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 building is from 1445, although János Maróti began with its construction already in 1405. His life passed in uninterrupted fighting against the Turks, therefore the leader and terminator of the works in Gyula could be his son, László Maróti. In 1476, the fortress and the huge manor reverted to the crown. In 1482 King Matthias gave the territory to his son, János Corvinus, who made his mark on the fortress – in addition to other building operations – by erecting the present Corvin-bastion. From strategic point of view, the fortress advanced in fact after the Mohács Disaster. The adherents of János Szapolyai succeeded to seize it, and then for a short while it was in the hands of noblemen of Transylvanian interestedness. However, in 1552 it got again into king’s ownership in consequence of to an exchange. In the meanwhile, the Ottomans engaged in the destruction of the surroundings. Then they built palisades not far off from the fortress herewith hindering the food supply for the defenders. In summer of 1566, Pertaf pasha, nephew of Suleiman II (Suleiman the Magnificent) finally laid siege to the fortress. After a nine-week siege, they subscribed the fortress’ capitulation agreement, thus the town fell into the Turks’ hands. With the onset of a relative peace, the life of the city began to develop slowly, and then in 1695 the Christian troops reoccupied the territory. Thereafter the estate’s ancillary units were placed in the castle.
The renovation of the fortress was started in the beginning of the 1960s. The Castle Theatre has operated within the walls since 1960, and the old permanent exhibition was opened also at this time. Following a long-standing renovation, the new Renaissance Castle Museum was finished in 2005, in which the visitors can go through the history of six centuries in 24 exhibition rooms.
Gyula Fortress being the only flatland, Gothic brick-masonry fortress of Central-Europe remained intact stands at the persons’ service showing an interest, with 24 exhibition rooms.
Within the restored castle, downstairs there are the dungeon (open to the public out of Castle Theatre’s season), the chapel, the tavern and the ancillary rooms such as a dispensary, a bake-house, a smithy and a pottery. Upstairs there are various suits (of the lord and of the lady), the halberdier hall, the Sanjak bey’s reception room, the armoury and the knights’ hall.References:
The castle of La Iruela, small but astonishing, is located on the top of a steep crag in Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park. From the castle, impressive views of the surrounding area and of the town can be enjoyed.
The keep dates from the Christian era. It has a square base and small dimensions and is located at the highest part of the crag.
There are some other enclosures within the tower that create a small alcázar which is difficult to access.
In a lower area of the castle, protected with defensive remains of rammed earth and irregular masonry, is an old Muslim farmstead.
After a recent restoration, an open-air theater has been built on La Iruela castle enclosure. This theater is a tribute to the Greek and Classic Eras and holds various artistic and cultural shows throughout the year.
The first traces of human activity in La Iruela area are dated from the Copper Age. An intense occupation continued until the Bronze Age.
Originally, La Iruela (like Cazorla) was a modest farmstead. From the 11th century, a wall and a small fortress were built on the hill to protect the farmers.
Around 1231, don Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada, Archbishop of Toledo, conquered La Iruela and made it part of the Adelantamiento de Cazorla. Over the Muslim fortress, the current fortress was built.
Once the military use of the fortress ended, it was used as cemetery.