Szigetvár (German: Großsiget, Inselburg, Croatian: Siget, Turkish: Zigetvar) is a town in Baranya County, the center of the Szigetvár district.



The settlement of South Transdanubia is located in the western part of Baranya county, on the southern edge of South Zselic, which belongs to the Tolna – Baranya hills, bordering the Drava plain. The city is bisected by the Almás stream, which often flooded before its regulation and turned the area into a swampy floodplain.

The city can be approached by road from Barcs and the capital on the main road 6, from the direction of Balatonszemes-Kaposvár on the main road 67; It is connected to Kadarkút by road 6607. It is located 31 km from Barcs and the Croatian state border, 35 km from Pécs and 40 km from Kaposvár. It is affected by the Gyékényes – Pécs railway line, to which the Kaposvár – Szigetvár railway line joined the Szigetvár railway station until its closure in 1977.



Szigetvár in the Middle Ages
The settlement and its surroundings have been inhabited since prehistoric times, as evidenced by the Neolithic and Bronze Age archeological finds (stone axes, mesh weights, fibulas) found here. After Celtic, Roman and then Avar rule, the area fell into the hands of the conquering Hungarians.

As a landlord's estate, Zygeth first appears in the springs in 1391 in the form, its first protected building was built on an island-like strip of land protruding from the swampy floodplain of the Almás stream. The very first archaeologically verifiable structure of the castle, which plays the role of the manorial center, the so-called the construction of the round tower, the inner core of the later 16th-century castle in the first half of the 15th century, can be traced back to the name of the possessive island Antimus Osvát (Osvald). The early fortress, consisting of a three-storey residential tower and its later extensions, as a castrum in 1449, the previously fortified settlement on the other island of the Almás brook, surrounded by a rampart, first appears in writing in 1463. The text of a marble plaque made in 1939 at the southern gate crossing also commemorates the castle's founding landlord, Osvald.

The castle and the town became the property of the Turkish family of Enying in 1473. The most famous member of this family, Bálint Török, completed the construction of the castle and the settlement into a real fortress in the 1530s. In doing so, it expanded the inner castle with a large outer part of the castle fortified with Italian bastions at the corners, surrounded by a system of ditches filled with the water of the Almás stream, through which drawbridges provided a connection between the outer and inner castle and the city. Bálint Török's fortified island estate was significant not only as a military base, but also as an intellectual base in the endlands: Sebestyén Tinódi Lantos, the Hungarian creator of the historical singing genre, lived and composed here until 1542, but the house of the first Hungarian poet Pál Istvánffy poet, and his son, Miklós Istvánffy, was a humanist historian.

The age of castle wars and conquest
After the castle lord was captured by the Turks, with the fall of Buda, then Pécs and Siklós, the fortress, which gained special strategic importance, became the property of Ferdinand I of Habsburg in 1543 as a royal estate. The Ottoman armies advancing in Transdanubia managed to occupy all the surrounding border forts in the years 1540-1550, so Sziget was completely left alone. After the Turkish attack repulsed by László Kerecsényi in 1554, the first, really serious siege of the fortress took place in the summer of 1556. The then captain in charge of the defense, Márk Horváth Stancsics, despite the extraordinary efforts, managed to keep the castle against the multiple overpowering army led by Pasha Ali from Buda. The castle, damaged during the siege, was rebuilt under the leadership of the captain and with the involvement of the Italian military engineer Pietro Ferrabosco, using the most modern military techniques, as a result of which by the end of the 1550s it became Hungary's most modern and strongest border castle. Protected by a rampart, corner bastions and moats, occupied by the Turks and severely damaged during the siege, the construction of the new town began after 1556.


After the death of Márk Horváth, in 1561 Miklós Zrínyi became the castle captain. He was tasked with maintaining the last important southern border fortress, still in imperial hands, endangering the safety of the military and trade route between Buda and Nándorfehérvár. After a few years of silence, the battle of Szigetvár took place in the late summer of 1566, which finally led to the abandonment of Southern Transdanubia, surpassing all its significance and leaving a really deep trace in Hungarian historical memory, ending in defeat despite the heroic perseverance of the defenders. Sultan Suleiman I besieged the castle of Szigetvár with an army of fifty thousand regular forces, which Zrínyi defended with about 2,500 soldiers, resisting Turkish superiority for 34 days. On September 7, 1566, when the inner castle was already on fire, Zrínyi and his 300 combatants still tried to erupt (“Zrínyi’s outburst”), but all of them died a heroic death at the castle gate. During the siege, the medieval round tower was also destroyed. Immediately after the occupation of the castle, the Turks began to rebuild the fortress and the settlement. The castle itself was fortified with brick and stone walls, as a result of which, apart from the later minor alterations and expansions after the liberation, the fortress in its present form was formed. A number of public buildings have been erected in the city, several of which are highly regarded Ottoman Turkish architectural works, including the mosque of Sultan Suleiman and Pasha Ali, as well as the so-called Turkish house, to a greater or lesser extent, has survived to this day. Szigetvár played a prominent military-administrative role during the occupation. It was first the center of the Sandzak, which was subordinated to the Buda and then the Kanizsa vilajet, but for a short time, between 1594 and 1596, it itself became the seat of Beglerbég (Szigetvár vilajet).

