During the Baroque influences, already observed in Transylvania, the Széklerland nobility, more formal, shows reluctance to the new styles imported from the West, preferring to take on and develop old traditional models, adapting them to represent their needs and comfort. This attitude could be explained by the way the opposition nobility chooses to express their disapproval against the Habsburg involvement in the social structure of Székely people. The Baroque style is considered the style of the new government that the old nobility fails to assimilate it in all it’s complexity, preferring traditional styles to the West ones. This fact is best seen at the Béldi-Mikes Castle from Ozun village where the robust volumetry represents an exponential increase of the countryside proportions.
The whole image of the castle and the interior configuration indicates several constructive steps, which, however, cannot be precisely determined. It is presumed that the oldest structures are the vaulted ground floors and the prominent tower, dated from noble Béldi family, those who owned the domain at Ozun before it was seized in the early seventeenth century by prince Apafi Mihály and donated to the literary man Mikes Kelemen who became at the time first captain in Three Seats. Another historical indication would be the epigraphy of the facade of the former chapel where it is written in plaster the inscription: AEDIFICATA IN NOMINE D[OMI]NI A[NN]O 1755 Dieb. Julÿ . Supposedly this is the date when the curia suffered an expansion and modification at the order of Mikes Antal.
Watching the First Military Mapping Survey (ca. 1775), on the present day castle site there is no construction, which would indicate either the omission in representation of the Austrian topographic surveyors or the absence of a construction on the actual location. Instead, in the Second Austrian Military Mapping Survey (ca. 1860-1872) under the command of Emperor Francis I, the castle is well defined right in the center of the domain.
In 1972, after Mikes Antal’s death, was set an inventory where the building is described as having shingle roof, like many of Szeklerland buildings at the time, and the tower room or porch was covered differently with a wooden structure in the shape of bulb, same as in the case of Mikes Szentkereszthy curia of Zagon or Cserey curia of Imeni. We assume that the tower’s current image is due to the damage caused by an earthquake occurred in 1802 when, in Széklerland, a large number of residences were affected. The reconstruction was done in neoclassic style that was already present into the current urban architecture of Transylvania at mid nineteenth century.
The assembly shown in the inventory helps getting a first impression about the lifestyle of the nobility at the time. The castle represented the focus of the complex around which were arranged the annexes: the gate and the house where the superintendent lived, the bricks oven, the shed, the greenhouse, the poultry and animal stable, the barn, the shed for carriages and the hangar. Along with all these useful household belongings to ensure family comfort, the domain was surrounded by gardens, walkways, trees.
The castle is centrally located and oriented North-East / South-West accessible through the western side. The porch dominates the main façade, being the way of getting access to the house. The ground floor consists of rooms designed to services. In the left upper chamber there are three rooms directly accessible from the courtyard, covered with vaults with rear swing referred at the time according to their destiny: the gardener’s house, the coopers’ house and the downstairs house. On the right side there is the foods’ house. This alongside the other administrative rooms (kitchen, laundry – drying room, store rooms, pantry) compile in an appliance service that helped the personal to maintain the castle.
Upstairs, the rooms are set according to the requirements of the noble etiquette. The attached porch wing has dual purpose as, both, space crossing from the courtyard to the house and a sightseeing place marked by a loggia with perimeter arcade allowing a good perspective on both the household and its surroundings. From the porch, the rooms are arranged sequentially to mark the transition from public spaces to those semi-public and private. The entrance is directly into the main room, with semi-public role of representation, called in specific terms "palace" (in hungarian palota), whose ceiling is decorated with stuccoes in plant and floral motifs. On the opposite side of the main entrance there is the access towards the private family chapel, a modest sized room with polygonal plan attached to the building volume supported by buttresses (now transformed into a living room.) The nobles’ rooms are located in the central ward side. On the left is the room (called the "house") of the Lord, and, opposite, Ladys’ room from where could entry in the girls’ bedrooms. However, this division was changed in the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, when it was used by the communist regime as office space. Currently the north side of the castle is divided into living rooms and bathrooms.
The porch presents specific characteristics Székely. The separate entrances for the living area and the cellar (basement) are located on the main façade. This is divided into two registers stacked one on top of the other, and the triangular neoclassical frontispiece of the tower (upper chamber) is separated by a cornice lace. In a period image could be observed the initial treatment of the decoration and the original full-empty report. The main facade was composed of two rows of arches with equal arcs overlapping in the full center; on the ground floor noticeable is the arcade access to upstairs, followed by an arched niche on left side (now the work is concealed in plaster, probably communist intervention period); following is the arcade with the door into the basement, arcade that was cut in the masonry plan. The upstairs pavilion (we called it upper chamber or tower) is surrounded perimetrically by arcades overlapping on poles double stacked on masonry with base and capital profile that supports the full center arches.
Of all the noble assembly of Ozun, there still exists the castle, the granary, the barn and the aircraft garage built by noble Mikes Kelemen the early nineteenth century. In an image from 1940, could still be seen the high double sloping roof of the granary in a specific Transylvanian style, altered now in an unhappy way, with the hipped gable small sides beveled, taking much of the original charm of the building.
For those interested in the variety of Székler residences, the village of Ozun offers an architectural range of wide variety unique in Transylvanian area whether we talk about gentry’s small curia or about aristocratic residences. The phenomenon is analyzed in all its magnitude and complexity, managing to bring to light more about the mentality and culture of the people who built them.
arch. Alexandra Stoica