An imposing Baroque Palace, 6 annexes of the XVII – XIX century (stables, riding stables, crypt, greenhouse, barn) that were integrated in a dendrological park in the early XIX century, rearranged in the ‘70s as a botanical garden and refurbished over the time.
Among the buildings that make up the whole, the first and the oldest is “curia” (modest noble residence), rebuilt from scratch in 1702 by the Wessélenyi Istvan Baron and the Bánffy Kata Countess. The beginnings of the Palace construction are related to Baron Wesselényi’s marriage and to the establishment of the noble family court to Jibou, around 1778. From that date until the Baron’s incarceration at Kufstein in 1785, the main body of the Palace would be built.
Jósef Biro assigned the building design to Baron Wesselényi, who “wanted to find his temperament, his taste and his expectations in the appearance of the castle.” In the Palace architecture one can recognize the influence of the old noble families, surrounded by fortifications and towers. The construction of the main body was most likely completed before 1785.
The scale works resumed only in 1796, probably thanks to Czech architect Francz Wrabetz. During his stay in Jibou, Wrabetz worked at the interior construction. During this period, they commissioned many pieces of furniture in Vienna and painters were paid to decorate the rooms. The interiors would only be finished around 1800. The interiors were painted by Franz Neuhauser and Johann Martin Stock, two famous painters in Transylvania at the time.
In 1809 Miklós Wesselényi’s political career is over, and shortly after this the Baron dies.
In 1809 the construction works were completely finished. Meanwhile, the palace served as the sojourn place of many artists, including painters, sculptors and actors.
Miklós Wesselényi is succeeded by his son, Wesselényi Miklós the 2nd, who preserves the cultural atmosphere of the palace, inviting politicians and writers who embraced the revolutionary ideas of 1848. He made various minor works at the residence of Jibou, preserving by and large the original layout.
The subsequent interventions on the domain are made after nationalization, when the Palace and its extensions will have another purpose, namely to serve the cultural needs of the new society: school, high school, boarding house pioneers, city museum and experimental Stations for young naturalists. The latter and the dendrological park made possible the future botanical garden, whose planning began in 1968 under the guidance of Professor Vasile Fati.
After 1990, various functions disappeared and in 2010 it was only the Jibou Children’s Club that functioned in the Palace. The exterior of the palace has not undergone recent major interventions. The interior, on the other hand, was affected, therefore today the Palace is largely empty. Furniture, stoves, paintings and decorative items that adorned the Palace until the middle of the XX century were lost. We can still get an impression if we look at the archival images.
Recently, the palace and some of the extensions were returned to the heirs, after a long process and now they are up for sale. The botanical garden was not affected by this decision. The Wesselényi crypt, stable and playpens remained in the possession, which aims to restore and reintegrate them in tourism.
Historical architect Irina Leca (MU)
Photo: Cristina Budușan