In the village of Budila, nearby Brasov, formerly part of the Székely Land, there are four major residences belonging to the most important noble Székely families Béldi, Mikes and Nemes. The oldest of these, the castle Béldi-Mikes of Budila, whose current form dates from the eighteenth century, preserves strong accents of Renaissance architecture, as well as being a special case in terms of rectangular gable of the upper chamber and the battlements of the attic.
The evolution of the village is closely linked to the three noble families and their complex history. Although the Béldi family is from Ozun, where started a noble curia still existing, their Budila residence is attested since the sixteenth century, as a possible donation of the Transylvanian princes to the family as a recognition of their military devotion. Of the first to be mentioned we have Béldi Kelemen, Székely general who faught with with transylvanian Princes Báthory Gábor and Bethlen Gábor. The outstanding personality of the family in the seventeenth century is his son, Béldi Pal, known for his turbulent history due to political conflicts with the Court nobles, in which he was involved. Having a privileged status due to his father’s public functions, he receives an aristocratic education in the Aulic School of Alba Iulia with future Prince Rákóczy György II. He marries Vitez Zsuzsánna, the two of them living in Budila on the family domain, getting in time important public function such as royal judge and first general of the Three Seats. During this period is reported the existence of a fortress in Budila, used as a noble residence. In the book Golden Transylvania written by Mór Jókai there is a description of the interior of the fortress: "Your servant," replied Beldi, giving his guest precedence as he showed him to the castle salon. It was a square room, with the walls painted in Oriental landscapes; in the spaces between the windows were great mirrors in metal frames; the marble floor was covered over with large, bright rugs; on the walls above the windows were portraits and trophies of old weapons of strange shapes and settings; in the centre of the room was a large table of green marble, with claw feet, and here and there easy chairs upholstered in leather, with heavy carvings. Opposite the entrance a door led to the terrace from which was a wide view of the snow-covered mountains. The evening light streaming through the painted glass cast a bright reflection over the faces of the men as they entered. ”
The decline of Béldi Pál begins once he got involved in the battle for the crown of Poland together with Apafi Mihály and János Kemény (later on also princes of Transylvania). He is captured by the Turks who held him prisoner for four years mainly because he considered unwise to go into debt to pay his ransom and get free. Later on, due to a political conflict initiated by Mihály Teleki against Bánfy Denes, he is forced to go into exile a second time. There is a legend related to Beldi's hasty departure saying that he has shoed the horses backwards to mislead his pursuer, Mikes Kelemen. In 1678, the prince ordered the destruction of the fortress of Budila as a sign of power for absolute annihilation, and some of the areas are donated to Mikes family with whom, from now on, will split the domain.
The assembly is announced by an imposing building-portal, T-shaped, a singular case in South-Eastern Transylvania. The building has a Renaissance aspect, with a passageway for entering the courth and stairs leading to the second floor of the living area.
The construction keeps the features of a Székler curia, as a rectangular, symmetrical configuration with a ground floor and a first floor dedicated to living. The receiving area is a central lounge/ salon with a representative function, from where it passes into the side rooms either for living or with connecting functions. The rooms opening to the main facade are connected directly with rectangular corner towers, but withdrawn from the façade, a sign of a formal search rather than the need for defense. It is interesting the preference for this style since at that time it already appeared noble assemblies rallied to western stylistic trends. The exterior decoration continues the style line of the Renaissance addressed by profiled cornices employing the windows.
In a vintage image could be seen the roof made in a Transylvanian Baroque style with high broken slope and with wooden shingles covering. The rectangular porch is centered on the main façade, allowing access through the side marked with a full center arch. Here could be also found the traditional Székely access to cellar made directly from the main façade that leads to the basement covered with cross vaults made of brick.
The porch has the same medieval allure defined by an embattled attic roof, possible influence of Barsa County construction style, style that could be found at the towers of fortified churches and at the Bran Castle. The stylistic choice represents a curiosity for an eighteenth century construction as shown on the frontispiece: GBI initials (G [ROF - count) B [Eldi] I [ózsef) followed by the past year of construction 1751 (much degraded).
The new residence is built at the order of one of the nobles Béldi. At the time there were two members of the family that could afford to build such residence: Béldi Joszef, the son of Béldi Kelemen, descendant of Béldi Pal who became count in 1771 or Béldi Istvan, royal counselor. Until now no sources could clarify this detail.
The frontispiece gets the role of representation through the inscription on the plaster shaped between the arch of the main level and the waist level treading profile that continues the facade cornice line. The decoration of the plaster is achieved by processing a mixture of classic motifs, many elongated triglifes and other Baroque motifs represented by the opposed volutes avoiding two niches. (We may wonder if there was not foreseen the coat of arms of the family who lived in the castle).
The castle passes to Mikes family after the marriage between Mikes Kelemen (1865 - 1918) and Béldi Emma (1873 -1957). At present the castle is returned to the descendants of the Mikes family.
The assembly from Budila is located on the left side of the road, on the outskirts of the village, isolated from the rest of the settlement. Its initial situation was not so. Following the First Austrian Military Mapping Survey, ordered by Emperor Joseph II, ca. 1775, we see a different ratio between the whole assembly and the settlement. The residence is in the center of the village, near the Reformed Church around which there was a free ample space, evidence of curia’s administrative and social importance in territory at the time.
arch. Alexandra Stoica