Our rooms are named after members of the Ratiu family.
Here you can read their biographies


Ion Codru-Drăgușanu Ion Rațiu’s maternal great-grandfather, Ion Codru-Drăgușanu (1818-1884) was a Romanian writer, memorialist, traveler, vice-captain of Făgăraș County and a participant in the Wallachian Revolution of 1848. His first published work was Cuvânt scolastic, which appeared in Universul newspaper in 1848. He also contributed to Foaie pentru minte, inimă și literatură, Concordia, Albina, Telegraful român, Federațiunea, Gazeta Transilvaniei, Familia and Transilvania. His literary reputation was established by Peregrinul transilvan (1865), among the most interesting travel accounts published in the post-1848 era.

Maria Björnson Maria Elena Björnson (1949-2002) was a theatre designer, born in Paris to Bjørn Björnson, a businessman from Norway, and Mia Prodan, daughter of the director of the Romanian National Theatre and a refugee from the Communist regime. As a child, Maria was a protégé of Elisabeth and Ion Rațiu, growing up in London. She studied at the Lycée Français, and then at the Byam Shaw School of Art and at the Central School of Art and Design. Maria worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and – among others – she designed Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, for which she won a Tony Award for Best Scenic Design and for Best Costume Design. 

Henry Pilkington First cousin of Elisabeth Pilkington Rațiu, William Henry Pilkington, Baron Pilkington (1905-1983) was an English glass manufacturer and former President of the Federation of British Industries. He was also Chancellor of Loughborough University from 1966 to 1980. In 1934 he joined the board of the family business – Pilkington Brothers Ltd and served as chairman from 1949 to 1973. This glass manufacturing company became the only survivor of twenty-four British glass manufacturers from the 19th century, thanks to the employed advancing techniques.

Zamfira Regarded as one of the greatest politicians of his time, Petru Racz was related to Ivan Norocea de Pitesti and Szaszsebes (Sebeș, Alba County), by marrying his daughter Zamfira. Her sister was Velica, the great love of voivode Mihai Viteazul. Along with Petru, Zamfira Racz founded the church from Teiuș in the 16th century. Zamfira is said to have carried the blood of the Basarabs from Muntenia in a series of relations that are closed today by Prince Charles. In 1812, eight generations after Zamfira, was born Claudine Rhedey, a descendant of several Transylvanian noble families. She carried the connection further, first into the imperial German family, then in the British royal family, after the marriage of his son Franz, Duke of Teck, with the Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, future Queen Mary, consort of King George V and grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II.

Nicolae Rațiu was educated in the United Kingdom at Marlborough College, and the United States, New York University, with a BSc in Marine Transportation and economics. As Chairman of The Rațiu Family Charitable Foundation, a British registered charity (est. 1979) with headquarters in Manchester Square, London, Nicolae chairs a board of 5 Ratiu family members who award annually up to 50 grants, worth c. GBP 200.000, in various fields (study, research, projects, travel etc.) both in the UK and Romania. A businessman and philanthropist, Nicolae is also trustee of charities in Romania and the UK: The Romanian Cultural Centre in London, Pro Patrimonio (The National Trust of Romania), ADEPT, The Relief Fund for Romania and The Rațiu Democracy Centre. In addition, through The Rațiu Family Charitable Foundation, Nicolae supports major cultural and educational programmes in the UK, Romania and the USA, among which are: The Ion Rațiu Chair of Romanian Studies at Georgetown University, Washington; The annual Ion Rațiu Democracy Award and Fellowship in Washington; The Ion Rațiu Award for Investigative Journalism; The Elisabeth Pilkington Rațiu Award for Mental Health.

Indrei Raţiu is an educator, former journalist and broadcaster (at BBC, Rediffusion, London Evening Standard), involved in launching INSEAD’s now world-class Executive Development programmes. A former consultant in management development for IBM, Schlumberger, BP, ICI, and the World Bank, Indrei cofounded ICM – InterCultural Management Associates, Paris; Pro Patrimonio, Transilvania Fest Association and the Raţiu Democracy Centre. Indrei holds degrees from Cambridge University and INSEAD.

