The Castle of Diósgyőr’s road to restorationACTIVITIES, EUROPE, FEATURED ARTICLES, Historic/Museums, STAFF — By Estrella Azul on February 17, 2017 at 23:23
Text & photos © Estrella Azul
AS MENTIONED in my previous travel article about the European city of Miskolc (Visiting Miskolc, Hungary during the winter holidays), I first visited the Castle of Diósgyőr in 2005, and it so happened that I revisited it every five years after that.
The Castle of Diósgyőr is a medieval castle in the historical town of Diósgyőr, which is now part of the Northern Hungarian city Miskolc. Unfortunately, this once-beautiful wedding gift for the queens of Hungary was in ruins by the 17th century.
The restoration of the Castle of Diósgyőr began in 1953 and, at the time, only in the areas which were about to collapse. Archaeological excavation only began in the 1960s, and in the 21st century the plan to rebuild the castle was finally made.
I loved it from the very first time I visited the castle, and that love only grew along the years as I saw it transform from ruins to a beautiful and functioning museum.
The most impressively furnished and luxurious interiors on display in Diósgyőr Castle are at the first floor level and include Saint Hedvig’s Chapel, the Great Hall, and the Queen’s Dormitory. Much of the reproduction furniture can be sat on, and the walls showcase impressive arches, murals, carpets, royal armored flags, swords and dresses for women.
It would beat the purpose of a museum, but I would go as far as saying that—as opposed to only a couple of small cold rooms standing in 2005—in present day one could almost take their belongings and move into one of the spacious, furnished and heated rooms.
Aside from descriptions of each room and their use back in the day, most of the rooms on the lower level have touch screen activities, which can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
Exhibitions of old photographs of the castle, painted tiles and maps of the area adorn certain rooms and hallways, and a short film on the history of the castle can also be viewed.
On the lower level the alchemy, a small mint, metal workshop, pottery studio, powder room, war and hunting weapons exhibition, crops storage room, a collection of taxidermy, and the vine cellars can be found, which are more modestly decorated, yet highly representative of the castle’s medieval times living.
The inner courtyard more or less did not even exist when I first visited the castle as the walls now enclosing the space were merely ruins.
In warm weather the Castle Café welcomes customers on the now-existing castle terrace near the last unrenovated tower, and in winter it operates in the heated room of the Wine bar.
Among the first and constant displays in the castle is one of the largest waxwork exhibitions of Central Europe which shows six scenes of everyday life in medieval Diósgyőr. One can enjoy it by walking through the long corridor of the outer castle.
Its surrounding grounds were not lush-green and filled with life when I last visited the castle in December, but it was fun to discover staircases leading nowhere in particular, great detail in the stonework, terraces with cannons waiting for tourists to take pictures with, and walking on old paths imagining what the remaining stone-wall ruins will turn into when they’re rebuilt.
The view from the top of the looking-tower is gorgeous in any season! In present day, the newly constructed Arena for Jousting Tournaments and a related marketplace can be spotted across from the castle.
Even though it’s surrounded by modern concrete buildings instead of a historical town, the events and open air plays organized there—The Castle Plays, Reviving the Middle Ages, jousting tournaments, equestrian sports events, musical events, horseback riding opportunities and the medieval fairs next to the castle—all make the Castle of Diósgyőr a highly popular tourist destination.
When I was there in 2010 and stopped by the castle to take pictures of it at night, I even got to watch most of the István a király (Stephen, the King) rock opera as a bonus for arriving on time.
As a parting note I’d like to mention that after visiting Hungary over the course of twenty years, both as a child and as an adult, I still find it wonderful that the country began and finished the restoration of many castles, churches, fortresses, bridges and old buildings throughout its large cities and cute small villages.
Hungarians have really put an effort to attract tourists with beautiful scenery and architecture, and the change from the 20th to the 21st century is evident most everywhere one looks.
Estrella Azul is a young emerging writer, passionate about reading, floral art and photography, with an artistic personality and a soulful outlook on life. She is a Hungarian girl living and writing from Cluj-Napoca, Romania, the capital of historical region Transylvania. Estrella is our European correspondent, she currently serves as the photo editor here at Milliver’s Travels, and she dreams of embarking on a round-the-world trip. To read more of her creative writing, her thoughts and daily happenings, visit Life’s a stage – WebBlog©. Read more of her stories on Milliver’s Travels by visiting Estrella’s story index.