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

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.