Did you know that there was once a chatelaine who threw her husband off a tower? And that many of our border forts were never occupied by the enemy? Travelo.hu collected forts and castles around Lake Balaton, where Game of Thrones-like events happened and legendary loves were born.
Can you think of any better programme at Lake Balaton in autumn than visiting historical castles (and tasting wine, enjoying the sauna)? Visiting the following fortresses and castles equals a history lesson.
Castle of Csobánc – where the captain was a hell-raiser
Walking to Csobánc is a great family programme, which you can connect with the visiting of the Liliomkert market as the hill is only a few kilometres from Káptalantóti and Gyulakeszi. The tourist path leads between the vineyards and, even though there are some humps, you don’t need outstanding fitness to climb up to the castle.
The Castle of Csobánc was owned by the Gyulaffy family since the 14th century. In its heyday it was a castle that the Turks could never occupy. Its most famous captain was László Gyulaffy, “the Hungarian Achilles”, who didn’t only fight with the Turks, but also the captain of Szigliget’s castle, Bálint Magyar. If he didn’t get the soldier’s pay, he went pillaging around the neighbourhood. The castle was finally blown up by the imperial troops after the Rákóczi war of independence in the 18th century.
Castle of Szigliget – ravaged by lightning, not the Turks
The Castle of Szigliget is another tourist site, which you can climb easily for the breath-taking panorama. The fortress was built by the Abbey of Pannonhalma in the 1260s to be later expanded by others. The impregnable castle’s ravage was caused by a lightning, but it was also blown up in 1702. The ruins were renovated in 2013, the castle got new walls, roof and towers which reflect its onetime conditions. It can be visited all year around.
Kinizsi’s Castle – everything but romantic
The castle of Nagyvázsony is not a particularly romantic place and not only due to the piled “wolf pit”. Things happened here that evoke the intrigues of Game of Thrones. The base of the castle was built by the Vezsenyi family in the 15th century, the property was inherited by King Matthias who gifted it to his legendary soldier, Pál Kinizsi. His wife, Benigna Magyar remarried twice after the death of the general, but she somehow got bored of her husbands, because she threw her third husband off the tower. She got away with a simple exile.
Castle of Rezi – which wasn’t fought for by the Turks
The conquering of this castle is a real hiking experience, which would be a pity to miss if you’re in the neighbourhood of Keszthely. The castle towering on the 427 metre crag was built in the 13th century. Its history is characterised by feudal civil wars and battles between landlords and kings. It was the property of the Kőszeg, Lackfi, Gersei Pethő family, but Károly Anjou, Zsigmond Luxemburgi and Pál Kinizsi also fought for it. At the same time, its war value wasn’t significant. It might have been set on fire by the Turks or destroyed by the Hungarians. Its restoration started in 2000 after four centuries of dying down.
Vaszary Mansion – gallery from a vacation house
If the weather goes wrong or you don’t feel the urge to climb up to castles, visit the Vaszary Mansion in Balatonfüred. It is the home of exciting exhibitions and museum educational programmes, its café is one of the coolest places in the city and its park is the perfect relaxing spot. The building was named after Kolos Vaszary, Benedictine Abbot. The vacation house had loggias, towers, a beautiful flower-garden and luxuries like electricity, separate water-conduit system and water flushing toilet. After the death of the prelate in 1912, the mansion started to decay until 2010, when it was finally restored.
Festetics Castle – aristocratic love story location
The construction of the Festetics Castle, which functions as a museum and an event centre, was started by Kristóf Festetics in 1745 and finished by Tasziló Festetics one and a half century later. Tasziló was like the character of a love story you only see in movies: onetime princess of Monaco Mary-Victoria Douglas-Hamilton quit her pressured marriage for him and moved to Keszthely instead.
The building and library of the castle was left untouched during WWII. The Helikon library is Europe’s biggest baronial library to have remained in good condition. This is probably due to the fact that the wing of the library and its values were walled up before the war.
The castle is a truly beautiful and versatile sight, because you can’t only learn about baronial life, hunting and carts but also take part in concerts, candlelit walks, wine tastings and admire the unique flora of the huge park.
Photos: www.csobancvar.hu, www.egykor.hu, www.facebook.com/FesteticsKastély,SzigligetiVár,VaszaryGaléria
Copy editor: bm