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Castle of Diósgyőr

The castle of Diósgyőr is in north Hungary, 8 km to the heart of Hungary's second-biggest town, Miskolc. "Dió" means walnut, referring to the abundant walnut trees in the area. "Győr" is an archaic version of the word "gyűrű", meaning "ring" in the Hungarian language. It probably refers to the rounded shape of the first castle erected on the hill. The recently renovated castle boasts with the larget knightly hall of Central Europe. Period furniture, costumed animators, historical games, historical reenactments, and modern devices help time travel to historical periods which are hiding many more secrets and curiosities than one would ever think.

History of  Diósgyőr Castle

The name of the town was first mentioned by the anonymous author of Gesta Hungarorum around 1200, as Geuru. The first castle was built in the 12th century, it was destroyed during the Mongolian invasion in 1241–124. 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 practically every hilltop. King Béla IV donated this place to one of his favorite men, Ernye Bán. Ernye Bán’s son, Palatine Stephen had the first stone castle surrounded by an oval-shaped ring built, complete with two round towers. The Pauline monastery of the place was founded at the end of the 13th century.

When talking about the first phase of the Ottoman-Hungarian wars, we have to begin with the long and powerful reign of King Louis I of Hungary (reigned 1342-1382). He was the first Hungarian king who had the first military clash with the Turks. During his rule, the Kingdom of Hungary was in its heydays: Diósgyőr Castle used to be one of the king's favorite places. Verily, you can see in it the biggest knightly hall of Central Europe which can properly show you the might of King Louis' realm. The castle had also its prime during the reign of Louis I. (more in the History section)

What can we see in the castle?

The reconstructed Castle of Diósgyőr was opened in 2014. The renovation project also included the construction of an Arena for Jousting Tournaments and a related Marketplace and the remodeling of the Hanging Gardens of Lillafüred, filling them with new functions as well. The renovated castle can be reached via a bridge over the moat. The wide ditch serves as a location of many events, the outdoor stage was also built there. The barrel of a cannon looks out of the bastion in front of the castle, and it even greets the visitors with shots on festival days.

A long corridor decorated with armor is leading to the castle courtyard. The beautifully paved, clean courtyard is a popular scene of chivalry games and dueling on weekends. Some of the exhibition halls have been set up on the ground floor, including the castle history exhibition, the popular metal workshop where medieval weapons can be tried, the special alchemist room and the hunting room with stuffed animals.

You can also enter the lower level of the castle chapel from the ground floor. In almost every room, touch-screens, interactive games are available for the tourist. The entrance to the Round Bastion opens from the inner, covered terrace of the courtyard, where a very interesting, panoramic film about the history of the castle can be watched, the 3D movie is a truly spectacular, unparalleled sight, let’s not miss it in any way.

We have to climb some stairs on the courtyard to get to the second level where we can take a look at the rooms on our own. However, we can have a better experience if we join the guides who are wearing medieval costumes. They can guide us through the halls in an enjoyable style. From the truly huge knight’s hall, the road leads through the queens ’room, dormitory and bathroom, and we can even admire the medieval outhouse. In several places, the remnants of medieval decorative elements were incorporated into the rebuilt walls. They can be distinguished by their darker color. From the second floor you can also climb one of the towers, which functions as a lookout. It is a very nice place from where one can take delight in the perfectly reconstructed castle from above.

To the west of the castle, the Arena-like Knights' Tournament Square was built, which, as its name suggests, is the place for large-scale events. It was ready in 2015 when both equestrian historical reenactors and sports events could take possession of the Arena for Jousting Tournaments and the Marketplace.

How can we get there?

Miskolc is 191 kilometers away from Budapest, it can be approached via Road M3 or by train. If you arrive by car or bus, you can access the Castle of Diósgyőr and the Arena for Jousting Tournaments from Tapolcarét utca (street) where free parking is provided.

Opening hours:
Between 1 November and 31 March: 09.00-17.00
Between 1 April and 31 October: 09.00-18.00
Entrance tickets:
Adult: 1,500 HUF
Student / Retired: 1,200 HUF
Children (under the age 6) and elderly people (older than 70) can enter free of charge.
Each ticket includes a guided tour.
Text by: Gábor Szántai