Castles of the World Newsletter: June 14, 2002

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Castles of the World Newsletter
Volume #14
June 14, 2002


Tour Announcement:
Great Castles Tour Departs June 21st.

Feature Story:
Castles in Transylvania

Fantasy Castles Tour Report by Lucy

Call for Articles:
Submit an article to this newsletter

Newsletter Changes:

The newsletter will now be sent to all of our readers in HTML format.   If you have any problems reading it please let us know.

Tour Announcement:

The Great Castles Tour Departs June 21st.

We want to wish a great trip to all passengers on the Great Castles tour departing June 21st.  This will be the 4th departure of the Great Castles Tour, and the 5th over all for Castles of the World.  The tour director for this tour will be Astrid Bauer.  She is a veteran of our Castle Tours, with this being her 3rd tour.  She has over 8 years of experience conducting tours in Europe, and her qualifications are impeccable.  She always receives excellent reviews from her past customers.  She grew up in the Fussen area, from her school house window she could see the Castle of Neuschwanstein.  Working in collaboration with Astrid will be Jaime Fernandez, president and founder of Castles of the World.  This will be his 3rd trip with Castles of the World.  He is very Knowledgeable about castles, having personally selected all the castles for this tour.

Feature Story:

Castles in Transylvania by Count Tibor Kalnoky

1. Fortresses
Castles - fortresses - tend to stand as sentries over embattled regions.  Few regions in Europe were more embattled than Transylvania, but Transylvania is special. In its Eastern half, the social structure of the medieval Szekely and Saxon populations was horizontal, feudalism did not take hold, everyone was a 'privileged noble'. The wealthier dignitaries lived in cozy châteaux in the midst of the villages. Only the king had the right to build a few fortresses (Törcs, Reps...), but - as in the West - the population could not take refuge there. As protection against the invading hordes and armies the population logically fortified their churches with majestic walls and towering defensive buttresses, God only having the right to lord it over them. Most of these survived the assault of invaders and time. Built before the Reformation, all are richly decorated with frescoes, many chaulked over during the Reformation, but safely preserved. Inside the fortress walls, the population had (and in many places still has) stalls and bins where each family could store enough victuals to survive a long siege. Numerous church fortresses survive, rising as spectacularly from the plains as the king's fortresses, mostly ruins, rise from their mountain-top perches. All church fortresses can be visited, the parson is a proud and enthusiastic guide.

2. Châteaux
The more influential and prominent among the population built what in the West would be considered manor houses, many old, most resplendent in their genteel elegance. The Count Kalnoky family has recovered its two châteaux, much the worse for 50 years of 'dictatorship of the proletariat'. Under the guidance of accredited experts and with the help of local craftsmen, we are consolidating and restoring these buildings. Apparently renaissance in style, the châteaux are rapidly ageing as archaeologists uncover ever-older elements in exploring the 6-foot thick walls. As a result, one is led to suppose here, too, a defensive aim, embedded within the village. The riddles that haunt these walls, mysterious openings, loopholes, .....,  are the joy of archaeologists and the despair of restorers, who need to decide what period to restore. The costs of the digging, scraping, planning and rebuilding are financed by our village guest houses, immaculately restored and refurbished, where traditional lifestyles await tourists interested in any aspect of the wealth of wonders Transylvania has to offer, castles, church-fortresses, bears, volcanic caves, black storks, rare plants and so much more. 


Fantasy Castles Tour Report by Lucy

Greetings everyone! I just came back from our 10 day Fantasy Castles Tour. Like all of our previous tours, this tour has also been a smashing success.

The 17 of us felt like kings and queens visiting the most ornate dwellings ever built. Just like King Ludwig II, we strolled through his castles and palaces perched high above the enchanting Bavarian Alps.

We also took a step back in time with our visit of the castle of Salzburg; from its tall towers we were treated to the most breath taking views of this ancient city surrounded by the green belt of the countryside.

We had a fun time on the grounds of the Palace of Hellbrunn with the Wasserspiele (trick fountains) trying to avoid getting wet by the most ingenious trick fountains built by the jovial arch-bishop and his water-powered figures.

We traveled to The Czech Republic and visited the most fantastic castles. The history behind these castles is truly remarkable. Hluboka castle not only has its own fascinating history, but also has the most beautiful and lavish interiors of any castle. Karlstejn castle was designed as treasury for the imperial crown jewels. Hradcany, or Prague castle, is the most extensive castle in Europe; Crystal, our youngest tour member, wanted to have her wedding there.

Strolling and shopping around the cobbled streets of Cesky Krumlov was one the best days of the tour. Dining at one of the most historical hotels was fabulous. Jack, a tour member, did not want to leave this well-preserved historical center. We finally had to coax him out!

Call for Articles: 

We are interested in receiving good stories about castles to include on our Newsletter. If you have recently visited a castle and have a great story to share with our readers, please submit it to us so we can include on this newsletter.

Please submit your article to

Prize Winner:

Mike Hahner of Pittsburgh is our current winner.  Mike, you have one week from the date of this newsletter to contact us to claim your prize.


Tours for 2002

Castles of the World | Castle Tours | Castle Hotels | Castles of Sale | Haunted Castles and Hotels

Castles of the World
4110 St. Michael's Ct.
Sugar Land, TX 77479-2913  USA

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