To follow on with this topic, you can find some more examples of real castles in Hungary. Contrary to castles in the Netherlands, which were mostly built of bricks, at least in their present state, never really played parts in wars, so they are almost exclusively intact and could best be described as palaces of some sort, most Hungarian castles were built of stone boulders for and used in wars and suffered several instances of being blown up.My first example here is the castle of Esztergom, which was one of the earliest castles in Hungary. It became one of the most important centres of the king before the Tartar invasion. As the castle withstood that invasion, its importance served as an example to what the country should do to prevent another invasion to happen. Unfortunately, the castle suffered enormously during the Turkish occupation and changed hands many times. Afterwards, the stones were carried away by locals to rebuild their houses. The basilica we can see in the above photo from the Slovak side of the Danube was finished at the place of the fortifications and the earlier palaces in 1869. This view is also the only kind that can show that Esztergom used to have a castle with defence lines and bastions.
The next and perhaps most typical example is the castle of Buják, which is hidden among the low hills of the Cserhát mountains, North-East of Budapest, in county Nógrád.The ruins can’t be seen from the roads, you even have to guess which road actually leads to near it. The reason has a lot to do with the fact that the area still belongs to the army. But as I was appalled by the fact that for this reason I couldn’t see these ruins 45 years ago, I gave it a try this time, when the army is no longer so important. Still, you are shooed away from the parking place, so you have to park a car by the roadside nearby. Then you have to climb a path of a few hundred metres on a dirt path to reach the ruins. What is a-typical here is that it was not blown up by the Habsburgs – the Turks blew it up before other castles met this inevitable fate. Not much can be seen today, but the view is beautiful.
The last castle I’m showing you today stands above the only Hungarian village on the World Heritage list: Hollókő, again, among the Cserhát mountains, only a few kilometres from Buják – though no direct road exists between the two villages, so you have to drive a lot more.From the village, where you can park your car (but don’t be surprised if the parking metres don’t work), a few hundred metres again lead to the rebuilt fortification:Again, it’s not a big castle, but shows the middle-ages well. For a small payment, all the restored parts can be visited.You can even enter a room which has been somewhat furnished (very rare in Hungarian castles except in Buda).The view over the low hills from the walls is again beautiful.With this, I bid farewell for a while. Hope you enjoyed it all and can visit the places some time to come.