Hungary has a very rich historical past. Because of the many type of folks in the Carpathian basin and surroundings and the large medieval empires, Hungarians had to build massive castles to protect themselves. Some of these were destroyed through unmerciful battles or sieges, but a couple of them are still standing, and became the marks of the country’s heroic and hard past. Now, most of them are renewed or strengthen, and waiting for tourist and visitors.
Itthon.hu selected twenty castles that are worth visiting if you have the chance.
1. Buda Castle
In the middle of the capital is the largest and richest castle of Hungary. It is more like a district than a single castle. It is a full day program to explore all the parts of the complex including the restaurants, confectioneries, museums, and hotels.
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. It is linked to Clark Ádám Square and the Széchenyi Chain Bridge by the Castle Hill Funicular.
The castle is also a part of the Budapest World Heritage Site.
2. Castle of Eger
In the town of Bull’s blood red wine, the castle and the surroundings are beloved destinations of the area. The castle has a historical museum, while in the town of Eger, you can find restaurants, confectioneries, wineries, and much more.
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 1470 a Gothic palace was built. In 1552, a Turkish army of 35.000-40.000 soldiers attacked the castle which had only 2.100-2.300 defenders. The siege failed as the Turks suffered heavy casualties. After that, Turks besieged the castle again in 1596, resulting in a Turkish victory. In 1701, the Austrians exploded half of the castle (the Külsõ vár).
3. Vajdahunyad Castle
In the City Park (Városliget) situated the Vajdahunyad Castle, which is famous for representing the 1000 years of Hungarian architecture by mixing parts of castles in itself. Next to the castle there is the large open-air ice-skate ring, what is a lake for boating during summertime.
4. Esztergom Castle & Basilica
The castle is located at the northern border of Hungary. Inside the castle is the largest Roman Catholic building of the country and the 18th largest in the world, the Esztergom Basilica.
Prince Géza made Esztergom a royal seat. His son, (Saint) Stephen I. was born here, who founded the first Hungarian archdiocese here, which continues to be the centre of the Hungarian Catholic Church. It remained a royal seat until the Mongol invasion, with its archbishops making it one of the Hungarian centres of humanism and religious renaissance.
5. Visegrád Castle
The castle of Visegrád is a very popular place for a tour among the residents of Budapest. You can go up on foot, what is quite straining, and by car or bus. From the citadel, you can see the great curve of the River Danube.
There is a small pictorial exhibit in the residential rooms on the west side of the citadel and two smaller displays near the east gate on hunting and falconry and traditional occupations in the region, like stone-cutting and beekeeping. The real highlight, however, is just walking along the ramparts of this eyrie, and admiring the superb views of the Börzsöny Hills and the River Danube.
6. Castle of Diósgyõr
The area of the town and the castle are part of Miskolc, the largest city in north-eastern Hungary. The castle is a four-tower building, mostly ruined but still beautiful. Lots of concerts, theatre and other public events organized there regularly.
7. Castle of Sümeg
Built in the mid-13th century by Béla IV, Sümeg Castle is situated atop a mountain called “Castle Hill”, 20 miles north of Lake Balaton. During its existence, it has been expanded several times. In the 15th century, it was fortified, and the second of two towers was built. It was under siege several times, and has experienced two fires.
The completely renewed castle is now a good place to take a tour, therefore it is the main tourist attraction for visitors to Sümeg today.
8. Somló Castle
The castle was raised after the Mongol invasion.
You will find the castle close to Doba. A significant part of the 13th century inner castle is still standing with towers and courtyards arranged according to a strange, irregular ground plan. By car, you can go as far as the Margit Chapel; from there on, you’ll have to walk, which takes about 45 minutes. The nearby Szent István lookout tower offers a good view of the surroundings including the spectacular view on the Somló wine region.
9. Gyula Fortress
The town of Gyula has become more famous year by year mostly from its role in the Hungarian Pálinka life. Next to the gothic castle there is a nice boating lake while inside the castle you can find a museum, a castle prison, and a knight’s hall. The garden of the castle is a perfect place for open-air events.
10. Castle of Boldogkõ
A continuously renewed castle has a very amazing panorama view from the Oroszlán Rock. The castle has a wine-cellar, a historical exhibition, and a tin soldier exhibition on a large table forming the Battle of Muhi with thousands of figures.
11. Castle of Szigliget
The castle had a destructive strike by lightning to the ammo tower, which almost entirely destroyed the building. In 1702, King Lipót the 1st gave order to ruin the castle. Now, what left has been strengthened and became a very nice place to see, with a stunning panorama over the Lake Balaton.
