2011. november 28., hétfő

Sárvár Castle / Nádasdy Castle

Today’s castle is a "result" of two former parts that were built together: the three-storey tower block from the XIII. Century (today it is the south-western part) and the one-storey wing, that is the northern part today. The fist mentioning in writing dates back to 1288.

The next large-scale construction works took place in the second half of the XV. Century, in Gothic style. Under the Kanizsai era, a three-storey residence, with vast knights’ halls, was built in place of today’s southern wing. The lower level of today’ gate-tower was built at the end of the XV. Century. By the beginning of the XVI. Century a huge, enclosed courtyard was established, which was protected by earth walls enhanced with carven wood pillars. The Nádasdy family owned the castle from 1534 to 1671. During the reconstruction in the Renaissance period the shape of the castle was formed, which can be seen today. Hans Rudolf Miller painted the ceiling frescoes in the knights’ hall1653, the paintings on the side walls, depicting scenes from the Old Testament, are the works of István Dorfmeister from 1769. Today’s defence system with ancient Italian bastions was built between 1588 and 1615. The archduke, Ferdinand Estei bought the castle in 1803, his ancestor had it restored. The Renaissance row of arcades in the eastern wing was bricked up, corridors were built in the wing on the first floor, and hence one could walk along the entire castle. The moat was filled up and the bridge, that can be seen today, was set upon it. In the XIX-XX. centuries only minor changes were made, subsequently the castle looks today like a fortified late-Renaissance (XVI-XVII century) castle.

source: Hotel Villa Classica

2011. november 23., szerda

Salgótarján - Salgó Castle

Salgó is a Hungarian stronghold near to Salgótarján (Nógrád county), 120 km from Budapest.

In the beginning it was only a square-shaped stone tower. The people called it ’Salgó’ meaning ’shine’, however it’s still not clear whether the name ’Salgó’ was the name of the volcanic peak, or they started to call the place by this name after the tower was erected. This fortified tower was built by the Kacsics clan, who were the lords around these hills in the 13th century. According to certain consideration the building of this tower related to the Mongol invasion (1241-1242), because all over Hungary only the fortified towns or castles could resist the Tartar’s army. The sieges of fortresses were not the Tatar’s cup of tea. After the invasion the king, IV. Béla ordered and supported the fortifications of manor houses and towns and the building of new strongholds.

Salgó started as a small tower (7,5 x 9,5 m) and a small castle-yard. It is thought that the cellar of the tower was used as a prison. The water-supply was a difficult one on this volcanic rock, therefore in the lower level of the peak, under the tower, they constructed a water-collecting cistern. This rock-castle had two cistern, a huge and a smaller one. The water was essential, not only for drinking but also fire fighting.

In 1460 the Hussites captured the small fortress of Salgó. King Mathias the First recaptured it in the same year and gave it to Imre Szapolyai. This time was the great age of Salgó. The lower castle-yard was built in that time and the upper castle-yard became roofed-over. This part of the yard became a living space. The lord of the castle didn’t live in Salgó but his substitute, the castellan lived in this upper yard living building. In the lower castle-yard there were the stables and the storehouses. In the 16th century a huge pentagonal battlement ( 14 x 15 m) was built in the east side of the rock.

Even this reinforced building could not resist the Turkish (Ottoman) attack. Legends were told, that Kara Hamza bey, the governor of Szécsény and Hatvan, took the castle by ruse. He made his soldiers lay tree trunks on to gun carriages and push them under the fortress. The soldiers in the tower thought that the trunks were real guns because they couldn't see well in the fog. They handed over Salgó. In the reality the fortress was shelled into ruins by the Turks. They set the artillery on the top of the neighbouring hill, opposite to Salgó called Kis-Salgó (Small-Salgó) or Boszorkánykő (The cliff of witches).

The father of Bálint Balassi, the great Hungarian poet, got the fortress (however the Turkish was in it). After his death his sons Bálint and Ferenc Kövér couldn’t decide who was the owner. It was an acrimonious lawsuit of long standing between them.

In 1593 Michael Pálffy and Christof Tieffenbach reoccupied Salgó. Bálint Balassi died in 1594 in the siege of Esztergom. The nephew of Bálint inherited the ruins of Salgó but he left it alone. The ruins became overgrown with grass and shrubs. When Sándor Petőfi another great and famous poet of Hungary climbed up to the ruins of Salgó in 1845 the atmosphere of the ruins made him write his romantic poetry: Salgó. This is a tragic story about Kompolti clan the lords of Salgó who tyrannized the region, which were under their power. The story is based on a traditional legend.

Nowadays Salgó is a well-known, beauty tourist spot.

source: Wikipedia

2011. november 17., csütörtök

Rezi Castle

The ruins stand on the suddenly narrowing ridge of the 418-metre hill. Although only a few remaining wall sections and the protective battlements still remain of the hilltop castle built in the 13th-14th century, the view is fantastic.

The elongated, irregular shape hillside fortress had an internal tower. Only the eastern portion of the keep and the eastern and western walls of the castle remain with the traces of windows and barrel vaults. The remaining walls are between 8 and 10 metres high and 120-180 centimetres thick.

It appears that the square-based keep on the northern end of the cliff was the first portion to be built. In front of this is a courtyard with a high enclosure where a round and a square tower once served to protect the gate entrance built on the southern wall. A deep and 2-metre wide dry moat was cut into the rock in front of the fort that could be crossed only over the drawbridge.

Can be visited at any time.

source: Hungary starts here

2011. november 16., szerda

Regéc Castle

The castle Regéc stands on top of the 625 m high Várhegy (Castlehill), which is situated between two villages Mogyoróska and Regéc.

The first evident about the castle dates back to 1307. The castle was built by the members of the Aba nation possibly in the XIII-XIV century. In the next centuries it was a royal possession. During the middle age the following families owned the castle, Szapolyai, Serédy, Alaghy and Esterházy.

The castle's hey day was when György Rákóczi the I., ruler of Transylvania took over the castle due to the peace treaty of Linz in 1645. In its secure courtyard Ferenc Badinyi tought the 6 year-old Ferenc the secret of the Latin language, which made his childhood difficult.

The castle served its last military purpose during the revolution, lead by Thököly, when it became a war material storage place for the "kuruc". In 1685 the mercenaries of the "keizer" blow up the wall by gunpowder.

In the 1990's the excavation of the deteriorating castle of Regéc was started thanks to the initiatives of the localpatriots.

source: Northern Castles

2011. november 14., hétfő

Pécsvárad Castle

Among the most significant Hungarian heritage from the Middle Ages is the castle built on a Benedictine monastery commissioned by King St Stephen. The building complex is now used as a museum and a hotel.

The shape of this polygonal castle was developed in the 13th century. The best-preserved part is the cannon tower of the southeastern corner, the Old Tower (Öregtorony). It currently serves as a hotel.

The ruins of the abbey can be seen in the northwestern section of the castle. Next to these is the triple-nave abbey church consecrated in 1015. One of these naves has been excavated; it is 15 metres long and closes with a semicircular apse. The sanctuary is decorated by Romanesque windows and figurative frescoes from the 12th century.

The monastery chapel also dates back to the time of St Stephen. It may be approached from the entrance at the medieval drawbridge on the north side.

The loopholes of the Romanesque mansion can be discerned to the west of the entrance. To the east is the entrance to the castle museum that provides an insight into the medieval flourishing life of the oldest Benedictine monastery in Hungary.

source: Hungary starts here