As a result of the campaigns following the liberation of Buda in 1686, the southern part of Transdanubia was almost completely regained by the emperors, only - similarly to the period before the fall of the castle in 1566 - Sziget still held itself, this time in the hands of the Turks, in the enemy's ring. The isolation or starvation of the garrison forced the Turks to hand over the castle and town without fighting in February 1689, which thus returned to the hands of the Habsburgs intact, with the exception of a new town depopulated for lack of defense.

Csaba Ujkéry's historical novels The Shields and Handzsár in the Mirror by Csaba Ujkéry provide interesting and valuable literary additions to the historical events and everyday life of the period of the defensive battles and the last days of local Turkish rule.

The history of the settlement from the recapture of the castle to the present day
Like some strategically located Transdanubian castles, the island fortress, while retaining its military role, remained of paramount importance to the Habsburg government during the liberation struggles that lasted until the end of the 18th century, with military troops stationed within its walls for another hundred years. Simultaneously with the construction of the garrison buildings, under the direction of military engineer Matthias Kayserfeld, they began repairing and strengthening the castle's fortifications as early as the 17th century, which greatly helped Captain Huyn keep the Island Castle twice attacked by the Kurucs. However, the military function of the castle became increasingly insignificant by the 1780s, so II. During the reign of Joseph (1780–1790), the Council of War sold the castle to Lajos Tolnai Festetics, who acquired the ownership of the town from Ádám Szily in 1769. The first private owner drained the formerly important protective lake created by the damming of the Almás stream, as a result of which the castle lost its character as a classic island fortress by the end of the century, and the 19th-20th century after the Festetics family. During the 16th century, it served only as the economic center of the landlord's estates. A II. The utilization of the castle, which was nationalized after World War II, began for tourism purposes in the second half of the 1950s.

Although the fortress has preserved the 16th-17th centuries to this day. In the course of its modern history, it was expanded with a few new elements in terms of its architectural details. Among the alterations and additions of the 18th century, you can still see the basket-arched, stone-framed gate that opens near the south-eastern bastion, which serves as the current main entrance to the castle, and the baroque clock tower rising in the middle of the southern wall section. The gates open in the north and east castle walls also date from the 1700s, as does the row of northern dungeons leaning against the inner wall surface of the fort. In the area of ​​the former outer castle is the newest annex, built in the 20th century, the castle was built in the early 1930s by the last landowner of the village, Count Mihály Andrássy.


In the peace period following the Rákóczi War of Independence, the imperial army, still stationed here, had a beneficial effect on the city's economic life due to its orders and purchasing power, and new signs of cultural and economic recovery emerged in the wake of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.

The village was connected thanks to the Pécs-Barcs railway line, which was put into operation in May 1868 and later connected to the capital, and later to Gyékényes via Rijeka, and the Kaposvár-Szigetvár railway, which was connected to Somogy county until the administrative reorganization in 1950. into the national transport network, which paved the way for major industrial investments. The first larger plant, the Fehér steam mill, started operating in 1881, and a few years later, in 1884, production began at the first plant of the local shoe industry with a significant history, the Szigetvár Shoe Factory. Canning, which is also traditional, began in 1937.

The activation of association life and the proliferation of community institutions can also be done at this age. The renowned local patriot, Gyula Salamon and his grandson, Béla Salamon, Rezső Biedermann Turonyi and his wife, Elza Bleichröder, Ignác Höbling, Ferenc Koharits, György Vermes were formed as Firefighters Association, the Miklós Zrínyi Museum Association, the Szigetvár Castle Friends' Circle, the civic boys' and girls' schools, and the Szigetvár Public Hospital during the 1880s and 1890s.

In the life of Szigetvár, which has belonged to Baranya County since 1950, the II. The most important event of the post-World War II period was certainly the declaration of the village in 1966 on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the heroic castle battle, which was accompanied by significant settlement and economic development.

The commemoration of the event, which has a prominent role in Hungarian historical consciousness, and the memory of the self-sacrificing struggle in the defense of the homeland, took place in 2011, when the Parliament passed the law “Civitas Invicta” - the title of the Most Heroic City to Szigetvár.