Ludovica In the 1880s, the resident miller of the Mill House was Ion Gaia, alongside his wife and his daughter, Ludovica. Young Ludovica Gaia was courted by the priest, Nicolae Rațiu from the Rațiu Church. They married, and their child was Augustin Rațiu, grandfather of Indrei and Nicolae Rațiu. Augustin was to spend much of his childhood at the German-speaking boarding school in Bistrița, returning home for the holidays, to the village of Petreștii de Jos, where Nicolae had been appointed parish administrator.

Basiliu Rațiu de Nagylak (1783 -1870) was a Greek-Catholic priest, archpriest, professor, rector of the Diocesan Seminary in Blaj, canon and the first metropolitan chapter prefect of the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church, United with Rome. He studied in Turda, Aiud, Cluj, Blaj and Vienna. He became a celibate priest by the name of Basil in the Church of St. Barbara in Vienna in 1810. A disciple of Petru Maior, he had a doctorate in theology and philosophy, attained at the University of Vienna in 1811. Basil Ratiu was the founder of the Greek Catholic Church in Old Turda, together with his sister Oana and his brothers: Indrei, Grigore, Ioan, David, Dimitrie and Matei. The church was consecrated in 1839 and is known today as the Rațiu Chruch.

Dr Ioan Rațiu (1828 – 1902), nephew of Basiliu Rațiu, was a Romanian Transylvanian politician, lawyer, one of the founders of the Romanian National Party in Transylvania and its president between 1892 and 1902. He was one of the main authors of the Memorandum addressed on May 28, 1892, to Emperor Francis Joseph I on behalf of the Romanian nation in Transylvania. In 1850 he began studying law in Vienna. In 1854 he moved to Budapest, where he obtained his doctorate in law in 1857. He began to practice in Budapest, then worked in Cluj. In 1860 he joined the Sibiu Bar, where he opened his own office.

Augustin Rațiu (1884-1970) was a prominent figure in Turda, the father of the politician Ion Rațiu (1917-2000). He studied law in Cluj and Budapest and obtained his  doctorate in 1909. after which he opened a law office in Turda. In 1913 he married in Sibiu Eugenia Turcu, the niece of writer Ion Codru-Drăgușanu. Before 1918 he was also a journalist – a faithful contributor to the newspapers Patria, Curentul, Arieșul, and Tribuna nostra. A Hungarian and Latin speaker, he researched archives and wrote important history articles. The organisation of vocational education in Turda is also linked to his name. In collaboration with Dr Valer Moldovan, he founded the Bar Association of Turda and was its dean for ten years. He was decorated with the Order of the Romanian Crown in the rank of knight in 1923, for promoting the rights of Romanians in Transylvania.

Emilia Raţiu (1846-1929) was one of the initiators of the feminist movement in Transylvania, supporting the professional and cultural development of Romanian women and girls in an age in which women were educated to be simply wives and mothers. Born in Brașov, in an old family of Romanian patriots – the Orthodox priest Dumitru Orghidan and his wife Revia – she married in 1863 Dr Ioan Rațiu (1828-1902) and settled with him in Turda. She supported continuously his political ideals and advocated for the rights and liberties of Romanians living in Transylvania. During Ioan Raţiu’s incarceration in the Seghedin prison, she moved in the vicinity of the building in order to stay close to her husband. 

Viorel Virgil Raţiu Tilea (1896- 1972) was Romania’s Ambassador to Saint James’ Palace between 1938 and 1940. He was the son of Onoriu and Emilia Tilea, grandson of the daughter of Dr Ioan Rațiu and great-great-grandson of Basiliu Rațiu. After the Ion Antonescu regime came to power, he refused to return to his native country and asked for political refuge in the UK. He studied law in Sibiu, Bratislava, Cluj, London and Wien, where he also obtained his PhD. Following his decision not to return to Romania, he lost his citizenship and all properties in the country. He is widely known for the “Tilea incident” that took place prior to the beginning of WWII. On 16-17 March 1939, Viorel Tilea declared at the Foreign Office that the Romanian Government has reasons to believe that in the months to follow Germany will try to split Romania as previously done with Czechoslovakia. The Romanian Government denied the existence of a “German ultimatum”. The British Office accepted and acted on his information. The outcome was the end of a conciliation policy between London and Paris on the one hand and Berlin on the other. 1940 confirmed his suppositions. He died in England and, following his will’s request, his family published the memories he wrote whilst in office.

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Address: P-ta 1 Decembrie 1918, nr. 1, Turda, Cluj / Email: booking@casaratiu.ro / Phone number: +40 732 670 178