12. Castle of TataPhoto: tata.utisugo.hu
The Castle of Tata raised on a small island on the shore of Lake Öreg. Inside the building, an exhibition on the ceramics of Tata region can be found. The Lake Öreg and the castle is situated in the town of Tata. The walls of the castle reflect the marks of romantic style, which is due to the fact that the Eszterházy family used to live there. The building on the shore of Lake Öreg is still a beautiful sight.
During the Ottoman occupation, the castle was an important fortress. It was captured in 1543 by the Turks. During this period the castle had many different owners until it was burned down by the Habsburgs in retaliation for the Rakoczi’s War of Independence.
13. Bory Castle
The castle is a piece of art made by Jenõ Bory, architect. Without a complete plan, he just extended the building complex year after year. It has a tower, a cellar, an art hall, and an inner yard with hundred columns. The Bory Castle situated in Székesfehérvár.
Read more here: THE BORY CASTLE IN SZEKESFEHERVAR
14. Castle of Füzér
The ruins of Füzér Castle stand on a solitary rock at the edge of the village. It was built according to the designs of “Blind” Anoronicus at the beginning of the 13th century. It was expanded both in the 14th and 15th centuries. However, it was ruined at the end of the 18th century. The entire castle hill is a protected historic site including the plants and the animals. A significant part of the castle walls are still standing.
The castle was built on a rocky hill, so it is pretty hard to approach. In return, however, the castle has one of the most panoramic view over the region from the tower.
15. Castle of Sirok
The Castle of Sirok can be found on the volcanic top of the eastern ridges of the Mátra. The several centuries old walls can be approached on foot.
The castle of Sirok is one of Hungary’s most beautiful rock-castles. Originally it was a pagan castle, later owned by the Bohr-Bodon line of Aba genus, whose descendants fought against the king with Máté Csák. In 1320, the army of Róbert Károly took over the castle, so it became the property of the king. However, in 1388, László Tari bought it and founded a village below the castle. It was known as a very strong castle, therefore the Turks didn’t even try to occupy it. Today only ruins left, which are similar to the surrounding rocks.
If you decide to visit the castle, you enter a special site, as the builders of the castle in the 13th century carved tunnels and smaller-bigger premises in the volcanic tufa.
16. Castle of Csesznek
In the Bakony hills, the ruins of the more than seven hundred years old gothic castle of Csesznek is one of the most popular destinations of visitors in that region nowadays. Under the castle can be found Kõmosó canyon, which is the most beautiful showplace of Bakony-Balaton Geopark.
The Citadel is a fortress atop Gellért Hill in the 11th District of Budapest. It was constructed by the Habsburg Empire in 1854, following the suppression of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. The Citadel offers a panoramic view of the city, including the Buda Castle, the Parliament, the bridges over the Danube, all of Pest, and the Buda Hills. No wonder, the UNESCO named Gellért Hill a World Heritage site in 1987, together with Castle Hill and the panorama of both banks of the Danube. The Citadel and its Liberation Monument have become icons of Budapest.
18. Siklós CastlePhoto: rozmaringvendeghaz.hu
The castle was built by Baron János György Benyó in the 13th century in the town of Siklós in the southern part of Hungary, near Pécs. It was first mentioned in a charter from 1294. The oldest building is in the southern part of the residential wing. In 1401, disgruntled nobles lead by Count György II Benyóvszky temporarily imprisoned King Sigismund in the castle. The castle also houses a chapel built in the 14th and 15th centuries. The castle was nationalized in 1948.
In 1955, archaeological research and restoration started, and the castle began operating as a museum and hotel.
19. Castle of Kisnána
The Castle of Kisnána is one of the most beautiful remains of late-Medieval noble residences in Hungary. Its history well demonstrates the evolution and transformation of landlord residences. Like the other settlements in the Mátra region, Kisnána also belonged to the Clan Aba.
Today, it is an attractive historic monument of the region. Spectacular tournaments, valiant shows, witch burning, witch competition, and medieval dance festivals are organised regularly to evoke the glorious past.
20. Jurisics Castle
Jurisics Castle, named after Croatian nobleman Miklós Jurisics, is located in Kõszeg.
Dominating the Old Town, and originally built in the mid-13th century, the four-towered fortress has been reconstructed several times due to a major fire and is now a hotchpotch of Renaissance arcades, Gothic windows and baroque interiors. It was here that Miklós Jurisics heroically held out against the Turks, and it is commemorated with a statue. Inside the building, there is a museum with exhibits on the history of Kõszeg from the 14th century, focusing largely on the siege of 1532, and on local wine production.
based on the article of itthon.hu
translated by Gábor Hajnal