Heritage

10 Historic Hungarian Castles

Hungary is a country in Central Europe whose history under this name dates to the Early Middle Ages, when the Pannonian Basin was conquered by the Hungarians (Magyars), a semi-nomadic people who had migrated from Eastern Europe

Kinizsi Castle

Kinizsi Castle is a 14th century fortification, located in the village of Nagyvázsony in the Veszprém county.

The castle was named after Pál Kinizsi, a Hungarian general in the service of King Matthias Corvinus. He was the Count of Temes from 1484 and Captain-General of the Lower Parts. He is famous for his victory over the Ottomans in the Battle of Breadfield in October 1479.

In the period of the Turkish conquest from 1541, the castle of Nagyvázsony was held intermittently by Hungarian and Turkish forces, before being recaptured and finally held by the Hungarians in 1598.

In 1663 it was besieged once again by the Turks, where the soldiers of Grand Vizier Ahmed Kürpülü torched the castle to the ground. Today the castle is a stage for Renaissance games and festivals.

Buda Castle

Buda Castle is the historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest, and was first completed in 1265.

Buda Castle was built on the southern tip of Castle Hill, bounded on the north by what is known as the Castle District (Várnegyed), which is famous for its Medieval, Baroque, and 19th-century houses, churches, and public buildings.

The first royal residence on the Castle Hill was built by King Béla IV of Hungary between 1247 and 1265.

The oldest part of the present-day palace was built in the 14th century by Stephen, Duke of Slavonia, who was the younger brother of King Louis I of Hungary. Only the foundations remain of the castle keep, which was known as Stephen’s Tower.

Over the centuries, Buda Castle has undergone various stages of reconstruction, renovation and rebuild. The most recent being when heavy fighting and artillery fire rendered the palace into ruins during WW2. All the furniture vanished, roofs and vaults collapsed, and the southern and western wings were burned out.

Sümeg Castle

Sümeg Castle is a castle by the town of Sümeg, Veszprém county that was built in the mid 13th century on a mountain called “Castle Hill”.

The castle was first constructed by Béla IV of Hungary, King of Hungary and Croatia between 1235 and 1270, and Duke of Styria from 1254 to 1258.

Béla IV lived at Sümeg during the Mongolian invasion between 1241-1242. Later, it was presented as a gift to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Veszprém by Stephen V of Hungary.

In 1552, in response to the capture of Veszprém by the Turks, the castle was rebuilt and fortified to serve as a frontier fortress.

Castle of Diósgyőr

The Castle of Diósgyőr is a medieval castle in the historical town of Diósgyőr which is now part of the Northern Hungarian city Miskolc.

The first castle of Diósgyőr was built probably in the 12th century and was destroyed during the Mongol invasion (1241–42). The current, Gothic castle was built after the invasion and reached the peak of its importance during the reign of King Louis the Great (1342-1382). Later it became a wedding gift for the queens of Hungary, which it remained until the Ottoman invasion of Hungary in the 16th century.

Gyula Castle

The construction of Gyula Castle began in the 14th century but finished only in the mid-16th century. It was the property of the Maróthy family and later John Corvinus, the illegitimate son of Matthias Corvinus.

The Turks conquered Gyula in 1566 and remained the part of the Ottoman Empire until 1694, when Christian troops liberated the area.

Due to the wars, the native Hungarian population fled from Gyula and Békés County which became nearly uninhabited until János Harruckern invited German, Hungarian and Romanian settlers, who re-established the town in the early 18th century.

Simontornya Castle

The Simontornya Castle is a Renaissance castle in Simontornya, built in the 13th century by Simon (Son of Salamon) among the swamps of the Sió river. The name Simontornya means Simon’s Tower.

Mózes Buzlay, marshall of King Ulászló II improved the castle into a renaissance palace with the help of Italian masters and craftsmen from Buda. After Buzlays’ death the castle was taken over by the Turks in 1545.

During the revolution against the Habsburgs, led by Prince Francis II Rákóczi, Simontornya became the stronghold of the Kuruc rebels in southwest Hungary.

Boldogkő castle

Boldogkő castle is a medieval fortified palace built high up on a hill, overlooking the Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén region.

Construction began around the 13th century, having been through various stages of renovation and additions over the centuries.

In the beginning of the 14th century the castle was occupied by Aba Amadé, then it belonged to King Károly (Charles) Anjou. During the middle age among others the nobel families Bebek and Czudar possessed the castle.

Csesznek

The medieval castle of Csesznek was built around 1263 by the Jakab Cseszneky who was the swordbearer of the King Béla IV. He and his descendants have been named after the castle Cseszneky.

Between 1326 and 1392 it was a royal castle, when King Sigismund offered it to the House of Garai in lieu of the Macsó Banate.

During the 16th century the Csábi, Szelestey and Wathay families were in possession of Csesznek. In 1561, Lőrinc Wathay repulsed successfully the siege of the Ottomans. However, in 1594 the castle was occupied by Turkish troops, but in 1598 the Hungarians recaptured it.

Nádasdy Castle

Through the Nádasdy family, the castle of Sárvár, now called Nádasdy Castle, played a significant role in the progress of Hungarian culture in the 16th and 17th centuries. The first Hungarian book, The New Testament of 1541, was printed here.

The Nádasdy Castle and estate later became a property of the kings of Bavaria, and the former King Ludwig III died there in 1921, three years after being deposed. During the Second World War, the castle was used as the retreat of Ludwig’s grandson Prince Albert of Bavaria.

Castle of Eger

The Castle of Eger is most famously known for repelling the Turkish attack in 1552 during the Siege of Eger.

During the Mongol invasion in 1241, this castle was ruined, and the bishop of Eger moved it to a rocky hill in the city of Eger. On the hill, a new castle was built, and it developed rapidly.

In 1552, a Turkish army of 35,000-40,000 soldiers attacked the castle which had 2,100-2,300 defenders. The siege failed as the Turks suffered heavy casualties. A total of 1,700 of the defenders survived. After that the Turks besieged the castle again in 1596, resulting in a Turkish victory.

 

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