Castles and fortifications in Hungary

Buda Castle

Buda Castle is the historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest, and was first completed in 1265. Buda Castle was built on the southern tip of Castle Hill, bounded on the north by what is known as the Castle District, which is famous for its medieval, Baroque, and 19th-century houses, churches, and public buildings. The castle is a part of the Budapest UNESCO World Heritage Site. The first citi ...
Founded: 1247-1265 | Location: Budapest, Hungary

Citadella

Citadella is an citadel located upon the top of the strategic Gellért Hill in Budapest. The fortress was built in 1851 by Julius Jacob von Haynau, a commander of the Habsburg Monarchy, and designed by Emmanuel Zitta and Ferenc Kasselik, after the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. It occupies almost the entire 235 metres high plateau. The fortress is a U-shaped structure built about a central courtyard, being 220 metres ...
Founded: 1851 | Location: Budapest, Hungary

Vajdahunyad Castle

Although the Vajdahunyad Castle in the City Park may look like a historical building, dating back to the medieval times, it was in fact built over for the 1000th birthday of the Hungarian State in 1896 for the Millennial Exhibition. The original building of the Vajdahunyad Castle was just a temporary structure made of wooden planks and cardboard designs. Even its plain name was descriptive signifying that it is nothing m ...
Founded: 1896 | Location: Budapest, Hungary

Mosonmagyaróvár Castle

King Stephen ordered the building of a castle at Moson to defend the border in the early 11th century. Settlers flocked around the wooden and then stone castle, and by the 11th century it was described as a strong fortress and bustling merchant town. However, in 1030, the Holy Roman Emperor Conrad II was able to conquer the castle on his way to the Rába. During the Crusades, Kálmán, King of Győr ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Mosonmagyaróvár, Hungary

Eger Castle

The Castle of Eger is historically known for repelling the Turkish attack in 1552 during the Siege of Eger. 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 2,100-2,30 ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Eger, Hungary

Esztergom Castle

Esztergom was the capital of Hungary from the 10th till the mid-13th century when King Béla IV of Hungary moved the royal seat to Buda. During the same period, the castle of Esztergom was built on the site of ancient Roman castrum. It served not only as the royal residence until the 1241 (the Mongol invasion), but also as the center of the Hungarian state, religion, and Esztergom county. After changing his residence to ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Esztergom, Hungary

Dömötör Tower

The Dömötör tower is the oldest building in Szeged. The foundation was most probably laid during the 11th century, while the lower part was built (in Romanesque style) from the 12th century, and the upper part (Gothic style) from the 13th century. The tower was once part of the former St. Demetrius church, but today it stands in Dóm Square, in front of the much larger Votive Church of Szeged. The upp ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Szeged, Hungary

Tata Castle

Initiated by the Lackffy family, construction of the Tata castle began at the end of the 1300s. It has continually been built and rebuilt ever since. One of Tata’s gems today, it had its glory days as a royal summer residence during the reign of King Sigismund of Luxembourg and that of King Matthias Hunyadi. Thanks to the Esterházy family, one-time residents of the castle, the building today reflects the styl ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Tatai, Hungary

Visegrád Castle

The Citadel (Fellegvár) and the Lower Castle The Visegrád double castle system is one of the castles built by Béla IV recognizing the consequences of the Mongol invasion. The fortress preserved its significance until the Turkish invasions. The Citadel had a multifunctional role: it was protecting the valley of the Danube, it was controlling the main commerical route between Buda and Esztergom, and also served as a cus ...
Founded: 1247 | Location: Visegrád, Hungary

Barbican

The Barbican, the 15th century bastion with a circular floor plan used to belong to the wall system of the Bishop"s Castle. Its construction is linked to the visit of General Pál Kinizsi, who came to the town in 1498. In the shadow of the Turkish threat the defence systems of castles and towns were strengthened all around the South. The Gothic-style gate tower was built in the 15th century at the western corne ...
Founded: 1498 | Location: Pécs, Hungary

