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Boldogko Castle

Boldogkovaralja, Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen, Hungary

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Boldogko Castle

Boldogko Castle is a picturesque medieval fortified palace perched prettily on a hill in Hungary’s Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén region. Said to have been built in the 13th century and steeped in tales and legends, the current incarnation of Boldogko Castle is very different from the original, having been extensively renovated more recently.

Today, it plays host to numerous exhibits, ranging from those about minerals to military history.

Boldogko Castle history

Whilst the exact date of construction of the castle is unclear, it was built after the Tartar invasion and protected the Kosice road and hernad valley as a fortress. There was a written reference to the castle in 1282.

The origins of the castle are shrouded in the mist of time, but the general belief is that it was built by either the Tomaj or Arpad family. The castke changed hands multiple times throughout the following centuries from 1388 when King Sigismund pledged it to Peter Czudar, passing through multiple stages of ownership until it became property of the king again in 1471.

The castle was further extended in the 15th century by adding an irregular four-sided tower on the southern side, a horseshoe shaped gate tower and an outer barbican on the eastern side.

In the years that followed, several noteworthy figures were associated with the castle. Poet Bálint Balassy spent a lot of time in the castle. He wrote one of his popular poems ‘Borivóknak való’ here. The castle served as a muse for others as well, Dezső Szabó wrote a tale, Jenő Vécsey a symphonic poem about the fort.

After changing hands several times, Leopold I ordered it demolished at the start of the 1700s, making it uninhabitable. During its renovation, the castle received some neo-Gothic design, which makes pinpointing the original structure difficult.

The castle belonged to the Zichy family from 1890 to 1945, until its nationalization. Archeological excavations and renovations started in 1963, creating a hotel in the keep. It remained in that status until the early 1990s, when it became home to one of the largest exhibitions of military history and tin soldiers of Central Europe. The sand table shows the battle of Muhi in extreme detail with more than a thousand tin soldiers.

The castle has been through two phases of reconstruction since then. In 2002, two towers received a canopy, the cellar was connected to the wine house, and a 100-meter long wall walk was built to the rock of Oroszlánszikla, one of the most characteristic parts of the castle.

Boldogko Castle today

In 2013, the keep received a roof and a great hall was created inside. The treadmill was renovated; anybody can have a go at it. An overlook and several historical exhibitions were created, for example on mineralogy, heraldry, vexillology and a smithy was built with a mint also. One hall contains items related to military history, as well as the prison and torture chamber.

Getting to Boldogko Castle

is in the northeast of Hungary, in the Zemplén region. To drive there, take Road 3 from Miskolc, and then turn onto Road 39. Turn north onto the nameless road just before the exit sign of the village; it leads to the car park. The nearest bus stop to the castle is Boldogkőváralja, arkai elágazás.

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