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In the Middle Ages, the names of the most noble families in Transylvania were Hungarian, but the origin of their ancestors remains unknown even today and is still being debated by historical researchers.

But  their impact, wealth and achievements that these families had on the territory of medieval Transylvania was certain.




Also called the Hunyady family, in theory, the paternal family line would have become Roman Catholic after they were Wallachians and Orthodox, due to the fact that the Hungarians of that period had a high political status throughout Transylvania.

Also, in theory, the origin of Corvin’s name would come from the Latin corvus which means crow but more likely would be the connection with the city of Kovin, known today as Cuvin, where the Hunyady family lived.

It is alleged that the Corvin family was cursed as the family members, together with their wives, died before they were 50 years old.

The family heraldry was represented by a crow with a ring in the beak which, according to the legend, is due to a crow that would have stolen the ring from Iancu de Hunedoara’s hand, then he would have hunted it using the bow. To heraldry, King Ladislau, also known as Voicu, would have added a lion standing and holding a crown to signify the family’s great courage and loyalty to the services provided to the state.


Ioan de Hunedoara also knew under the name of Iancu de Hunedoara in Romanian, Ioannes Corvinus in Latin and Hunyadi János in Hungarian, a voivod of Transylvania, governor and regent of Hungary was the father of Matia Corvin after his marriage to Erzsébet Szilágyi, also known as Elizabeth Szilágyi.

Matia Corvin is known in Romanian as Matei Corvin, in Latin as Matthias Corvinus and in Hungarian as Hunyadi Mátyás, was born in Cluj but he managed to become one of the greatest kings of Hungary, but those from his next lower rank decided to plot in favor of dethroning him.

The doctor who takes care of Matia’s rheumatism, poisoned him with lead therefore he dies of saturnism.


Being a rich family, the massive influence of this family was felt in both Hungary and Transylvania.

The name of Szilágyi would be derived from the name of Sălaj, a county from which the roots of this family also started (Szilágy vármegye = Sălaj county).

Mihai Szilágyi (Szilágyi Mihály) was the governor of the Kingdom of Hungary.

Mihály fought with Iancu de Hunedoara in many battles, some of them were battles in Varna, Kosovo and Belgrade.

Iancu de Hunedoara was married to Elisabeta Szilágyi thus becoming Mihály’s brother-in-law.

Elisabeta Szilágyi was the mother of Matei Corvin, who took over the throne after the death of Szilágyi Mihály.

Elisabeta was nicknamed “the iron lady” because of her involvement in the struggles carried out by Iancu, in her son’s ascension to the throne and because of his ruthless personality.

Ilona Szilágyi was the daughter of Szilágyi Mihály and the Lady of the Romanian Country through the marriage with Vlad The Impaler.


In Hungarian, the spelling of the name could be found as Drágffy, Drágfy or Drágffi.

From this family came also Bartolomew Dragfi, who received the highest official rank in the territory of Transylvania, namely the Voivode of Transylvania.

Bartholomew was with Stephen the Great in the fight against Ioan Albert, King of Poland and with Paul Chinezu against the Turks in the Battle of the Bread Field.

The fortress of Ardud was built at the decision of Bartolomew and was one of the most solid fortress in the north of Transylvania which had the role of sheltering the soldiers.


György Bánffy the 2nd, one of the rulers of Transylvania, raises the Bánffy Palace in Cluj-Napoca where we can find today the Art Museum.

The palace hosts the pianist Franz Liszt, one of the most well-known Hungarian composers, the Emperor Francisc the 1st  of Austria with his wife Carolina, Franz Josef, the Emperor of Austria-Hungary with Empress Sisi and even the former Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu.

Dionisie Bánffy, committees of Dăbâca and Cluj, built the castle from Bonțida between 1668-1674. The last owner of the castle in the same family was Miklós Bánffy.

Since 2013, the annual Electric Castle festival is organized within this castle.


Ștephan Báthory prince of Transylvania and king of Poland, collaborates with the Jesuits from Transylvania who raise the University of Cluj at his initiative, in 1581.

Today, the university is called Babeș-Bolyai because of the bacteriologist Victor Babeș and the mathematician János Bolyai.

Sigismund Báthory prince of Transylvania, tries for the first time to unify Transylvania with the Romanian Country and with Moldova.

His intentions can be found in the treaty concluded by him with the emperor Rudolf II.

Due to this act, Transylvania changes its status from the Voivodship to the Principality but the request to be a prince in Transylvania and of both Dacians is rejected by the emperor.


If you have aroused your curiosity about the Transylvanian realm, come and discover experiences related to Cluj-Napoca, the heart of Transylvania, and even related to the Transylvanian Fairytale, along with the CAO Tours team.

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