The ancient castle of the Lázár family
The 100 m long, 75 m wide castle, standing 200 m far from the village centre, appears on the List of Historical Monuments of Harghita county (1992). The Lázár Castle is one of the most beautiful creations of the Transylvanian Renaissance architecture..
The Lázár Castle is a battlemented Renaissance castle, one of the most attractive 17th century Transylvanian mansions. In its vaulted hall there is an inscription in Gothic letters dating back to 1532 (Cristus Maria 1532). The earliest keep dates from 1450. Three of the bastions are quadrilateral, the fourth (in the northeast) is septangular. In the middle of the southern wall there is a vaulted gate, a so- called storeyed gate-bastion leading into the court of the castle. Ornamentally structured battlemented Renaissance wall connects the two sides of the gate to the corner bastions. Traces of former frescos can still be seen here.
The castle, its facade was built by István Lázár (son of András Lázár), friend of Gábor Bethlen Transylvanian prince, chief government official in charge of Ciuc-, Gheorgheni- and Casin districts, who presided the Lutita meeting of 1596. Under the coat of arms, on the bastion left to the gate, the number 1632 indicates the year of finishing the costruction. In the court, outbuildings in ruins are to be seen against the wall: kitchen, kiln, servants' quarters, soldiers' quarters, well, blacksmith shop and stable.
Gábor Bethlen, prince of Transylvania spent his childhood in this castle between 1590 - 1594. The building was burnt as a revenge taken on the Kuruts Ferenc Lázár in 1707 by the Labants soldiers.Ferenc Lázár had the ruined castle renovated. The "great palace" (Knights' Hall) where the meeting of the seats used to be held was probably also built by him. The golden age of Lazarea ended with his death. Part of the castle burnt down again in 1748, then the whole building fell victim to the fire in 1872. Petru Rareş (between 1527-1538) and Mihnea Vodă (1660) Romanian rulers were also guests of the castle.
Since 1967, the castlehas been renovated gradually. During these three decades, the central part of the main building (the gallery) has been renovated as well as the Knights' Hall (Council Room) at the back and the "Storky" bastion. The Women's House and the Túrós bastion are still being renovated. Carved furniture, chairs decorated with Transylvanian coat of arms, iron lamps can be seen in the Knights' Hall of which original coffered ceiling has also been restored.
According to the tradition, the small building standing in the middle of the court used to be the prison in which rebels were kept.
Lazarea has become the common workshop of the Romanian fine arts. The castle houses the fine art exhibition of the county museum today. The Friendship Fine Art Gallery (painting exhibition) with 150 paintings occupies the gate bastion, eight large rooms and the Knights' Hall. The gallery presents the cross-section of the Romanian art of the last decades representing three generations. Important artists: Aurel Ciupe ("Alley", oil painting), Băndărău Nicolae ("Fighter", sculpture), Grigore Patrichi ("Figure"), András Gaál ("Quarry", oil painting), Liviu Suhar ("Carnival", oil painting), István Barabás ("In the field", oil painting), József Balla ("The Painter", oil painting), Dumitrescu Mircea ("Corridor", coloured drawing), Károly Bálint ("Youth", marble statue). Here can we find the statue of Gábor Bethlen (by Ernő Ferenc) as well.
Above the Knights' Hall, a 300 square meter room houses the drawings.
There are two creative camps working at Lazarea.
The Friendship Art Creative Camp was founded in 1974. Sculptors, painters and drawers meet here annually in August. More than 200 artists participated in 10 camps, each of them leaving the camp one of their works. By 1999, the 25-year-old camp possessed a collection of almost 1,000 works of art out of these presents. The camp has played an institutional role in assuring the colourful art life of Harghita county.
Among the creations that can be seen on the sculpture colony, the following deserve special attention: Klára Puskás, the Szekler heroine fighting with the Tartars and the Sfinx of Lazarea. On the occasion of the celebration of the millecentenary, 11 little thuyas were planted out of respect of the 11 Hungarian personalities.
The folk art creative camp (Szépteremtő Kaláka) was created in 1978 with the goals of preserving folk art traditions and preparing the worthy furnishings for the castle. The carved and painted furniture, embroidery, woven, pottery and wrought works were made by the participants. The Renaissance-styled furniture of the Knights' Hall was also carved by the folk artists.