Gyula Castle

From the construction to its surrender for the Turks, Gyula Fortress can be linked significantly with the royal court either by relation right or by the way that the King himself or a member of royal family was the proprietor of the big manor. All this is worth of emphasizing since Buda and Vajdahunyad are the nearest two castles unequivocally having this kind of royal position. The first factual mention of the fortress ...
Founded: 1405 | Location: Gyulai, Hungary

Bory Castle

Bory Castle is a real curiosity. The special architectural feature of the castle is that it is made of concrete. The 20th century knights’ castle was constructed by architect and sculptor Jenő Bory over a period of 36 years as a symbol of his eternal love for his wife. In 1923, the architect and sculptor Jenő Bory started to build a castle on an artificial hill in the suburb of Öreghegy, still rural and covered with ...
Founded: 1923-1959 | Location: Öreghegy, Hungary

Boldogkõ Castle

Boldogkő Castle towers above the village atop a north-south elongated and irregularly oval-shaped andesite mountain top. The exact time of its construction is unknown, but it is certain that it was built after the Mongol invasion in the mid-13th century. The stronghold, designed with an interior turret, defended the road to Košice and the Hernad Valley. Presently, the castle is in the hands of the local munici ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Boldogkõváralja, Hungary

Siklós Castle

Siklós castle was built by Baron János György Benyó in the 13th century. 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 wa ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Siklós, Hungary

Sümeg Castle

Sümeg Castle was built in the latter half of the 13th century by Béla IV of Hungary. It is situated atop a mountain called 'Castle Hill'. Later, it was presented as a gift to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Veszprém by Stephen V of Hungary. In the 15th century, the castle was fortified, and the second of two towers was built.In 1552, in response to the capture of Veszprém by the Turks, the castles was rebuilt and fo ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sümeg, Hungary

Szigliget Castle

Szigliget castle was built by Favus Abbot of Pannonhalma, it was completed in 1262. A small village with a church had been developed under the castle belonging to it as usual in the life of a border fortress. The Castle passed into royal proprietorship and then from 1521 for centuries it became the property of Tóti-Lengyel family. Upon the order of Emperor Lipót issued in 1702 the Castle was blow up.To protect its subst ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Szigliget, Hungary

Diósgyor Castle

The first castle of Diósgyőr was built probably in the 12th century and was destroyed during the Mongol invasion (1241-42). The current, Gothic castle was built after the invasion and reached the peak of its importance during the reign of King Louis the Great (1342-1382). Later it became a wedding gift for the queens of Hungary, which it remained until the Ottoman invasion of Hungary in the 16th century. By th ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Diósgyõr, Hungary

Pipo Castle

Pipo Castle in Ozora is a unique piece of Italian Renaissance in a small Hungarian village. The castle was built for Filippo Scolari, otherwise known as Pipo of Ozora, who came to Hungary as a merchant’s clerk/assistant when he was 13 years old and rose to become a renowned economist, a brilliant soldier and a distinguished diplomat at the 15th century court of King Sigismund. The castle contains important Renaissa ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Ozora, Hungary

Sárvár Castle

Through the Nádasdy family, the castle of Sárvár, now called Nádasdy Castle, played a significant role in the progress of Hungarian culture in the 16th and 17th centuries. The first Hungarian book, The New Testament of 1541, was printed here. The knight's hall of the castle is decorated with the battle scenes of Lord Chief Justice Ferenc Nádasdy (married to the notorious Elizabeth B&aacu ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sárvár, Hungary

Jurisics Castle

Jurisics Castle, named after Croatian nobleman Nikola Jurišić. The oldest part was built in the 13th century. The inner castle originally of Gothic style was extended later on. This building complex served as an estate castle and was also converted in the Renaissance and Baroque era. The character of the two islands still can be observed: it is visible that the fortress and the interior of the castle were surr ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Kőszeg, Hungary

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.

Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.

When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.

Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.

Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.

In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.

The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880, when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until 1928, when Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle and began an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses, and towers. After his death, a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke town council.

Architecture

The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.

In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.

The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.

In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.

The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.

Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.