Introduction 

Feri Gradnik's journal in form of an online presentation of castles and courts that was written during his summer holiday trip includes diary notes, comments, photographs and clever remarks that will help you relieve his journey and get to know his destinations. Feri is a history professor and he loves history more than anything else in the world (obviously!), even his red cabrio, which he inherited from his uncle (that information, however, is irrelevant) comes after history, followed by seven-a-side (he believes running across a large field is simply a waste of his precious time), the thought of becoming a vegetarian and ghost stories he has been so crazy about ever since he was a child, but he does not like scary stories, he rather listens to those melancholic ones. All these listed preferences are next on his list, but not necessarily in the stated order. He is slightly clumsy around women, which he so dearly loves. He is tall, well rounded and has just the right proportion of muscle weight. His colleagues at work can't really decide, who he resembles more, Clark Kent or Brad Pitt. Feri loves to travel, for he believes that every trip is also an inner journey that will bring you closer to your true self.

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He decides to combine all of his passions and then starts his cabrio and drives to the chosen castles and courts to find answers to his questions regarding the existence and nature of ghost and spirits that dwell behind these thick walls, which in some parts appear chipped and in some parts freshly renovated. He is writing his journal and adding notes about local food and wines; he is also thinking about renting a bike and enjoying the nearby biking and hiking trails. He is satisfied to hear all these stories, but he still stays focused on the historic details. As he reaches the end of his journey, he determines that these castles and courts really do hide ghosts, the ghosts of the past, which once we get to know them, can turn into amazing guides through our current life and perfect indicators that will point us in the right direction, towards our future.

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The castle is not open for visitors.

The Križevci municipality
TIC Ljutomer

Jureša Cirila 4, 9240 Ljutomer
T: +386 (0)2 584 83 33
E: ticljutomer@jeruzalem.si
I: www.jeruzalem.si

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The Lukavci Mansion

The Lukavci Mansion

It is Saturday again and it is time for Professor Feri Gradnik to visit another mansion, which he will later describe in his monograph. He does not talk about these things out loud, but he is kind of superstitious and he likes to imagine that when a person runs out of ideas he has to wait for a sign and then figure out how to proceed. He takes a sip of his refreshing lemonade and looks out the window to enjoy the spectacular view of the swampy meadow and various birds exchanging latest news. A grey heron flies by and before it lowers its beak to search for food the professor remembers the Lukavci mansion. His red cabriolet loves the plain fields and he loves the Prlekian sound ü, so he is very excited about visiting the municipality Križevci, on Mursko polje (Mursko field). The road Ljutomer–Sveti Jurij brings him to the Lukavci settlement, where he stops in the north part of Lukavci right in front of the Lukavci mansion.

In Otokar's land register from 1265-1267 (i.e. the time of the Czech King Otokar II Přemysl) this place is mentioned as Villa Lukauz.

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The Lukavci Mansion

The origins of the castle date back to the 13th century, when it was still a shooting court; around 1290 there were already two shooting courts on this location. The Lukavci nobility (Lukaufzen) was originally a shooting court owned by the Payer knight family in the 13th century. The nights from Lukavci, who were the owners of the dominions up to the middle of the 15th century came from here as well: in 1290 Herrand Payer and in 1319 Henrik Payer zu Locauz. In 1422 Hans von Lokaucz, a builder from Ljutomer became owner of this castle. He left the court with 27 unsubservient houses with land and 17.5 farms to his son Gašper. Between 1440 and 1443 the court and nine farms were in possession of the Wolfgang and Ahac brothers; a part of the property was in Paul Fleming’s ownership. The property owner in 1449 was Jörg-Jurij Schweinbeck. When the knights from Lukavci became extinct, emperor Frederick gave their feudal estate to Vital Dorner, and in 1492 to Jörg Vivšnik (Weissenegg); his heirs owned it until 1568. It is not clear whether the mansion was included in this feud, because in 1542 the major part of Lukavci was in the property of Schweinbeck's heirs.

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The Lukavci Mansion

In 1648 their successor Count Gašper Draškovič sold six farms and a half to the countess Siguna Khevenhüller with the pomerium and the privilege for granting a tithe, but in 1632 the Lukvaci court was in the hands of Jurij Stübich from Špilj (Spielfeld). Between 1730 and 1791 the court owner was count Katzanier from Špilj; he posessed the dominion and seven villages with 62 commoners, including the Veržej square. The court’s later owners were Baron Fleury, Kührer of Reichsheim, the Csemösz family up until 1806 and finally madam Josephine Petkovič, born as Csemösz. In 1807 major Franz Schenkl bought for an office with 109 commoners and left it to his son August in 1838; his heirs remained its owners until the last war.

The professor does not enter the mansion, which since 1952 serves as a special social-welfare institute. He carefully makes notes on its external appearance only.

The one-storey building with a square ground plan and a new extension is divided with small diagonally rectangular towers at its corners. The main three-axial facade is pointed out in the portal axis with a bit higher entrance in form of a small tower with a pyramid roof on the top.

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The Lukavci Mansion

The one-storey building with a square ground plan and a new extension is divided with small diagonally rectangular towers at its corners. The main three-axial facade is pointed out in the portal axis with a bit higher entrance in form of a small tower with a pyramid roof on the top. The small tower on the east side is divided with semicircular gaps. The stony entrance portal originates from the time of the early beginnings of the mansion. The Early-Baroque semicircular portal is decorated with shaped capitals and volute keystone. Other gaps on the frontage were rebuilt, excluding the window trimming. Some of the Baroque window nets have been preserved. The frontage is covered with an inadequate isolation facing and the decking is made of bricks. Inside there are still some archways, particularly in the basement and in the ground floor lobby. Before the mansion was rebuild in the 19th century it showed characteristics of the 18th century, so it was probably rebuilt by the Katzianerj nobles on the exact same location, where the old mansion once stood.

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The Lukavci Mansion

During the peasant uprisings in 1848 the mansion was attacked by the nearby farmers, who were later banished by the military. The Schenks, who owned the mansion at the time restored it in Classicistic style. The mansion was also the seat of the district Lords of fifteen municipalities.

When professor Feri Gradnik left Lukavci and was driving towards the lake, he wished he had a surfboard in his trunk or at least that he had seen the heron that found a place under his window this morning and is also present on the Lukavci coat of arms. Only that in the coat of arms the silver heron, holding a golden snake in its beak is surrounded by a blue field covered with grapevines.

References:

Gradovi.net. Pregled slovenskih gradov, graščin in dvorcev. Accessed on: February 15, 2014. Accessible at: http://www.gradovi.net/grad/lukavci_dvor

Online search in the archive database. Accessed on: February 15, 2014. Accessible at: http://www.siranet.si/detail.aspx?ID=43672

Stopar, I. (1991). Grajske stavbe v vzhodni Sloveniji - Med Prekmurjem in porečjem Dravinje. Ljubljana: Založba Park.

Stopar, I. (1991). Gradovi na Slovenskem. Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba.

The Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 97/2011 dated December 2, 2011. Ordinance designating the immobile cultural monuments in the Križevci municipality. Accessed on: February 15, 2014. Accessible at: http://www.uradnilist.si/1/content?id=106143

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The Lukavci Mansion
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The Lukavci Mansion
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The Lukavci Mansion

The Ljutomerski ribniki Landscape Park - Jeruzalemske gorice: The Jeruzalem Wine Road winds through the most famous wine-growing part of Prlekija and leaves no one indifferent.
 
