Castles in Hungary

Csesznek Castle Ruins

Csesznek castle was built around 1263 by the Jakab Cseszneky who was the swordbearer of the King Béla IV. He and his descendants have been named after the castle Cseszneky. Between 1326 and 1392 it was a royal castle, when King Sigismund offered it to the House of Garai in lieu of the Macsó Banate. In 1482 the male line of the Garai family died out, and King Matthias Corvinus donated the castle to the Szapolyai family. ...
Founded: 1263 | Location: Csesznek, Hungary

Hollókõ

Hollokö is an outstanding example of a deliberately preserved traditional settlement. This village, which developed mainly during the 17th and 18th centuries, is a living example of rural life before the agricultural revolution of the 20th century. The village has been an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. In the middle of the 13th century, in the aftermath of the Mongol invasion, construction of Hollók&# ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Hollókõ, Hungary

Szigetvár Fortress

Written references to the Szigetvár castle date back to 1449, but it is thought that the central and oldest part of the castle would have been erected in the 14th and 15th centuries, by Janos, son of Anthimus, while in public office in Slavonia. The castle is a national symbol of the tragic resistance against invading Turkish armies, whose forces vastly outnumbered those of the Hungarians. In 1566, when defending the ca ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Szigetvár, Hungary

Drégely Castle Ruins

Drégely Castle was probably built by the Bozók branch of the Hunt-Poznan family in the second half of the 13th century, during the Árpád dynasty, by order of Béla IV. It was first mentioned in a charter of 1285 as the possession of Demeter of the Hunt-Poznan family. The proprietors had to surrender to Máté Csák III in 1311. After the death of this oligarch in 1321 th ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Rétsági, Hungary

Savoy Castle

The Savoy Castle is an 18th-century Baroque style palace. Construction of the spacious home was begun in 1702 at the commissioning of Prince Eugene of Savoy and finished in approximately 1722. Prince Eugene of Savoy acquired Csepel Island in 1698, and thereafter began the planning process of this 'maison de plaisance'. Eugene commissioned Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt, a student of the Roman Carlo Fontana, to de ...
Founded: 1702-1722 | Location: Ráckeve, Hungary

Kisnána Castle Ruins

The Castle of Kisnána is one of the most beautiful remains of late-Medieval noble residences in Hungary. Its history well demonstrates the evolution and transformation of landlord residences. Like the other settlements in the Mátra region, Kisnána also belonged to the Clan Aba. In the early 13th century the Kompolti family evolved from the Clan Aba, and one of its descendants, Péter Kompolti to ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Kisnána, Hungary

Somló Castle Ruins

Somló castle was built in the 13th century soon after the Mongol Invasion. It had a great deal of owners. Kinizsi Pal was also among them but the castle’s golden age was when the bishop of Eger, Bakócz Tamás bought it in the late 15th century. He rebuilt it and it served as a castle and as a chapel. The Turkish tried to occupy several times unsuccessful. By the 18th Century it was a bad condition. The ruins are not e ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Somló, Hungary

Markaz Castle Ruins

The ruins of the former Markaz castle at the end of Vár crag lie about 2 km way from Markaz. It is assumed that the Kompolti family that belonged to the Aba genus had it built in the 1270-1280"s. The castle did not have significance from a military point of view as it was mainly used for recreation and hunting by the owners. The palace was constructed in the tiny and narrow castle with a tiny yard. On the sout ...
Founded: 1270-1280 | Location: Markaz, Hungary

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.