Simontornya Castle

Simontornya Castle


Location: Simontornya Map

Constructed: 13th century


Description of Simontornya Castle

Simontornya Castle is located in Simontornya in Hungary. It was constructed in the 13th century. Simontornya Castle name is literally translated as Simon's tower. Simontornya Castle got this name name apparently after its original owner. The citadel was captured by the Ottoman Turks and turned into a seat of a local government for sandjak, but in 1686 it was recaptured by Louis William, Margrave of Baden- Baden. In the early 18th century Simontornya Castle was used as a military stronghold by the Kuruc rebels who fought against the Habsburgs under leadership of Prince Francis II Rakoczi. It was besieged by the Austrian forces and taken in 1709. Simontornya Castle was briefly used as military barracks, but military improvements made it obsolete. Citadel was turned into a barn for cattle. Only in the middle of the 20th century reconstruction of the building have begun.


Sió meandered on the northern edge of the Tolna hills in the Middle Ages, forming a wide swampy valley, on one of the islands of which the floodplain was erected in the 1270s by Simon, the son of Solomon of Döröcske. Until the end of the 13th century, it was only accessible by two bridges. The former naming tower no longer exists today. Initially, it was only listed as a private castle built with royal permission to protect a larger estate, which the king was free to give to his beloved followers in the event of the owner's death or infidelity. For nearly 200 years, it still played the role of a small castle hidden among the swamps.

Its first written mention dates from 1324, in the diploma by which Károly Róbert donates "castrum seu Turrym siue possessionem Symonthurnya vocatum" to János Hencfia. In 1347 it was inherited by the Lack sons. The Transylvanian voivode of István Lackfi and his descendants have owned and continued to build and shape the castle for half a century. In 1397 it became the property of the Kanizsaians. It was acquired by Pipó Ozorai in 1424, by exchanging estates (for the castle of Sárvár and in addition for 1,500 forints), and after 1427 it became the property of the Garai family. At this time, the castle is further expanded, which is connected to the name of Judge László Farkas from Buda. According to a charter from 1448, palatine László Garai pledged the castle to him, and when he redeemed it years later, he paid him 400 gold forints for "pro edifycys new and reformacionupuparum et defectuum eiusdem Castri ..." It was then that the outer protective belt of the castle was built, which in the shape of an irregular ring surrounded the rectangular building of the early castle, with walls with buttress pillars crowned by a partisan abyss. The remains of the outer perimeter walls around the castle, although in a very dilapidated condition, can still be seen today. In 1482, with the extinction of the Garai family on a son's branch, the castle became the property of the crown again and became the property of Queen Beatrix until 1500, when the queen left Hungary. In 1508 it became the property of Mózes Buzlay, who was known in the court of Ulászló as a royal main doorman and an educated diplomat and from the medieval castle he established an upscale aristocratic seat here following the Italian Renaissance taste. Buzlay's reconstruction will bring the castle to its heyday. According to the surviving architectural details, he completed the construction with the masters of the royal constructions of Buda in 1508. The medieval walls are broken through on the south side and a new block of the gate tower, old tower and staircase is built from the foundations here. The old palace wing that remains attached to it will be remodeled, another floor will be drawn on it, and a columned, arcaded loggia will run in front of it along its entire courtyard side. A castle chapel is being built on the northern wing, even with the structures and forms of the late Gothic, the details of which show a relationship with the castle chapel of Siklós. The whole building was decorated with doors, fireplaces, coats of arms, etc. adorned with extremely fine Renaissance carvings, which testify to the highest standards of Jagiellonian Renaissance architecture. In 1536 it became the property of the chief court master Gergely Pöstyéni, who received the castle from King John I as a reward for his bravery. He was the last Hungarian castle of the years before Turkish rule.

The Simontowers of the castle were the "accessories" until 1560, among others; Miszla, Dég, Igar, Soponya, Hatvan, Besnyő, Bikád, Dorog, Kesző, Hidegkút, Borjád, Hőgyész, Pincehely, Némedi, Felső and Alsó Egres, Újfalu.

In 1543 it was occupied by the Turks and became the seat of the Sandzak, like all major Transdanubian castles. In the initial times, the Turks provided strong guard for the castle, the number of infantry (Janissaries), cavalry and infantry guarding the castle reached 191, artillery was commanded to Simontornya by the end of 1543. The first Turkish commander was Yusuf Dizdar (castle commander). At the end of more militant times, a strong military presence became redundant, by 1558 the armed personnel of the castle were reduced to 137, and by 1565-70 to 125. By the 1630s, the staff had been reduced to 35. The head and governor of the whole district is the Begon of Simontornya. Ranking immediately followed the begler's leg in Buda. We also know the names of several Begs: Ahmed in 1557, Iskender in 1565, and Omar in 1588. Ascended from the slave line, Ahmed Szejdi was a beggar from Simontornya around 1650, who became a pasha in Buda in 1660, but was killed in Timisoara for a year. In 1668, Ahmed was notable for issuing a strict decree to the common people in order to maintain pure public morality, religiosity. Although Simontornya did not fall into the main road leading along the Danube, it was close enough to the strongholds of Veszprém and Várpalota, which were in Hungarian hands, at the break of the line between Fehérvár and Pécs, and this required an increased military presence.