The Pristava Farmhouse Museum tells the story of Pristava and six generations of the Pavličič family through a farmhouse kitchen equipped with numerous items, a farm room and a barn.

The town of Ljutomer with its squares - Miklošič square, Old square and Main square with the Town Hall and the Ljutomer Museum
The settlement was first mentioned back in 1242 under the name “Lotmerk” and became market town in 1265. It’s known for the first Slovenian camp (1868), the first Slovenian harness races (1874), the first Slovenian film recordings made by dr. Karol Grossmann (1905), the first department store in the former Yugoslavia and excellent wine.

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The Lukavci Mansion

The Žuman Pottery in Ljutomer
The pottery tradition of the Žuman family has been passed on to the fifth generation, preserving and carrying on the pottery heritage.

Park of the 1st Slovenian camp 
The town park of Ljutomer is the remainder of the former extensive oak-beech forests along the Ščavnica river. The first Slovenian camp took place here, starting the movement for unification of all Slovenes.

The Ljutomer Trotter Museum and Hippodrome
The Harness Racing Association of Ljutomer was founded in 1875 and was the second European association of its sort. Even today, Ljutomer still hosts a number of important harness races.

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The Lukavci Mansion

 

The castle is a private property and is closed for visitors.

TIC Gornja Radgona
Kerenčičeva 16, 9250 Gornja Radgona
T: +386 (0)2 564 82 40
E: info@tic-radgona.si
I: www.tic-radgona.si

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The Črnci Mansion

The Črnci Mansion

A good day starts with a good coffee. Professor Feri Gradnik drinks his coffee black, hot and with a pinch of organic cinnamon. He stayed up late last night to write his monograph, so today he is going to award himself with a trip to one of the mansions from his list. Which mansion makes a person think about coffee? Well, the one that is going to be his next destination.

The Freudenau Črnci mansion or the Meinlov castle, as people still call it even though it is only a mansion, was built in Baroque style and is located in the Črnci village. It was first mentioned in historical sources from 1124. Its main frontage is turned towards the road Gornja Radgona–Trate–Cmurek.

The professor stares into this one-storey building with a stony, classical portal and a balcony above it and wants to enter the column-like lobby on the ground floor with the marble fireplace, but this entry is reserved only for the invited.

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The Črnci Mansion

Maybe one day, when it will be renovated, he stays optimistic. His imagination is his faithful companion that helps him see the story of the castle in his head.

The original court was replaced by the renaissance manor house in the 16th or 17th century. Its rectangular building was surrounded with the wall and its corners were complemented with small towers. Today’s Baroque mansion probably got its shape in the 17th century. The central manor building was rebuilt in the beginning of the 17th century, when the outbuilding was renovated and the castle chapel was built. Since it was first mentioned in 1124, the mansion has changed several owners and names. A document from 30 March 1124 reveals that Bernhard Spanheim donated the manor house Črnci – stabulariam curtim Scirmdorf – to the St. Paul monastery a long time ago. On the spot where the Freudenau mansion stands today used to be a 13th century shooting court that served as a defense against the conquerors. This is also recorded in the Otokar's land register (1265-1267).

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The Črnci Mansion

The sketch on the Vischer's map of Styria from 1678 proves that this is a Renaissance manor house, which was the first one in Slovenia with the type of design that is settled in one axis. In 1635 Isabela of Trautmannsdorf from Negova sold the manor house to Count Louis Schwarzenberg. In 1642 its owner was George B. Khiessl, and the mansion was passed on to his heirs. Other known owners were: Count George Kr. Stürgkh (1738); Count Kajetan, Count Wildenstein (1792), who rebuilt the building; Countess Josephine Khevenhüller (1794); Count Vincent Szpary (1802); Count Vajkard Trautmannsdorf (1806), Count Carl Stürgkh (1818), Baron Egidij of Taxis (1825), Countess Kunigunda Rosenberg (1827), her daughter Countess of Kunigunda Platz (1843), Count Henry Des Enffans d Avernas (1877) and Pfandl (1885). The land register at the court in Gornja Radgona proves that the property including the mansion was passed on to the Viennese coffee merchant and owner of the coffee roasting mill Julius Meinl on October 2, 1909. When he bought the mansion, he was one of the biggest coffee makers and coffee and tea importers in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. At that time there was a tennis court in the park. People likes Meinl among because of his distinct social touch.

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The Črnci Mansion

At the time of the occupation the mansion and the rest of Meinl's properties have been nationalized. Meinl and his wife, who was Jewish, left the property and moved to Maribor and later to Austria. The land register also shows that after World War II the Yugoslav authorities seized the property with all the real estates and used them for agricultural purposes and the needs of the agricultural combines. Today this mansion is a private property.

Even though he prefers coffee, cold water sounded much better in this hot weather. Secretly he looks over his shoulder and wins his path to the park. He finds the deepest shadow and paints pictures of the old park that was still alive and in vegetation.

The two-parted French park behind the mansion is considered to be one of the earliest Baroque creations here in Slovenia. There were well formed putlogs in the long park, the middle one, which was the widest, led through the wall portal into the orchard and then continued its path to the Mura river.

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The Črnci Mansion

The park and the chapel at the north part of the property were both reorganized by count Szapary in the beginning of the 19th century. The Hölzl mill in the middle of the field right next to the old long canal with seven mills still conjures some ancient romanticism.

He regrets he could not enter the mansion, which was primary the Baroque and later renovated manor house and represents an example of Classicistic architecture. One of the peculiarities of the mansion is a round roman relief from the 2nd century, which can be found in the lobby of the northern entrance and represents two spouses. The professor still has not found his soul mate, but to find love you first must seek for it.

References:

Kam na izlet? Accessed on: February 15, 2014. Accessible at: http://www.kamnaizlet.si/destinacije/grad-crnci

Slovenija v malem, sredi pa Meinlov grad (March 25, 2014). Delo. Accessed on: February 15, 2014. Accessible at: http://www.delo.si/druzba/panorama/slovenija-v-malem-sredi-pa-meinlov-grad.html

Stopar, I. (1991). Grajske stavbe v vzhodni Sloveniji – Med Prekmurjem in porečjem Dravinje. Ljubljana: Založba Park.

Stopar, I. (1991). Gradovi na Slovenskem. Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba.

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The Črnci Mansion
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The Črnci Mansion
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The Črnci Mansion

The Negova Castle
It's believed to have been developed from an 11th or 12th century wooden shooting manor that was located here. Today the castle is considered a cultural monument.

The Pachamama Center
It offers countless mosaics, all sorts of ecological construction items, gardening in a thousand and one way, manufacturing of wooden products, an arts gallery, a natural cosmetics gallery and much more.

The Špital Museum is located in a renovated building of the former bourgeois Spital. It exposes archaeological, ethnological, artistic and other cultural and historical objects, documents and testimonies originating from the western (Styria) part of Pomurje or being related to their history and history of the people, who inhabited it from prehistoric time to the present day.

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The Črnci Mansion

The bottle cellar under the waterfall
Since 1852 it has been used for producing the Radgona Gold with the traditional and Champagne method and the Radgona Silver sparkling wine that is produced with the tank and Charmat method.

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The Črnci Mansion

 

Permanent exhibition
at the Beltinci Castle
Mon. – Fri. from
8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 

ITC Beltinci
Mon. – Fri. from
8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Institute for Tourism and Culture Beltinci
Mladinska ulica 2, 9231 Beltinci
T: +386 (0)2 541 35 80
E: ztk@beltinci.si, beltinci.info@siol.net
I: www.beltinci.net

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The Beltinci Castle

The Beltinci Castle

How is it possible to catch a cold in the middle of the summer? Feri Gradnik sips some chamomile tea and feels a little sorry for himself. While outside another beautiful day is being born, he realizes that this Saturday is just perfect for visiting the castle with the Health Collection museum. His curiosity is intensifying as the historical data of the building, where the base surface is L-shaped, are scarce and not systematically collected.

