitarian religion and the “foreign” origin of Mikó (he was not born in the region of Ciuc).

Mikó started to have the castle built on the 26th of April 1623. At this time (1615 - 1634) the Italian Giacomo Resti was working as court builder in Transylvania, and it is very probable that he also took part in the construction of the neo-renaissance castle. The quadrangular castle has a basic area of 75 x 70 meters. The work was finished in the 1630s. The style of the castle is similar to the fortified castles from Iernut, Vinţu de Jos and Lăzarea.

The first written record that proves the existence of the castle dates back to 1631. After the premature death of the heir of Ferenc Mikó, the castle belonged for several years to Tamás Damokos, the chief mayor of Ciuc. On the 21st of October 1661 the Turkish and Tartar troops of Ali, pasha of Timişoara, invaded and burnt the castle up. The event was put down in writing by the Turkish chronicler, Evlia Cselebi, who mentioned the beauty of the castle. The restoration of the building took place only years after the ravage, in the period of 1714 – 1716, as directed by the Austrian general, Stephan Steinville. The act of the restoration is also proved by the inscription in stone, placed above the gate.

In 1735 the Austrian engineering colonel, Johann Conrad von Weiss, drew the ground plan of the castle, which is an important document in the history of the castle. The Austrians built four bastions around the castle, the ruins of which can still be seen at the Southern part of the building. To the south-western part of the castle they built a little store for gun powder, and the southern bastion was transformed into a chapel. The ceiling of the chapel is decorated with late Baroque stucco; the Gothic windows are the result of a later reconstruction.
The ground rooms of the bastions are decorated with barrel vaults. The Austrians reinforced the castle by inserting above the entablatures several tall, narrow and square – shaped loop-holes. The castle became this way part of the Eastern defensive line of the Habsburg Empire.

Until the middle of the 20th century the building was constantly used by different military forces:
  • Until 1764 it was used as the barrack of the imperial troops.
  • From 1764 until 1848 it was the residence of the generals of the first Szekler infantry regiment.
  • During the Revolution form 1848 – 1849 it was the residence of Colonel Sándor Gál.
It was only in 1970 when the Szekler Museum of Ciuc (Csíki Székely Múzeum), founded in 1930, moved into the castle and has been functioning there ever since.

The Sekler Museum of Ciuc
Miercurea Ciuc, Cetatii Square no. 2
Harghita County, Romania

The Nagy Imre Art Gallery
Miercurea Ciuc, Zsögödi Nagy Imre Street no. 175.

The Kossuth Gallery
Miercurea Ciuc, Kossuth Lajos Street no. 12
Postal address:
Muzeul Secuiesc al Ciucului
530132 Miercurea Ciuc, Piaţa Cetăţii nr.2
Judeţul Harghita, Romania

Tel: (004) 0266-372024
Tel/Fax: (004) 0266-311727
Mobil: (004) 0753-073531

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