Bethlen Estates

RESTORING LIFE, PLACES AND HOPES

The most beautiful part of us in contact with the world, traveling, meeting people and living all kinds of experiences – is getting inspired. That inspiration filled with beauty, gratitude, understanding, warmth and hope. Hope that we all need in order to change and grow. As beautiful things come often from the most unexpected places, we had the chance to live an AHA moment. A point in time, event, or experience when one has a sudden insight or realisation. Arriving to Bethlen Estates, listening to the story behind, meeting the owner, understanding their hopes and efforts, gave us hope. We realised, ones again, that we have the people, places and power to make everything around us beautiful. Bethlen Estates were a dream. But that kind of dream that hides ruin, loss and sacrifice behind its sparkle.The story of Bethlen Estates in the Transylvanian Criș, goes back in time. Since the Middle Ages the Bethlen counts played an important part in Transylvanian history as politicians, diplomats or scientists, building fortified castles, churches and schools. They were forced to leave Transylvania after The World War II, but the family has remained attached in time to the ancestral lands.

The inheritors of the old family managed to recover today some of the properties and lands

The inheritors and actual members of the old family managed to recover today some of the properties and lands and started to build. We found in Criș nowadays a different world. The Caretaker’s House, a 300 years old restored building, transformed into a luxurious pastel house. Four bedrooms, original wooden beams, traditional stoves, an elegant library, a luminous dinning room, a kitchen and a terrace. Then The Depner House having the sense of nostalgia: a traditional Saxon heritage house, beautifully restored.

What to do

We lived here some of our most beautiful days, as we had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Gladys Bethlen, an amazing lady caring along with her son, Nikolaus, the story of their family. The inspirational woman is dreaming about new places, lands and hopes to be restored in the future.

So we visited all the beautiful properties around, lands on which they are building. Then we spent our mornings and afternoons on the amazing terrace, with a long wooden table, nice chairs and a soft wind being the only noise in the village.

Wine tasting in the old original cellars of Count Janos Bethlen’s Manor House

You can also have wine tasting with local wines and homemade brandies made of pears and apples collected from their orchards. We found here the torch-lit cellars as magical. And in the village you need to have a picnic in a beautiful meadow, next to a horse cart, while bird watching, under the guidance of an ornithologist.

Where to go

In need of letting the place behind for an adventure day, there are horseback riding over hills and old villages and cycling tours​ in the surrounding forests. Breite, for example, is a protected oak forest with centuries-old trees and unique species of birds and butterflies. Then choose hiking and slow-paced carriage rides. We also recommend visiting Biertan village, a beautiful medieval Saxon village with an amazing fortified church.

What to eat

Food at Bethlen Estates aligns to the standards of the whole experience. We had delicious and fine dishes, an amazing soup, a light salad and nice dishes for both meat lovers and vegetarians. In the end with a nice homemade tart that completed the culinary experience. The menu is fixed but they will reach all standards and needs.

Bethlen family is changing right in this moment the premium traditional travel in Romania, from all points of view: style, attitude, investment, services, quality, class. More than this, they are changing our hopes and beliefs. If they are so willing to transform some parts of lands and stories, we are able and have the duty to pay it forward. Bethlen Estates were for us the ultimate Romanian travel experience. Not only for reaching the international standards in travel, but more because of their effort, involvement, passion and beauty. We just need to restore: life, places and hopes.Bethlen Estates, Criș Village 176, Mureș County

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  • the beautiful family members
  • the decoration and details of the house
  • the open elegant terrace
  • the design of the fireplaces
  • the sign of the Bethlen family
  • the process of restoring the properties in Criș
  • The most significant figures of the Bethlen family were Bethlen Gábor, Prince of Transylvania and Count Bethlen István, Prime Minister of Hungary between the two World Wars;
  • Bethlen family was forced to leave Transylvania after The World War II, but the grandson of Count Bethlen Bálint, Count Bethlen Miklós, has remained attached to the family’s ancestral lands;

Cris village, one of the ancestral seats of the counts Bethlen

  • Criș village, one of the ancestral seats of the counts Bethlen, has important heritage sites; The old Castle, first documented in 1305, is one of the most famous Renaissance buildings in Transylvania;
  • Over centuries, Saxons represented most of the population in the village, until the end of The Second World War; In 1941, the village had 1459 inhabitants and more than 50% declared themselves as Germans;
  • After the revolution of 1989 most of them left to Germany and the village lost a significant part of the population, as did most German towns and villages in Transylvania.

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