The castle in Beltinci was believed to exist since the Middle Ages, originating from the 15th or the 14th century. Beltinci is a place with a long, varied and rich history. In the Middle Ages (1322) and later in 1379 and 1381 the village was mentioned as Beletfalua, while in a document from 1389 is it was named villa Belothfalua. Beltinci, as a land estate, already belonged to the Old, 13th century Slovenian Jura family, who in 1265 or 1267 were succeeded by the mighty Hahold, Bánffy and Banič families from Dolnja Lendava and later continued their line in the Nádasdy, Széchenyi Ebergényi, Csaky, Gyika, Son and Wimpffen families.

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The Beltinci Castle

The Zichy family owned the mansion before WWII. The mansion was most likely built up after the Turkish invasions (17th century). The Hungarian peasant kuruc rebels, who plundered, murdered, burned from the 16th to 18th century all over the Hapsburg monarchy damaged the mansion in 1708. The single-storey, originally four-tract brick building (today the southern and western parts of the tracts are missing) was surrounded by walls with four towers and a defense ditch filled with water from the Črnec brook. The Baroque images in the mansion have not been blurred by the historicist grave goods. Until the collapse of the southern and the western part of the tract, the mansion maintained its typical concluded Renaissance castle design. In the middle of the 17th century the outer corners were probably built by four round, small, roof covered towers (three of which are still standing), which indicates a special design will and taste of the late Baroque period. The central eastern frontage had thirteen axles and was divided by a typical rustic design portal in the middle, which was supplemented by a shooting loophole on each side. The barrel-vaulted hallway leads to the Castle courtyard, the tracts of which were later built with arcades resting on supportive columns.

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The Beltinci Castle

The arcades on the ground floor were open and walled up on the upper floors, while the arcade hallways were cross-vaulted on all floors, including the ground floor. The walled up underground passages represent another attraction of this castle. One passage connects the castle with the church and the other one the castle granary with the iron entrance door from 1754.

The professor takes a break in the park planted with several splendid exotics. He has already taken some notes and plans to visit the museum collection on the history of health care in Pomurje. You never know, what useful information you can retrieve from history. He might even find an old prescription on how to finish off a virus fiend as naturally as possible.

The collection, which is managed by the Institute for Tourism and Culture Beltinci was formed throughout the years as a private collection of items connected to health care and pharmacy that belonged to dr. Nikolaj Szepessy.

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The Beltinci Castle

The collection presents pharmacy cabinets from the pharmacy in Murska Sobota with furniture from the turn of the 20th century, including pharmacy containers from porcelain, wood and glass, which were brought here from different pharmacies in Pomurje. On the sales counter “recipe table” there is a brass scale, accompanied by a pharmacy cashier, pharmacy mortars, written documents, gas lamp and a clock. The collection also includes a laboratory with the instrumentarium. In the niche, there is a cabinet and a table for herbs processing with an old shredder for herbs, old scales and containers for mixing and storing teas and seeds. In the castle tower you can see a pharmacy basement with and old shelf from the Beltinci pharmacy, which contains bottles for storage and transportation. An antitrachoma clinic is also presented here. The exhibited instruments and fine grade equipment originate mostly from the legacy of Dr. Pečan, several instruments were also taken from the General Hospital - ophthalmic department in Murska Sobota. Documents and photos were taken from the archives of the ophthalmic department of the General Hospital in Murska Sobota, and from the Provincial Museum in Murska Sobota.

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The Beltinci Castle

In the rest of the rooms you can see the development of general medicine, especially in those places, where most studies have been conducted. In this way the work of the doctors, the father and the son, Dr. Joseph and Feliks Lebar from Križevci pri Ljutomeru, could be presented. Some equipment is from the legacy of Dr. Kavkler and Dr. Škrilec from Ljutomer and Murska Sobota. The glass cabinet with a pair of quack pliers for teeth extraction is also very interesting.

The professor is looking at the exhibited objects and gets a sting while looking at the pliers for teeth extraction. He concludes the tour in the wedding hall, where cultural events, meetings and occasional exhibitions take place. Today he doesn’t enjoy the company of other people, however, he rewards himself for the new chapter of his book about the castles and mansions with “dödöli”, a potato mush, which in Prekmurje also known as “krumplovi žganiki” or “krumpšovi žganiki”.

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The Beltinci Castle

In a nearby pub, he gets this old traditional dish dressed abundantly with sour cream. And he doesn’t even mind that it’s 30 degrees outside. Good food is always enjoyed equally good. Usually he is not an eavesdropper and does not care about the chit-chats at the neighboring tables, but a woman's voice coming from behind his back talks with such passion about an unfulfilled love story between two already departed lovers that he didn’t even feel for doing it:

The last owner of the Beltinci castle and its property was count Auguštin Zichy. Because there were always a lot of guests in his castle, he ordered to build baths on the sandy island in Ižakovci by the Mura river, more precisely at the end of the Mura meander. The locals called it "grofovska koupanca". The baths were nicely tidied, had shady roofs, an open kitchen and dressing cabins. The stairs from the riverbank led directly to the sandy shallows.

Shortly after the end of World War I the Countess Marija Iphigenia returned to Beltinci to put the estate in order, which was pretty much destroyed during the war. Her sister Anastasia got married and moved to Hungary, her sister Fedora died, but the countess stayed in Vienna.

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The Beltinci Castle

Miraculously the count’s baths and its surroundings remained intact. Marija Ifigenija was considered mature for those times (36), but the traces of her former beauty were still visible. She often rode mare Nadina over the estate and its surrounding area. The baths were nevertheless organized, but no one used them; nobody visited the castle in those restless times.

It was early in the summertime when the countess rode towards the baths. Suddenly she was left speechless. She saw a naked sunlit male figure, glimmering under the water drops. The countess’s first thought was that she is a witness to an apparition. She quietly approached the figure, the mare neighed and the figure turned around and disappeared in the next moment. The countess searched the area in vain, for she couldn’t find the naked man. She thoughtfully rode away, but the naked glimmering male figure couldn’t leave her mind.

She kept comming back until she caught the stranger standing on the sandbank and looking at her shamelessly. He was wearing a bathing suit that reminded her of aprons.

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The Beltinci Castle

The countess was enchanted at the glimpse of the handsome man. He told her his name was Peter Družin that he originated from a rich family, but as a third born child he was as poor as a church mouse. He had just returned from the army, where he was held captive by the Russians.

They started dating and fell passionately in love. Because this area around the count’s baths was more or less solitary, they remained unnoticed.

The countess’s chambermaid, Čačovičova Mariška, was an extremely clever woman. She noticed that the countess is unusually happy, that she often plays the piano and sings. She also noticed the suspicious stains on the countess’s underwear after she returned from her daily rides. She was concerned about the countess’s honor, so she ordered two hunters, foresters Köveš and Czimer, to follow the countess.

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The Beltinci Castle

When they revealed the secret to the countess’s chambermaid, she demanded from the countess to end the love affair, otherwise she will tell her sister Anastasia. The countess rode off to the baths and did as she was requested. Peter left and no one ever saw him again. Those, who heard about the story, claimed he drowned in the Mura River out of grief and others said he went overseas, where he died in a battle. The countess made a promise to herself to never get married. From that moment on, people started calling this place The island of love.

