Castles in Hungary

I showed a large number of “castles” in the Netherlands and some in Germany in this blog and in my first photoblog as well, but so far nothing from the country where I come from: Hungary. The reasons are numerous, the important ones being that I only visited them a long time ago and my relatively recent visits to the country were not about castles. I did visit some of them, however, over the last few years, so let me start with the largest one in Hungary, the Buda Castle.P1120035Buda castle is the largest castle in Hungary, probably second largest in the world only to the Hradzin in Prague (please enjoy my earlier photos about it starting here), and it’s definitely the most important in the country’s history, as it was the official residence of the kings of Hungary when they were present in the country. This was not always the case under the hundreds of years under the Habsburgs, nevertheless, it has always been the most important administrative centre of the country since the Tartars left in 1243. A morning view from further off shows a great deal of why Budapest is so famous and popular among foreign tourists.P1080001Although it was the ground for many a battle for the hegemony over Hungary, Buda castle survived relatively well, showing a lot of its original fortifications, partly thanks to its importance, which made it imperative for its rulers to restore damaged parts over the centuries. Here is a rarely-photographed side.P1020116Inside the huge complex, there are still scores of buildings going back to at least the Renaissance, which are mostly housing restaurants and shops for tourists today.P1020195A lot of other, usually larger buildings are used by various organisations, the National Gallery, museums, churches, a theatre, and among them, the building of the Hungarian president can also be found. This one is one of the most beautiful of the early remains, just opposite the famous Matthias Church:P1020231As Buda castle is one of the most widely photographed areas in the whole country, I’ll just show a couple of more photos for those who’re unfamiliar there. This is about the famous Fisherman’s Bastion, which is, despite its fortification-like looks, is a late-19th c. addition, followed by views of the Eastern side of the city, Pest.P1020221P1100094P1100096P1100093Definitely beautiful but touristy, so let’s head to another beauty, which is a lot more typical of what kinds of castles are mostly found around the country. This one is above Lake Balaton (or Plattensee for German speakers) and is above a village called Szigliget. The castle was built on a smaller one of the famous and picturesque volcanic leftover mountains above most of the Northern side of Europe’s largest lake.P1040242It has also had a turbulent, but typical history of wars, battles and desolation in Hungary, but has been restored quite well, without overdoing it, not trying to show any of its “full” form, but it’s not in complete ruins either – both of which kind I’ll show some examples in my following post. So let’s scale the winding paths and stairs and see it.P1040299P1040264P1040274We’ll definitely notice the beautiful landscape around, which is a lot less touristy than that from Buda Castle, but definitely enjoyable for rovers. The bigger mountain opposite is St. George’s mount, a bit further from the lake than the touristy Badacsony.P1040283Hope you’ve enjoyed roving around with me and you’ll join me on the next tour as well.

by P.S.