Lajos Bádeni recaptured Simontornya on September 27, 1686 (September 26, according to some sources). 300 Turkish prisoners of war were dropped, 35 gunpowder gunpowder and 1,200 grenades were looted. The command left 200 soldiers here and they also sent reinforcements from Veszprém. According to descriptions, the castle of Simontornya fell practically intact into the hands of the ruler of the Earl of Baden. The castle was taken over by the military council, and in addition to the guard placed here, the people of the area also performed military service.

During the seven years of the Rákóczi War of Independence, the castle changed hands several times. In the autumn of 1704, Heister occupied the castle with an Austrian general siege, which was then recaptured by János Bottyán (November 11, 1705). Until 1709, the castle was a kuruc base. He was kept in a "demléc" under the gate tower until the traitor Bezerédit was executed. The fortress, which withstood several serious sieges, loses its significance after the fall of Rákóczi's war of independence. After the War of Independence, the castle started to be destroyed, it lost its military significance, it was also used as a warehouse and a residential building.

Its heyday can be dated to the first decade of the 16th century. It was then that the chunky old tower was erected from brick, next to it the new gate tower, but the palace wings also received a Renaissance façade, adorned with a puppet railing. It was planned to be blown up in the early 18th century, but was left intact at the request of the Habsburg-loyal Styrum-Lymburg family. The castle was also inhabited by two counts of Styrum, as no other habitable house was available to them at that time but after the construction of the new castle, converted into a granary, it is used only for economic purposes.

In the 1930s, the castle became a tannery warehouse. The restoration of the castle began in 1960 in parallel with the archaeological excavations. It is surrounded by the remains of demolished external protective walls, which were supplemented in some places by smaller masonry during the restoration. The additions are distinguished everywhere by the different, thin red brick masonry. On the corner next to the staircase, the original shape of the defensive walls was reconstructed in a short section from the remains found with the partisan abyss. Of the former buildings of the castle, on the south side, the block of the gate tower, old tower and staircase, and on the east side, the former palace wing has been restored to this day. A modern fortification building was built over the remains of the completely destroyed north wing. The image of the north façade today shows only the huge consoles of the former upstairs enclosed balcony, which were found crashing into the moat and restored to their original location. We reach the castle courtyard through the ground floor guard room of the gate tower, the vault of which is decorated with terracotta shoulder brackets. The simple fireplace in the guardroom was reconstructed from the fragments found. On the east side of the courtyard rises a section of the loggia that once ran its entire length, which is also the result of restoration. This detail not only testifies to the former high architectural standard of the castle, but also gives a picture of the completely destroyed arcaded facades that decorated Mátyás' palace in Buda, the castles of Siklós and Esztergom. A permanent exhibition in the halls of the palace wing presents the history of the castle. Remains of the former knight's hall can be seen in the defensive building of the north wing. Here is an exhibition illustrating the stone storehouse and the process of restoration. The upstairs room of the gate tower preserves the most beautiful fireplace of the castle, which is unique in today's Hungary. Such fireplaces of Tuscan origin stood in the royal palaces of Buda and Nyék and in several other aristocratic castles. The room on the first floor of the palace wing was divided into three separate parts during the Renaissance, but today it is the only large room illuminated by cross windows. Around the middle of the room we can see one of the Gothic twin windows, excavated and restored on a medieval level, a little lower. The stone benches on both sides have also survived. The permanent exhibition "Noble Ancient Galleries in Tolna County" was located here. Most of the fine art collection owned by the county museum is the noble, commoner family galleries, 18 -19. century portraits. The earliest dated image is a representation of Antal Jeszenszky from 1746. The portrait of the former owner of the castle, Count Károly Styrum-Lymburg, from the end of the 18th century is not only significant from the point of view of art history. In addition to the portraits, some of the collection's paintings on other themes, mainly from the 19th century, are also on display. The second-floor room of the old tower is also decorated with a restored fireplace, whose late Gothic-style frame stones were dismantled in the 18th century and used as masonry material to transform the south window of the hall into a porthole. The third floor of the old tower was built on the occasion of the 18th century fortifications, originally with a flat roof and partisan design similar to the towers of the castles of Gyula and Nagyvázsony.


Nowadays, temporary or permanent exhibitions are organized, and in its surroundings, games that are very successful in the summer and are now famous all over the country are held.

Unfortunately, the castle was not included in the National Castle and National Castle Program, although its renovation and preservation would be important for posterity, as it is one of the best preserved Renaissance castles in Hungary today.