References:

Stopar, I. (1991). Grajske stavbe v vzhodni Sloveniji - Med Prekmurjem in porečjem Dravinje. Ljubljana: Založba Park.

ZTK Beltinci. Accessed on: February 14, 2014. Accessible at: http://www.beltinci.net/Grad_Beltinci,594,0.html

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The Beltinci Castle
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The Beltinci Castle
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The Beltinci Castle

Love Island
The Institute for Tourism and Culture Beltinci organizes different activities for hikers, tourists and other visitors of the Love Island.
 
The Museum of “Büjraštvo” exhibits objects and tools used by büjraši (dam workers).
 
The Mill and Ferry on the Mura River
The mill in Ižakovci was built in 1999 by the original blueprint, which had been used for one of the former mills on the Mura river. The ferries in Ižakovci and Melinci are the two of a total of three ferries that are still operating on the Mura river in Slovenia.
 

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The Beltinci Castle

The St. Ladislav Parish Church
One of the main attractions of the municipality is the Neo-Baroque church of St. Ladislav from 1742 with the family tomb of the Zichy counts.
 
The International Folkore Festival in Beltinci is held on the last weekend in July by the Art & Cultural Society of Beltinci. During the four-day festival performances of many folklore dance groups, folk musicians and folk singers from home and abroad take place.

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The Beltinci Castle


CLOSED:
Reservations for
pre-announced groups
Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

OPEN:
Apr. - Sept.:
10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Mar., Oct. and Nov.:
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

The Goričko Regional Park Information Centre
Grad 191, 9264 Grad
T: +386 (0)2 551 88 60
M: +386 (0)31 354 149
E: park.goricko@siol.net
I: www.park-goricko.org

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The Grad Castle

The Grad Castle

Feri Gradnik opens his window widely when the hot and dry, early June air bumps into the cabinet. Professor reluctantly thinks that hot Saturday mornings are not heralds of a quiet day. He leans on the windowsill and with his elbow, he hits the thick monograph “Slovenian castles” so it crackles at first and then drops on the floor, banging loudly. “Sign”, he mumbles, “it must be the sign”. “I must go to the largest Baroque castle in Slovenia.” He mumbles to himself: “ The Grad castle.” On the hot morning he arrives across the soft hills to the road from Kruplivnik to Grad and the first thing he sees is the White cross - plague column from the middle of the 18th century. An unpleasant feeling crosses his mind when he remembers the legend about the two horrible months in the history of this region, when the plague was killing the people between the Mura and Raba rivers. The locals said a rider with a knighted coat and a scythe on his shoulder was coming to get them. Those, who dared to leave their homes, dressed in canvas soaked in spirits or vinegar, for they believed this would chase away the rider.

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The Grad Castle

In the norheastern part of the Goričko region, in the Grad settlement (Grad means castle in Slovenian language), on a steep hill from basaltic tuff stands the Grad castle. In the past this territory belonged to Hungary. The estate around the castle was joined by Bela III, when in 1183 he donated it to the Cistercian monastery in Monošter (Szentgotthárd), which is today considered to be the center of the Slovenian minority in the Raba region. The archaeological excavations are a proof of the castle’s existence in the 11th century. Supposedly the castle was built on the estate in 1275, while the estate itself was mentioned in written sources as Lyndwa in 1208. The castle had different names: Fullyndua, superiori Lyndva, Felselindw etc. The legend has it that the castle was built by the members of the most famous European military and Christian ecclesiastical order, the Knights Templars. Today’s perimeter was acquired in the 16th and 17th century, while it was completed and renovated in the 18th and 19th century.

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The Grad Castle

In one of the castle towers, which were built in the middle of the 16th century, the castle chapel was finished by the bell tower (renovated in 2001); this was also the final act of baroquization of the castle building.

The ownership of the castle was passed on to different owners: King Andrew II donated the estate to count Nikolaj Amadejec from Železno (Iron region), who called himself the Slavonian ban, then after 1275 the estate was passed on to the Amade family. Between 1365 and 1685 or from 1333 to 1684 the Szechy family presided and propagated Protestantism in the 16th century for more than three hundred years. The dominion land register with a description of the castle building originates from this period. In 1684 after the Szechy family came the Batthyany family and then the Nádasdy, Szécheny and Szapáry family. Between both World Wars the owner of the castle was Geza Hartner, an industrialist from Murska Sobota, who brought many works of art into the castle. The Russian Red Army that liberated Prekmurje, stayed at the castle in 1945. In their honor and memory a 17-meters tall Monument of victory was built in the Murska Sobota square called Trg zmage (Victory square).

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The Grad Castle

The soldiers exchanged castle furniture and equipment for spirits and other Prekmurian delicacies and almost the entire castle library was used for heating. After the WWII the castle was nationalized in Yugoslavia. Individual offices were placed inside the castle and different families lived in the building during that time.

The professor listens to the attractive guide with great interest, but in his mind he sees the castle with fortified, interconnected walls, externally protected with natural embankment and additional guards. He imagines the visitors, who were observed by the guard’s from the upper tower. The original medieval image of this castle remains a mystery, as well as the assumptions, why there are three floors above the ground and three below, why on the frontage there is no architectural ornamentation whatsoever, what has happened in three semicircular towers and if it is true that the Templars slided through two-storey tracts on the arcade hallway, which was set on a massive brick supporting elements. Who suffered in the deep dungeons and why did the Templars build such a castle in the first place, why on this spot and with 365 rooms remains a secret as well.

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The Grad Castle

He does not believe the guide’s explanation that the castle was made this way so the Lord could sleep in a different room each night. He also wonders if it is true that one of the hidden passages lead to the ossuary in the middle of the woods and the other to the valley where the Lords had their estates or manor houses (marofs). The guide brings him back from the past:

Between 1960 and 1990 the castle was left to decay, just like many other Slovenian mansions and castles. The renovation of the castle started in 1995 and presented the idea of unification of border regions into one protected region in form of a Park of three regions Goričko-Raab-Őrség, which also contributed to the collection of national and European funds. The renovated premises are, since 2003, home to the Nature park Goričko public institution and information center for visitors of the castle and the Goričko-Raab-Őrség park. The Grad castle is a member of the Europarc federation and the European Green Belt, whose goal is to connect people, who appreciate nature, cultural landscape and coexistence of fauna and flora on the edge of their existence. On the ground floor there are premises for craftsman workshops and their activities.

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The Grad Castle

Professor Gradnik gets agitated by this thought: “Workshops? So one could organize science days in the castle?” The guide nods joyfully. Obviously professor Gradnik hasn’t heard about the mysterious energy spots yet.

The Grad castle’s purpose isn’t merely to experience its glorious past, but also to offer a place for relaxation and sensing the highest values of human existence. Visitors can see how the nature and its energies are working, what it means to live by the border and with it, at the intersection of three nations, but predominantly they can feel health by moving their bodies. In handy-craft workshops (wheel wright, blacksmithing, pottery, weaving, herbalism, distilling) the visitors learn about the traditional use of natural resources and their processing by hand. Temporary exhibitions are on display in the Knight’s hall, a projection of the movie about the Goričko Nature Park and other events can be seen on special occasions. Consultations and meetings of domestic and foreign experts take place in the Circular saloon. In the underworld, however, the castle is hiding numerous cellars.

