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 the end of the 1600s it was already in ruins. Archaeological excavations started in the 1960s. In 2014 the castle was completely rebuilt, the reconstructed rooms are furnished with Mediaeval-style furniture.

The first castle was an earthwork and timber castle. The castle that stands today was probably built by King Béla IV, who, after the Mongols left the country, ordered a castle to be built on every hilltop. In the earliest times the castle was an oval structure with a rounded donjon, surrounded by a polygonal outer wall. In 1316 it was mentioned as 'new castle', which confirms the theory that it was built in place of a destroyed castle. Judging from a document listing the taxes paid by towns in 1330 it seems the town around the castle was one of the richest towns of the county.

The castle had its prime during the reign of Louis I (Louis the Great). Its importance lay in standing near the road leading to Poland (the mother of Louis the Great, Elizabeth Lokietkówna, was a Polish princess; Louis himself became King of Poland in 1370.) The king had the castle rebuilt and modernised. Surrounded by several walls, the inner castle was built around a rectangular courtyard, and it had four towers, one on each corner. On the first floor were the storerooms and on the second floor were the rooms and the Knights' Hall, which was 25 meters long and 13 meters wide. The modernising of the castle was finished under the reign of Louis' daughter Mary. The castle was surrounded by a 4 metre deep moat.

In 1364 the nearby town Miskolc was annexed to the Diósgyőr estate. In 1381 the Peace Treaty of Turin was signed in the castle of Diósgyőr. In the treaty the Italian town of Venice was compelled to raise the flag of the Anjou dynasty on the St. Mark square every Sunday. In the north-eastern tower of the castle there is a waxworks exhibition showing the wax figures of King Louis and the Venetian envoy.

Diósgyőr lost some of its importance when the personal union between Hungary and Poland ended (Louis shared the two countries between his two daughters Mary and Jadwiga.) For the next few centuries the castle was a holiday residence for queens. The last queen owning the castle was Maria, wife of Louis II. She gave up the castle formally in 1546 (by this time it had been occupied by the ruling prince of Transylvania.)

When the Ottoman army began to occupy the southern territories of Hungary, the castle was fortified. Its owners, the Gyarmati Balassa family turned it into a large fortress, and they had an Italian-style rondelle built to the north-western tower. The slim turrets were replaced by strong bastions. This was the last time the castle was rebuilt; after 1564 the owners changed frequently, and the castle slowly deteriorated. In 1596 the Ottoman army occupied the Castle of Eger and defeated the Christian army at Mezőkeresztes. The castle of Diósgyőr fell too; it was built to be a holiday residence and was never intended to be a large fortress that withstands the siege of a foreign army. From this time Diósgyőr was under Ottoman occupation and the area was ruled by the Pasha of Eger until 1687 when this part of the country was freed from Turkish rule. By this time the castle lost all of its military importance.

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Founded: 14th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Hungary

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

jason penn (14 months ago)
Beautiful castle with an incredible feel. What made this worth the visit was the professional tour guide who played the part in traditional Knight costume. He delivered a knowledgeable brief passionately and answered questions thoroughly. Great day out! Looking forward to visiting when the jousting and other entertainment is on in the future!
Dávid Tóth (14 months ago)
Initially I didn't have energy for a detailed review, but after the owners reply I felt I'd like to honor them with describing my experience! It was the single greatest castle I have ever been. With medieval music flying in the air, the exhibit guides being in actual medieval clothing, and with the amazing layout of the castle it was an experience I will remember for a long time to come! It's also worth mentioning that there is an actual medieval fight arena next to the castle! Truly a great experience, and a must-see if you are nearby.
E John Deutsch (14 months ago)
the view from the upper tower is superb... worth the many steps... massive castle
Tamas Dudas (counterHUNter89) (16 months ago)
Nice place. Try the gardens nearby too.
Doktor Drmr (17 months ago)
Fine, not impressed so much, saw it betters but respect for history. Whole organisation from tickets till guides are really not adapted to foreigners, you will get voice guide only if you ask for it, will not be offered, on entrance they will ask for ticket that you have to buy somewhere in house behind ( no signs of marks on English ), you have to go from one desk to the another until you find where it is, they are not speaking English so to buy or ask for something you need google translate otherwise you will not get for what you come. Voice guide is boring and talking about history but more about some relevant things. I recommend to take a coffee (Capuchino) on the terace of castle, it's one of the best I tasted, girls who made it are bright side of castle and the view from castle if you take a table near the walls.
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