Mikó Castle Miercurea Ciuc
Castle / Architectural Objective
Piața Cetății, Miercurea Ciuc 530003, Romania
Mikó Fortress Castle, known as the "Fortress", is the oldest and most important historical monument in Miercurea-Ciuc. It bears the name of the builder, Hídvégi Mikó Ferenc (1585-1635), the documents of the time also mentioning it as Mikó’s new fortress.
The construction began in the spring of 1623, ten years after the owner, Mikó Ferenc, became the supreme captain of the Szekler counties Ciuc, Gheorgheni and Casin. A prominent personality of the Transylvanian political life at the beginning of the 17th century, Mikó Ferenc, besides this function, was the counselor of Prince Bethlen Gábor, and also a diplomat and chronicler.
The castle had a quadrilateral plan and a surface of 75x70 m. Its construction began on 26 April 1623 and was probably finished in fourth decade of the 17th century. Its style resembles the castles of Iernut, Vintu de Jos and Lazarea.
The first written document certifying the existence of the fortress dates back to 1631. After the premature death of Mikó Ferenc's heirs, the fortress passed into the property of Damokos Tamás, the supreme judge of the Ciuc County. On October 21, 1661, the Turkish-Tatar troops led by Timisoara’s Pasha, Ali, invaded Ciuc, occupying and burning the fortress. The fortress was rebuilt in 1714-1716 under the direction of the imperial general Stephan Steinville, as evidenced by the stone inscription above the entrance.
In 1735, Johann Conrad Weiss, an engineer and colonel of the Austrian army, draws the plan of the fortress, the oldest known plan so far, which is also an important document of the history and stages of construction. Around the rebuilt fortress, the Austrians designed a defense system with four Italian bastions, whose traces are still visible on the southern side. They built a gunpowder depot on the southwestern side, and turned the southern bastion into a chapel. The ceiling of the chapel is decorated with modest stucco in late Baroque style. The Gothic framing of the windows is the result of further transformations. The ground floor rooms have cylindrical ceilings, in the form of double-curved vault penetrations. Tall and narrow square crenelles were built above the sill. The fortified castle had an important strategic role on the Eastern border of the Habsburg Empire.
Until the middle of the 20th century, various military troops used the building.
In 1970, after a general restoration, it became the headquarters of the Szekler Museum of Ciuc.