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The Grad Castle

In one of them, it is possible to taste excellent wines, which have been produced and nourished in the Goričko vineyards and cellars, while in the black kitchen and tasting room one can try the local specialties from Goričko tourist farms, if pre-ordered. More information on the castle is available in the information center, where one can also obtain and buy products of craftsmen and tradesmen from Goričko. The most beautiful and renovated room in the Palladium floor serves as a wedding hall.

The guide looks deep into professor’s eyes, when uttering her last sentence, but still mumbles: “What about the legends? Does this castle have any legends?” The guide tells him to follow her.

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The Grad Castle

In the castle yard there are energies boiling from the depths of the Earth, which to most people feel like heat or a burning sensation. There is also a well in the middle of the courtyard, marked with a stone that is pointing out the location, where supposedly once a crown has been hidden.

While he was walking through the large English park, among the great trees of white-wood, sycamore, honey locust, red beech, hornbeam and oak he heard a rustle and felt a tingling sensation. Perhaps it came from this powerful castle energy that boils out of the energy spots, for there is no way it could have felt it because of talkative redhead, who just guided him through the castle. Or could it?

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The Grad Castle

References:

Kovač, K., K. (7th July 2008). Grad: Between legend and reality. Accessed on: February 14, 2014. Accessible at: http://www.rtvslo.si/tureavanture/podobe-slovenije/grad-med-legendo-in-resnicnostjo/201121.

GORIČKO Nature park. Accessed on: February 14, 2014. Accessible at: http://www.parkgoricko.org/sl/informacije.asp?id_informacija=43&id_jezik=0&id_tip1=4&id_tip2=1&id_tip3=2

Stopar, I. (1991). Grajske stavbe v vzhodni Sloveniji - Med Prekmurjem in porečjem Dravinje. Ljubljana: Založba Park.

Stopar, I. (1991). Gradovi na Slovenskem. Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba.

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The Grad Castle
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The Grad Castle

The Nuskova Mineral Spring
The Northeast region of Slovenia hosts many mineral springs. The Nuskova mineral water spring is located near the village of Nuskova.

The Crypt
The hamlet of Kaniža near Grad is home to a neoclassical tomb of the Széchy counts, called the crypt.

Tromejnik
A pyramidal marker at the Slovenia-Austria-Hungary tripoint in the vicinity of Trdkova was set in 1924.

 

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The Grad Castle

Frčkov mlin is a multi-storey brick mill located at Gornji Slaveči 17, containing a roller mechanism and the millstone from the year 1862.

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The Grad Castle

 

The castle is not open for visitors..

The Ljutomer municipality
Vrazova 1, 9240 Ljutomer
T: +386 (0)2 584 90 44
E: obcina.ljutomer@ljutomer.si

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The Ljutomer Castle

The Ljutomer Castle

July is slowly sinking into August and professor Feri Gradnik reminds himself every Saturday morning that time is not his ally. To finish his monograph, he will have to work hard and disciplined until the end of the summer. To start earlier, guilty conscience sits on his right shoulder and blows in his ear. “Earlier, earlier, everything could always be done earlier, when it starts getting late,” the professor frowns. Guilty conscience on the other hand, enjoying in its own shamelessness, squeaks with even greater pleasure: “Earlier (prej), earlier (prle in Prlekija dialect), earlier (prle in Prlekija dialect), earlier (prle in Prlekija dialect) etc.” The Professor thinks to himself: “Since when do I speak the Prlekija dialect?” It’s true that many things happened in Prlekija sooner than elsewhere: for example the first movies were recorded here, the first horse races in Slovenia were organized here and the first self-service store was opened here. And my monograph will contain the heart of Prlekija, Ljutomer or Lotmerk, in the Prlekija dialect.

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The Ljutomer Castle

The castle, which is located above the Podgradje village near Ljutomer, was supposedly built in two floors and consists of two residential tracts. The tower should be leaning on the core. In 1681 Vischer portrayed the castle merely as a residential core with a closed inner courtyard. Around 1200 the Mursko polje field was almost entirely abandoned after the battles against the Hungarians were finished and the colonization period came to an end. Ljutomer became the most important settlement, because it was placed at the contact point of an antique tradition and a favorable location. Ljutomer was first mentioned in 1211 as Lutenwerde, already in 1147 a name of German origin was given to the place. A record about the center of a great estate with 264 farms originated in 1242; the castle was recorded as Luetenberch in 1249. The names of the knights also derive from this period - Chunradus de Lvtenwerde from Hannau at Voitsberg.

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The Ljutomer Castle

The castle is belived to be built by the Archbishops of Salzburg for defense from the Hungarians and was managed by the Knights of Ljutomer. In 1246 Friderik was killed in a battle against the Hungarians, so his clan of Babenbergs was now extinct and Ljutomer was conquered by the Czech King Otokar II Přemysl. In 1276 or 1277, even though it was still managed by the castellans it fell into the hand of the Habsburgs. This is how the Austrian brothers Duke Ernest and Duke Friderik expressed their gratitude to the court Marshall for his fidelity. The Schweinbeck family owned the estate until 1498; the castle became an imperial court once again. The emperor donated it to Jernej Perneški in the same year, so the castle was once again passed on to Schweinbeck’s successors and was managed by various imperial caretakers. In 1542 the dominion owned the inhabitants of the market town and 196 serfs. The estate was more and more fragmented and in the beginning of the 17th century the castle was owned by a Croatian nobleman from Trakoščan, Peter Draškovič.

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The Ljutomer Castle

Between 1686 and 1719 the castle was in possession of the Branek barons known as the Mauerburgs, but they abandoned it, so the castle turned into a ruin in the 18th century. When on 9 August 1868, 7000 people gathered in the first Slovenian camp in Ljutomer, the castle was already ruined for nine years. The camps were at first organized by Mladoslovenci (political party), who gathered around the Slovenski narod newspaper with the purpose to express the support for linguistic equality (German was the official language) and state their demands for unification of all Slovenians – the Unified Slovenia. The noble house was built on the same spot, where the castle ruins were removed from. The built-in year 1860 exemplifies the year of the castle’s construction. Countess Lucia de Codroipo lived in the castle around 1900 and before WWII it was in possession of the Varda family.

Because ordinary people live in the castle building, the professor can’t peek inside, check out its interior or scroll thorough the ruins, so he heads off to the hippodrome. Since the 18th century horse breeding has been an important sector in the area and even the oldest horse sculpture in Slovenia can be found right here in Ljutomer.

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The Ljutomer Castle

The unicorn is also the main figure in Ljutomer’s 15th century coat of arms (silver shield with a racing unicorn). The professor concludes his day with a glass of Ljutomerčan, which was served to him by a comely waitress from Prlekija as a spritzer this means with mineral water, which abundantly babbles under the Pannonian region.

References:

Gradovi v Sloveniji. Accessed on: February 17, 2014. Accessible at: http://www.slosi.info/01gradovi/02podrobnejse/pomurje/l-5/ljutomer.php

Pataky, N. (October 23, 2012). Ljutomer – prestolnica Prlekije Dnevnik. Accessed on: February 17, 2014. Accessible at: http://www.dnevnik.si/magazin/prosti-cas/1042469143

Stopar, I. (1991). Grajske stavbe v vzhodni Sloveniji - Med Prekmurjem in porečjem Dravinje. Ljubljana: Založba Park.

Stopar, I. (1991). Gradovi na Slovenskem. Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba.

Taborsko gibanje na Slovenskem. Ljubljana, Ljutomer, 1981. Accessed on: February 17, 2014. Accessible at: http://sl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taborsko_gibanje

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The Ljutomer Castle
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The Ljutomer Castle
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The Ljutomer Castle

The Ljutomerski ribniki Landscape Park - Jeruzalemske gorice: The Jeruzalem Wine Road winds through the most famous wine-growing part of Prlekija and leaves no one indifferent.
 
