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Câmpina, Romania

Iulia Hasdeu Castle

This eccentric folly house was designed by Romanian thinker Bogdan-Petriceicu Hasdeu, with a helping hand from his deceased daughter's spirit.  

Iulia Hasdeu was a Romanian child prodigy, and was born in Bucharest in 1869. By the time she was 16 she was studying at La Sorbonne in Paris. The wunderkind spoke seven languages and excelled at singing, painting, and playing the piano. She was the only child of Romanian intellectual Bogdan-Petriceicu Hasdeu.

The dedicated student was working on her doctoral thesis when, just a month before she was to turn 19, she was struck by a fatal attack of tuberculosis. After her passing, her devastated father built an altar for Iulia in the family vault at the Bellu Cemetery in Bucharest.

In his time of misery, he turned to spiritualism for succor. He spent years perfecting his shrine to his daughter, but it wasn’t enough. In 1894, he began building a folly house nearby in Câmpina. He designed the purely ornamental folly in the shape of a castle with Iulia’s spirit guiding him. She’d allegedly contact him in short bursts to advise him to pay special attention to, what she considered magic numbers, three and seven. 

The castle features three towers, three underground rooms, and each staircase is made up of seven steps. The massive entrance is flanked by stone thrones and sphinxes. Above the door is the Eye of the Providence marked with the date July 2, which apparently symbolizes his wife and daughter.

After the castle was completed in 1896, Hasdeu moved his spiritualist rituals to the rooms he’d furnished for such endeavors. Many believed his memorial to Iulia was simply a front for Satanic practices. Some have claimed to have seen Iulia’s ghost roaming the property in a white dressing gown, clutching daisies.

The castle has been included in Romania’s Listing of Historical Monuments since 1955, and in 1994 it was converted to a museum. Many of Iulia’s personal belongings, some original seance transcripts, pictures taken during the seances, and other items related to the family’s history are on display.

Know Before You Go

A short trip from Bucharest or Brasov, Câmpina is easy to reach by car or train. There are also buses that can take you there.