The best forts to visit in Hungary – Part 2
We listed some of the most unique and best tourist locations for the enthusiasts of the Middle Ages, or for those who are interested in Hungarian history. During the holiday season, you can decide about your spring adventures from the warmth of your home.
The original list can be found on Cartourmagazin.hu.
1. Castle of Esztergom
The fortification is located next to the Basilica lying on a small hill between the Danube and Esztergom. Although the castle has a Middle Age-like ambience, in 2008, people proclaimed it to be one of the most significant human-made heritages of Europe. The castle has a wax museum, a castle museum and a very entertaining castle theatre.
2. Castle of Sümeg
Sümeg Castle is located north from Lake Balaton, and it served the defence of the northern shore of the lake in the Middle Ages. It is the most beloved and most visited sight of the region, and many people call it Hungary’s most beautiful fortification. There are a lot of activities organised in and near the fort. Take, for example, the horse games and horse shows, the battle re-enactments, and there is also a castle theatre inside. Aside from the live exhibitions, visitors can catch a glimpse into the everyday life of the fort in the Middle Ages with the help of models.
3. Castle of Somló
The fortification is located in the middle of a dense forest on top of Somló Hill. From the top, you can see the entirety of the beautiful landscape. It is unknown when this fortification was built exactly, but the first written source mentioning it is from 1352 when Louis the Great confiscated it from its former vassal and bestowed it on another family, but due to the lack of heirs, it eventually came back to the king. The area around the castle is ideal for both hikers and bikers as there are tourist paths for both means of travel, and the castle itself is easily approached by bicycle. For the lovers of gastronomy, the region is famous for its wineries.
4. Castle of Szigliget
During the Turkish invasion, the castle came to the fate of many others that were built on hills; lightning struck its gunpowder storage, making it explode, thus rendering the entire fortification unusable. The fort towers over the green areas on the northern shores of Lake Balaton, atop a hill of volcanic origins, which formerly was an island of Lake Balaton. During the Rákóczi War of Independence, the Habsburg Emperor ordered it to be demolished but, thanks to the many renovations in the past decades, it is in good shape now and is entirely tourist-friendly. It is definitely worth visiting during the castle days held several times a year because there are many opportunities for recreation at those times.
5. Bory Castle
This fortification is probably the black sheep of our list as it did not have any military role. This fort was built in the 20th century in Székesfehérvár by the designs of Jenő Bory, one of the city’s architects. When the buildings were finished, Bory immediately moved in and furnished art galleries and studios. The architect himself said that the “castle” in itself is a piece of art. The building is an interesting mixture of many architectural styles from Baroque to Gothic and almost everything else as well. These styles also follow through in the interior with many mosaics and fountains, not to mention the stained glass.
6. Castle of Tata
The construction of the fortress started in 1397 when Sigismund of Luxembourg ordered it to be built. The fortification lies next to the Old Lake and is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Tata. There is a historical museum in the castle that introduces the history of the city and the traditions and professions of the locals from the days of the Roman Empire to modern days. Visitors can also take a trip on a boat nearby, and the parks in the proximity are perfect candidates for a hike.
If you want to explore Tata a little bit more, or you simply like to watch beautiful photos, THIS article is for you.
7. Siklós Castle
Many people regard this fortification as the most beautiful fort of Southern Transdanubia. The castle lies at the base of the Villányi mountains. It was built in the 13th century and, as many other Hungarian castles, lost its military significance after the Turkish invasions. Although local people wanted to make it a tourist attraction in the early 2000s, this only happened around 2011, along with the renovation. Today, it operates as an illustrious castle museum, and it is Hungary’s most famous at that. There is a torture-chamber, a dungeon, a castle theatre, a wax museum and a viewpoint in the castle, so all the good stuff is in there.
8. Castle of Csesznek
This fortification is in the Bakony, near the region’s capital, Zirc. Csesznek is a small village with a long main street that gets steeper and steeper towards the end, and the fort is on a corner from the road. It is really not hard to recognise as it dwarfs the village under it. If you spend your holiday nearby, it is definitely worth the visit as the view from the top is stunning and we can better understand the history of the region. Also, it is almost free; the student and pensioner tickets are approximately 1 €, and normal tickets are little over 1.5 €.
9. Jurisics Castle
The castle is named by people after Hungary’s most famous castle captain, Jurisics, but in reality, it is the Castle of Kőszeg. The fortification was besieged in 1532 by Suleiman I when he intended to conquer the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. The forces of the Turks thought that this fort was a patchworked structure and thus easy to occupy. They were proved wrong as, after 25 days of siege, Suleiman I failed to take the fort. After this, the fortress gained Europe-wide renown, and many tourists heartily visit this place. Despite the ongoing renovation of the castle, the whole building can still be visited. The Knights’ Hall has been restored; they applied a new coating on the castle; the inner and outer courtyard was made accessible for the disabled as well, and the basement is now open to the public.
10. Zrínyi Castle
The oldest part of the fort was a circular old tower which was enveloped by the square courtyard and its walls. Over the centuries, this is what the whole fortification and the town itself rose from. The most famous captain of this castle, from whom it got its name, was Miklós Zrínyi, who sacrificed himself heroically to stop the Turks from conquering more land. Only ruins remained, but it was rebuilt, and it can be seen in that state even today. In 1689, during Rákóczi’s War for Independence, it was on the hands of the Habsburgs, and the Hungarians did not dare siege the castle because of how well it can be defended.
You can read about the heroic sacrifice of Zrínyi and his men in more detail in THIS article.
Featured image: facebook.com/pg/BranCastleOfficial