The Pristava Farmhouse Museum tells the story of Pristava and six generations of the Pavličič family through a farmhouse kitchen equipped with numerous items, a farm room and a barn.

The town of Ljutomer with its squares - Miklošič square, Old square and Main square with the Town Hall and the Ljutomer Museum
The settlement was first mentioned back in 1242 under the name “Lotmerk” and became market town in 1265. It’s known for the first Slovenian camp (1868), the first Slovenian harness races (1874), the first Slovenian film recordings made by dr. Karol Grossmann (1905), the first department store in the former Yugoslavia and excellent wine.

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The Ljutomer Castle

The Žuman Pottery in Ljutomer
The pottery tradition of the Žuman family has been passed on to the fifth generation, preserving and carrying on the pottery heritage.

Park of the 1st Slovenian camp 
The town park of Ljutomer is the remainder of the former extensive oak-beech forests along the Ščavnica river. The first Slovenian camp took place here, starting the movement for unification of all Slovenes.

The Ljutomer Trotter Museum and Hippodrome
The Harness Racing Association of Ljutomer was founded in 1875 and was the second European association of its sort. Even today, Ljutomer still hosts a number of important harness races.

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The Ljutomer Castle


WINTER
From Nov. till Mar.
Mon.- Fri.:
8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sat.: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sun.: closed

SUMMER
From Apr. till Oct.
Mon.-Fri.:
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sat., Sun., Holidays:
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

 

Gallery-Museum Lendava
Banffyjev trg 1, 9220 Lendava
T: +386 (0)2 578 92 60
E: info@gml.si
I: www.gml.si

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The Lendava Castle

The Lendava Castle

Professor Feri Gradnik has an ambitious plan for this summer; he wants to write a monograph about castles. Today he is not really in the mood. Writing is not as simple as it may seem. Maybe he just has a lack of inspiration. The summer breeze fills his cabinet full of books with the sweet scent of colorful flowers. He is glad that he is not the romantic type, otherwise he would now feel sad. He replaces these thoughts with more scientific ones, for example, where and when was the first Slovenian book published. His sleeping muse that was lying lazyly on the sofa suddenly blenches and in the next moment she is with the professor in the red cabriolet driving to the edge of our country, towards the bilingual town called Lendava.

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The Lendava Castle

The time of construction of the Dolnja Lendava castle (Lower Lendava) is fading in the shadows of history. The only definite fact is that in the second half of the 12th century on the property of the Hahót-Buzád family (Hahold, later known as Dolnja Lendava Bánffy castle) in the historical Zala County there were 19 forts, among them the Dolnja Lendava castle. The oldest written source about Dolnja Lendava is a document from 1192. It reveals the Hahold family’s ownership over the Lindua territory; the first records of the Dolnja Lendava castle date back to 1272. In the first half of the 13th century this settlement became the economic center of the Dolnja Lendava family line of the Hahót-Buzád family, which was also known as the Bánffys from Dolnja Lendava. In the 13th century after the Mongol invasion and the attacks of the Czech King Ottokar II of Bohemia, István Hahót I had to fully reconstruct the castle.

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The Lendava Castle

During the 13th and 17th century this family was one of the most respectable Hungarian nobilities. They sat on the highest positions in the Kingdom of Hungary. Its members have been appointed the Bans of Croatia and Slavonia. The highest honor belonged to Baron János Bánffy VI, who during 1530 and 1534 was the Paladin or Vice King of Hungary.

The Bánffy family line from Dolnja Lendava is one of the most important medieval families in the historical Zala County. The name Bánffy originates from the Hungarian phrase »bán fia«, which means » ban's descendant, ban's son«. It is self-evident that the development of the Medieval Dolnja Lendava is connected with the Bánffy family from Dolnja Lendava. King Louis I of Hungary awarded Dolnja Lendava in 1366 with the privilege for organizing the state fair. Since 1378 Dolnja Lendava was mentioned as an opidum (square) and from 1389 on it was named civitas (town).

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The Lendava Castle

Dolnja Lendava remained an important center of the region even in the 15th century, regarding the fact that between 1441 and 1459 there was a mint at the castle. The Bánffies from Dolnja Lendava were very loyal to Matthias Corvinus, better known as King Matthias. According to the historian Antonio Bonfini Count Miklós Bánffy was like a brother to Mattias Corvinus. He led a royal mission to Naples to arrange a royal wedding with Princess Beatrice. When the King's fiancée arrived to Hungary with Erzsébet Szilágyi, who was Matthias Corvinus’s mother, she spent a night at the Doljna Lendava castle. A few years later, on 28 August 1480 the King himself visited the town and the castle.

The Bánffy family also changed their religion and became Protestants during the Reformation Era. The new religion had significant cultural and historical consequences. In 1573 the Bánffy family from Dolnja Lendava invited printer Rudolph Hoffhalter to their manor. He published three books of the Protestant preacher and teacher Györgya Kultsárja, written in the Hungarian language. Kultsár's books are the first printed books on the Slovene territory and in the historical Zala County.

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The Lendava Castle

The presence of Turks represented constant danger for the Dolnja Lendava castle and its surrounding area at the end of the 16th and it the beginning of the 17th century. According to present knowledge the most important battle was fought in 1603, when 800 soldiers and 500 locals defended their lives and property, their country and Europe in a battle against the infamous enemy. It is important to know that the Turks never managed to occupy the Dolnja Lendava castle.

The extinction of the Bánffy family from Dolnja Lendava in 1645 had an adversely effect on the future and the development of the town. The nobility of Dolnja Lendava, including the castle, was inherited by the female branch of the Nádasdy family. They lost the castle due to political conflicts with the House of Habsburg in 1671. In 1690 the castle became the property of Pál Esterházy. As a token of appreciation and honor of emperor Leopold I he rebuilt the castle in the form of the letter L in the second half of the 18th century.

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The Lendava Castle

The diverse and functional walls with its towers were torn down during the Yugoslav communism in 1947.

According to reliable sources there was already a school in the 16th century Dolnja Lendava. Between 1872 and 1896, until a vocational secondary school was built, the school had a few classrooms in the Lendava castle.

The amazing history of the castle and the spiritual and military history of its surrounding area are presented in the castle chambers within the China closets and offered to the tourists through interactive media. History should be a life's teacher, the professor murmurs under his beard, while he is listening to the curator’s speech:

The castle chambers were used by the Yugoslav soldiers during both world wars. After World War II until 1968 it was the location of the primary school. In 1947 the Communist authority tore down the entire wall of the Dolnja Lendava castle. With this action they have unprofessionally interposed into the static of the main complex. Its bricks were used for the reconstruction of houses in the village Dobrovnik that was destroyed in a fire.

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The Lendava Castle

In the same year the atheistic authorities ordered a fresco of the Black Virgin for the castle tower, where it is still waiting to be unveiled.

There are two official languages in Lendava, the Slovenian and Hungarian. Cohabitation of two neighboring cultures gives a scent of cosmopolitism to the area. This was shown through many brilliant art creations, ideas of daring businessmen or through the heartedness of football fans. The professor could not get his muse away from the paintings and sculptures that are exhibited in the castle. Since 1973 the castle is a public institute called Galerija-Muzej Lendava (Gallery-Museum LENDAVA) where you can visit the historical, ethnological, art history and artistic collections on approximately 1000 m2. By the end of the day his muse was still insulted, for not being able to see all the exhibits and examine them in detail, so in a slightly superior tone she said goodbye: “Good night Feri Franc!“

References:

Stopar, I. (1991). Grajske stavbe v vzhodni Sloveniji - Med Prekmurjem in porečjem Dravinje. Ljubljana: Založba Park.

