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The rural town of Savarsin, located 87 kilometers from the city of Arad and almost the same distance from the city of Deva on National Highway 7, lies at the foot of Metaliferi Mountains, where they join the Mures riverside.

Photo credit: (c) CONSTANTIN DUMA/ AGERPRES ARCHIVE

A medium-sized community of 3,290 locals according to the last census, Savarsin is nevertheless famous thanks to the Castle belonging to the Romanian Royal House. It lies near the entry to the rural town when coming from Deva and is located in the middle of a wonderful dendrology park.

Photo credit: (c) IOAN WEISL/ AGERPRES ARCHIVE

“For Savarsin locals, it is a special feeling that they are village fellows, if one may say so, with King Michael I and with the other members of the Royal House”, said rural town mayor Ioan Vodicean, who proudly calls himself ‘The King’s Mayor’.

He explained that the first record of the name of Zawasyn dates back to 1479, in a chancellery transcription of a royal notary. After the end of the Ottoman rule (1699), a salt office was set up in the area and after 1718, the year when the region of Banat was annexed to the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, the community that will be later named Savarsin was bestowed the rank of a market town (oppidum), thanks to the economic development and the surge in the number of locals.

Vodicean explained that in mid-18th century, at the center of the estate on which the current Royal Castle lies, there was a building raised in western baroque style (dating from 1680), that belonged to the local lord named Edelspacher.

The rural town gets the name of Soborszin in 1760 (from the Hungarian words soo — salt, bor — wine, szin — barn).

After having been set on fire in November 1784 by the peasants in the uprise led by Horia, Closca and Crisan, and needed being restored from the foundations, the castle had various owners, till 1858 when it became the possession of Leopold Nadasdy, the one who re-built it in its present form in 1860.

It was Leopold Nadasdy as well who built a clever system of underground networks for the collection of the underground waters and springs and brought a specialist to rearrange the park, which was finalised in 1876; the estate then covered around 500 hectares, most of it being forests.

In 1941, following an exchange of properties, the Castle becomes the property of Mocioni — Starcea family, who prepared the Castle for “Crown weekends”; in 1943, the Castle became the property of King Michael I, who was the king of Romania at that time.

After the communist-era nationalization, Savarsin Castle successively was a hospital of internal diseases, a tuberculosis sanatorium and nervous disorders sanatorium and in 1967 communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu decided to turn it into a Guest House — a residence for heads of state, allotting more than 50 million lei for capital repair. Nevertheless, in spite of the huge spending and investments into the Castle, Ceausescu visited it only twice — in 1969 and 1979.

Photo credit: (c) CONSTANTIN DUMA/ AGERPRES ARCHIVE

After the 1989 Revolution, Savarsin Castle together with the surrounding park covering a total 16 hectares was turned to the Public Company for the Administration of the State Protocol Patrimony, which did everything it could to maintain it.

In the ensuing years, the Castle became one of the most interesting tourist attractions of Arad county. Those willing to spend a night in the Ceausescu’s bedroom could do so, since the Castle offered excellent accommodation in seven studios and three suites; festive dinners could also be organized.

Photo credit: (c) CONSTANTIN DUMA/ AGERPRES ARCHIVE

Photo credit: (c) CONSTANTIN DUMA/ AGERPRES ARCHIVE

Since 2001, after Savarsin Castle was returned to King Michael, the Castle can no longer be visited, but only admired by the tourists from a distance. Yet, on certain occasions, the Royal Estate gates open wide and the beautiful building can be seen from a closer distance.

Photo credit: (c) CONSTANTIN DUMA/ AGERPRES ARCHIVE

Photo credit: (c) IOAN WEISL/ AGERPRES ARCHIVE

Photo credit: (c) IOAN WEISL/ AGERPRES ARCHIVE

“Traditionally, the Royal Family spends the Winter Holidays at Savarsin, on which occasion many groups come to sing carols to the former sovereign. The carol singers come from the nearby villages, but also from other communities in Arad county as well as from the counties of Alba, Hunedoara and Timis. Also, on Christmas Day, the family members use to take part in the religious service at the Orthodox church in Savarsin. Also at Christmas, the Royal Family members offer gifts to needy families in this rural town. Another occasion on which the Castle gates open is the awards festivity of Dorel Sibii National Literature Festival held at Savarsin every year”, mayor Ioan Vodicean said.AGERPRES

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