Corvin Castle was laid out in 1446, when construction began at the orders of John Hunyadi (Romanian: Iancu or Ioan de Hunedoara, Hungarian: Hunyadi János) who wanted to transform the former keep built by Charles I of Hungary. The castle was originally given to John Hunyadi’s father, Voyk, by Sigismund, king of Hungary, as severance in 1409. It was also in 1446 when John Hunyadi was elected as the regent-governor of the Kingdom of Hungary by the Diet.
It was built mainly in Gothic style, but has Renaissance architectural elements. It features tall and strong defence towers, an interior yard and a drawbridge. Built over the site of an older fortification and on a rock above the small river Zlaşti, the castle is a large and imposing building with tall and diversely coloured roofs, towers and myriad windows and balconies adorned with stone carvings.
The first step was building a double wall for fortification purposes. The walls were flanked by rectangular or circular towers, an architectural innovation to the period’s Transylvanian architecture. Some of the towers (the Capistrano Tower, the Deserted Tower and the Drummers’ Tower) were used as a prison. The Buzdugan Tower (name after a type of weapon)was solely built for defence purposes and it had its exterior decorated with geometric motifs. The rectangular shaped towers had large openings to accommodate larger weapons. The castle has 3 large areas: the Knight’s Hall, the Diet Hall and the circular stairway. The halls are rectangular in shape and are decorated with marble. The Diet Hall was used for ceremonies or formal receptions whilst the Knight’s Hall was used for feasts. In 1456, John Hunyadi died and work on the castle has stagnated. Starting with 1458, new commissions were being undergone to construct the Matia Wing of the castle. In 1480, work has completely stopped on the castle and it was recognised as being one of the biggest and most impressive buildings in Western Europe.