Stopar, I. (1991). Gradovi na Slovenskem. Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba.

Dr. Lendvai Kepe Zoltan, curator of the Galerija-Muzej Lendava

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The Lendava Castle
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The Lendava Castle
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The Lendava Castle

The Lendava Synagogue is the most important architectural monument of the Lendava Jewish Community.

The Holy Trinity Chapel with the Mihael Hadik mummy
Here rests the naturally mummified body of captain Mihael Hadik.

Lendavske gorice are the picturesque hills among the Kobiljski potok, Krka and Ledava creeks extending over a length of 9 km from Dolga vas to Pince covering the surface of 489ha.
 

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The Lendava Castle

The Evangelical Church
Early traces of the Reformation are found in Lendava, as Štefan Bánffy, the master of the Lendava Castle and Lendava estates, was a huge supporter of the religion; he converted to the new religion.
 
The Museum of Citizenry, Typography and Umbrella Manufactory is open since 2007 and can be viewed in an old 20th century townhouse.

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The Lendava Castle

 

The castle is a ruin.

The Moravske Toplice municipality
Kranjčeva ulica 3, 9226 Moravske Toplice
T: +386 (0)2 538 15 00
E: obcina@moravske-toplice.si
I: www.moravske-toplice.si

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The Matzenau Manor in Prosenjakovci

The Matzenau Manor in Prosenjakovci

It hasn’t rained in a very long time, up until today. But it wasn’t really raining, it was drizzling, to be more precise, which was still a big enough reason for Professor Feri Gradnik not to open the roof of his red cabriolet and hit the road to the castles. Gradnik gets caught up in melancholic feelings. “Everything is so fleeting,” he sighs. “Not even the castles are eternal.” He remembers the bilingual village of Prosenjakovci (Pártosfalva) along the Hungarian-Slovenian border, where gloomily resides one of the cultural and architectural jewels of Prekmurje, the Matzenau mansion with its park, waiting and hoping for a miraculous saviour, who could bring it back to life. The Agreement on the borderline between Hungary and Prekmurje was signed in this mansion after World War I.

The single-storey mansion or castle was recorded in the land registry in 1876, and supposedly erected at the beginning of the 19th century.

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The Matzenau Manor in Prosenjakovci

Luxuriously built in neoclassical style, it was used as a summer and hunting residence. The constructions were probably carried out by Italian engineers, which is demonstrated by the lions, the symbols of Venice, which are centrally located between the columns. The reasonably well-preserved frontage at the entrance and the Ionic semi-columns around the windows represent neoclassical elements, bringing to life the ancient form of the mansion. Sophisticated neoclassical style is only interfered by metal balcony railing and struts, belonging to the more recent stylistic period, although there is no indication they were added subsequently. Two well-preserved coats-of-arms are centrally located above the main entrance, specifically over the balcony windows and doors, as well as three rectangular, arched columns in front of the entrance.

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The Matzenau Manor in Prosenjakovci

Records of the mansion only date back to 1866, making it difficult to determine the exact year it was built in or the person, who ordered its construction. Between 1866 and 1900, the manor changed as many as seven owners (Olga Wrede, Jožef Wrede, Vilmos Boschan and his wife, Jožef Lenner, the Budapest bankegyület Bank, Henrik, Vilmos and Gyula Pick, Ferenc Egger and Dénes Craigher). In 1900, its last owner became Carl von Matzenau, a Czech-German, who moved here with his family from Mikulov, The Czech Republic to Prosenjakovci on doctors' recommendation due to his wife’s illness and stayed in the mansion until his death.

In the past, the Matzenau mansion was surrounded by a beautiful landscape park with giant trees, a fountain and a bench to sit on. The entire land is believed to cover 150 hectares. Along with the manor, the park has been neglected since 1945 and is completely overgrown.

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The Matzenau Manor in Prosenjakovci

Today, the park grows certain types of trees that are widespread around Goričko, and even some that are still a rarity in these places. As part of the “forest learning path”, information boards were set in the park, with basic information and graphics on the following types of trees: beech, hornbeam, wild cherry, wild chestnut, red pine, ivy, oak, spruce, plane and chestnut.

"Who is the man who moves from a big city to a small village on the outskirts and is happy to live there?" questions himself professor Gradnik as he searches for more data.

Carl von Matzenau and his family moved to Prosenjakovci from the Czech lands. The reason for their move to a small village at the Slovenian-Hungarian border was his wife’s illness. He became colonel, but served as the associate representative, Minister and Ambassador and Austrian Consul in the Vatican, Peru, Liberia and Russia. He also published two books on Nicaragua and Bolivia and was granted the title of nobility for his contributions.

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The Matzenau Manor in Prosenjakovci

He was really special and people remembered him either because of his noble stance or because of the military and diplomatic stories he used to tell the locals. The mansion was filled with collections of weapons, antique furniture, hunting trophies and real stuffed animals, paintings, oriental items etc. He is also believed to have sold an extremely valuable collection of stamps and used its profit to purchase of the mansion. After the death of the married couple, the heirs litigated for the property. In the spring of 1945 the Russian troops occupied the mansion, badly demolished it and destroyed its interior. Later, the mansion has been populated for a few more years, and in 1985 it was already half ruined.

References:

Kuzmič, F. (August 1, 1985). Ruševina v Prosenjakovcih. Vestnik.

Kuzmič, F. (2007). Učna pot »Graščina Matzenau«. Murska Sobota: Pokrajinski muzej Murska Sobota.

Stopar, I. (1991). Grajske stavbe v vzhodni Sloveniji - Med Prekmurjem in porečjem Dravinje. Ljubljana: Založba Park.

Stopar, I. (1991). Gradovi na Slovenskem. Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba.

Štefanec, F. (May 7, 1998). Gradovi na slovenskem severovzhodu. Vestnik.

Zavod za gozdove Slovenije, OE M. Sobota, Arhiv TIC Moravske Toplice.

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The Matzenau Manor in Prosenjakovci
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The Matzenau Manor in Prosenjakovci
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The Matzenau Manor in Prosenjakovci

The Matzenau Manor Park in Prosenjakovci is hiding the ruins of the neo-classical mansion from the early 19th century.

The thermal Water in Moravske Toplice will heal and refresh your body. The spa’s selected wellness programs are a balsam for your soul.

Bogojina, Church of the Ascension - Plečnik's Church
The church was built by the architect Jože Plečnik (1924-1927) and is one of the most modern church buildings in Europe. The top architecture perfectly connects the old with the new.

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The Matzenau Manor in Prosenjakovci

Open-air Museum - The Pottery Village of Filovci features two prominent cultural monuments in form of a Pannonian "cimprača" known as The Potter's House and The House of Cuisine.
 
The Honey Bakery in Ratkovci
Have an authentic Prekmurje gingerbread cookie, learn the art of making them and let their softness seduce you.

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The Matzenau Manor in Prosenjakovci
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The Vasvár Rampart

The Vasvár Rampart

Professor Feri Gradnik just finished washing his car and the fresh and shiny red cabrio was now proudly showing off in the front yard. The professor sat down on the iron bench in front of his house and took a deep breath. He probably wouldn’t admit it, but for men to look at a polished pile of iron is pure satisfaction. The professor's grandfather was a blacksmith and he gave him the bench he was sitting on as a present, when he moved into his new house. The professor, who does not believe in coincidences, knew exactly to which castle his iron steed is going to take him today after lunch.

