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 Kalozha church of Saints Boris and Gleb is the oldest extant structure in Hrodna. It is the only surviving monument of ancient Black Ruthenian architecture, distinguished from other Orthodox churches by prolific use of polychrome faceted stones of blue, green or red tint which could be arranged to form crosses or other figures on the wall.
The church is a cross-domed building supported by six circular pillars. The outside is articulated with projecting pilasters, which have rounded corners, as does the building itself. The ante-nave contains the choir loft, accessed by a narrow gradatory in the western wall. Two other stairs were discovered in the walls of the side apses; their purpose is not clear. The floor is lined with ceramic tiles forming decorative patterns. The interior was lined with innumerable built-in pitchers, which usually serve in Eastern Orthodox churches as resonators but in this case were scored to produce decorative effects. For this reason, the central nave has never been painted.
The church was built before 1183 and survived intact, depicted in the 1840s by Michał Kulesza, until 1853, when the south wall collapsed, due to its perilous location on the high bank of the Neman. During restoration works, some fragments of 12th-century frescoes were discovered in the apses. Remains of four other churches in the same style, decorated with pitchers and coloured stones instead of frescoes, were discovered in Hrodna and Vaŭkavysk. They all date back to the turn of the 13th century, as do remains of the first stone palace in the Old Hrodna Castle.
In 2004, the church was included in the Tentative List of UNESCO"s World Heritage Sites.