Hungary’s Most Captivating Castles

7 July, 2016

(A Hungarian version of this article is available below. A cikk magyar nyelven is elérhető)

Over the course of their rich and eventful history, Hungarians built several castles and fortresses during the Medieval Ages. These romantic and mystic architectural masterpieces offer a great opportunity for tourists to dive into our history, and learn about Hungarian kings, wars, legends, vendettas, and alliances.

This article discusses only the castles located within the present-day borders of Hungary.

Castle of Visegrad

Visegrad Castle/Wiki
Visegrad Castle/Wiki

The Castle of Visegrad is located north of Budapest, and from the citadel of the castle, there is a scenic view of the Borzsony Hills and the Danube Bend.

During the medieval ages, we can barely find a period in which the Castle of Visegrad was not involved. Bela IV of Hungary ordered the construction of the fortress around 1250. The driving force behind his decision to build the stronghold was the fear of another Mongol invasion of Europe. Later, Charles I of Hungary extended and strengthened the fortress. In 1335, the Congress of Visegrád was held in the castle, where the Czech, Polish, and the Hungarian kings formed an anti-Habsburg alliance. Between 1462 and 1466, Vlad Dracula, the famous Prince of Wallachia, was imprisoned in the castle by King Matthias Corvinus. Until 1526, the Holy Crown of Hungary was also kept in the citadel of the castle.

Castle of Eger

Eger Castle/Wiki
Eger Castle/Wiki

First, a cathedral, later, a small stronghold was built near the city of Eger between the 11th and 13th centuries. Around 1526, the castle was reinforced and served as one of the most important fortresses against the Ottoman invasion. Istvan Dobo became the commander of Eger Castle, and organized the successful defense. The Ottoman army besieged the castle in 1552. What makes the battle famous is that only 2,100-2,300 Hungarian soldiers defended the fortress and defeated approximately 40,000 Turkish soldiers. The well-known Hungarian novel, Eclipse of the Crescent Moon, by Geza Gardonyi, discusses the historical event.

Castle of Sumeg

Castle Sumeg/Wiki
Castle of Sumeg/Wiki

Set high on a hill overlooking the city of Sumeg in Veszprem County, the Castle of Sumeg is among the most popular castle attractions in Hungary. The fortress was built in the mid-13th century by Bela IV of Hungary, and it has been expanded several times. During the Mongolian invasion (1241-1242), Bela IV lived in the fortress. The Sumeg Castle was also an important stronghold throughout Rakoczi's War of Independence (1703-1711). Nowadays, the castle offers several exciting programs such as knight tournaments and archery related activities.

Castle of Diosgyor

Diosgyor Castle
Diosgyor Castle/Wiki

The fantastical fortress of Diosgyor is located at Miskolc, a town in north-eastern Hungary. According to sources, the first castle, which was a wooden stronghold, was built around the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin. During the Mongolian invasion, the castle was destroyed. In the 14th century, during the rule of Louis the Great, a Gothic castle was built. At that time it served as Louis’s favorite residence. After the Ottoman occupation of Hungary, the castle lost all of its importance. In 2014 the castle was completely rebuilt.

Siklos Castle

Siklos Castle/Wiki
Siklos Castle/Wiki

The 13th century Siklos Castle can be found in the southern part of Hungary near Pecs. According to sources, Sigismund of Luxemburg, King of Hungary, Italy, Croatia, and the Holy Roman Empire, was imprisoned in the castle around 1400-1401. In 1543, the forces of the Ottoman Empire, led by Suleiman I, took over the fortress. In the 17th century, the Habsburg Empire liberated the castle. It lost all of its military importance after Rakoczi's War of Independence. The Castle of Siklos was partly rebuilt in 2011.

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