Officialy, Vasvár belongs to the Vasvár sub region in the Vas megye parish, which in Austria is known as Eisenburg, in Slovenia as Železnograd and in Latin it’s called Castrum Ferrum. Vasvár is a Hungarian town with numerous cultural and natural beauties. It arouse on the grounds of a former Roman castrum that was built for protective purposes.

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The Vasvár Rampart

The town was named after small iron smelteries built around the village (»vas« in Hungarian means iron) and after a castle from the Árpád Era. Vasvár was first mentioned in some early 12th century documents proving the town has existed since the 9th century. In 1241 King Béla IV invited the Dominican order to Vasvár (the order left the town in 1557 and returned in 1684). Even though the town already had a castle, it obtained its town rights in 1279. The Catholic Church was built in the 13th century and was renovated in the 15th century gothic and baroque style. Until 1578 Vasvár was known as the district headquarter, which due to Turkish threats was later moved to Sombathely. For a certain period of time the town was also the seat of the bishopric. From the time it was founded until 1578 Vasvár was the seat of the Vas megye parish and one of the most important centres of the Western Transdanubia region. The Turkish invasion completely destroyed the town, but in the 18th century it retrieved and reinforced its role.

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The Vasvár Rampart

In the 19th century Vasvár became on of the most important towns in the parish; it had its own Synagogue (1878) and officially became a town in 1986.

To prevent the uninvited to enter his premises the professor attached an iron net to his front door. Vasvár built a protective wall for this same purpose.

The Vasvár rampart is part of the former border defence system that started in Grabenberg, on the side west of the Kisköves hill. This 8 kilometres long and on some parts a few meters high wall can be seen all the way to the Hegyhátszentpéter border. The traffic artery (»strata Ungarorum« or »the Hungarian path«) probably originates from the Roman times, but according to archaeological proofs it was more frequently used by the Hungarians on their way to Italy. After the acquisitions stopped this traffic artery was also in need of a defence. The best-preserved rampart that took up the role of a fortress is located in Vasvár; it played a very important role in the Hungarian history. The iron door reconstruction from the 10th or 11th century is located at the edge of the town and is part of the educational path and resting area.

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The Vasvár Rampart

This path was supposedly used until 1956. The reconstructed part known as the Iron door is an amazing architectural monument. Here you can also see parts of the trade, military and educational path. The major part of the protective system was built after the Battle of Augsburg and covered the Western Transdanubia region, the flood-exposed areas of Fertő, Rábca and Rába and the Zala and Kis-balaton swamps.

If there were no wars, there would be no peace agreements, thought the professor, while unfolding his cheese and pickle sandwich at the Iron door.

The peace treaty of Vasvár was signed between the Habsburg monarchy and the Ottoman Empire in 1664 after the battle of Szentgothárd.

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The Vasvár Rampart

The Habsburg army of Caesar Leopold I with the help of the German, French, Hungarian and Croatian soldiers hardly managed to defeat the big wazir (1 August 1664), but the Habsburg monarchy didn’t take advantage of this victory; only 9 days later it signed the peace treaty of Vársár that gave the Turks the conquered Hungarian territories. The last and second last siege of the town and the demolition of the Novi Zrin fortress lead to dissatisfaction of the Hungarian and Croatian aristocrats, which was considered the main cause of their later conspiracy against the cowardly Caesar.

Once professor Gradnik was done thinking about the war, he felt like he must reinstate the balance between his mind and spirit, so he decided to visit one of the oldest monasteries in Hungary that belongs to the Dominican order and the recently reconstructed Dragon tower Museum, which to his knowledge keeps and displays the work of the famous Hungarian sculptor Richárd Török.

References:

Peace of Vasvár. Accessed on: February 22, 2015. Accessible at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_of_Vasv%C3%A1r

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The Vasvár Rampart
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The Vasvár Rampart
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The Vasvár Rampart

House of peace (Békeház) is one of the most important representative buildings of Vasvár and an important cultural and historical monument.  The building can be entered every day free of charge.

Boat Lake, Snake King (Csónakázó-tó, Kigyókirály)
The Boat Lake lies in the vicinity of the ancient beach tree forest in Szentkút, which is the perfect spot for fisherman and walkers, who come here to relax. This is also the home of the Snake King, which is the name of the famous masterpiece of the naive sculptor Imre Szántó. According to legend the Snake King swims to the surface of the lake every New Year's Eve exactly at midnight and brings with him the keys of the iron caste that sank and got lost somewhere in the bottomless lake called Fenektelen tó. The one that will take away the Snake King's keys, will free the castle from its curse.  

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The Vasvár Rampart

Sightseeing point (Kilátó)
This used to be a liberation monument, which with financial support of the locals was turned into an observation tower. From the top of the tower one can admire the amazing panorama view and in case of nice weather observe the Alps and the Raba River.  

The Szentkút Kft. company and the Vasvár self-government suggest a visit to the town swimming pools.

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The Vasvár Rampart
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The Batthyány Castle in Körmend

The Batthyány Castle in Körmend

Professor Feri Gradnik removed his big dark framed glasses, rubbed his eyes and took a deep breath to inhale the sweet rose scent that was comming through the open window; the scent was comming from the rose bush that was covering the house frontage. Half of the nights the professor used to sit up late, so he could work on his book, but the Saturday afternoons were reserved for trips to the castles. Now it was perfectly clear that he was only waiting for a sign that would point out his next destination. He noticed something moving across the swamp right near the road. Maybe it was a heron, a stork or a swamp girl washing her hair, but perhaps there was nothing and he only needed new glasses? And then it hit him; he suddenly remembered his next destination!

Körmend is situated in the center of Vas megye near the confluence of the Raba and Pinka rivers.

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The Batthyány Castle in Körmend

In Roman times the passage over the Raba river and good traffic connections made the town and its surrounding area an important location. After Körmend was populated, it became the most important settlement in Vas megye besides Vasvár. The Raba river could be crossed from north to south on the slope of the hill that was located on the left river bank, where later the first midieval settlement was created. In a document from 1238 Villa curmend terra regis or the Körmend village was first mentioned as part of the royal territory. In 1244 after the Tatar march King Béla IV turned the settlement into a town.

The Batthyány name has been closely tied to Körmend's history for almost 400 years. In the course of the centuries the castle became one of the most important manssions in this land and was renovated in classical Barouque style. Documents from the 1459 show that the building in the north-east of the town was the predecessor of today's castle.

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The Batthyány Castle in Körmend

In these documents the building was mentioned as a »Castellum«, which means manssion. The midieval interpreation of the work was noble curia, which was built as a castle and was protected by a water trench and high walls. Allegedly, it was bulit by the Szécsényi family, who then owned all the territories in Körmend. Since no descriptions or outlines from the Middle Ages were found, the construction plan is still unknown. The city and the renessaince castle often changed owners in the 15th and 16th century: first it was owned by Bertold Ellerbach, later by Tamás Bakócz and after that it fell into posession of the Erdődy family members. When the Turks marched into the town, the manssion belonged to the Batthyány family. It was reconstructed twice, first in 1610 and the second time in 1650.

Based on the first perserved town ground plan from 1667 the castle was situated on a low island in the flood-exposed area near the Raba river and was surounded only by a wide water trench. On the west side of the trench was an artifical island above which there was a two-floor tower located in front of the gate.

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The Batthyány Castle in Körmend

The path from the town to the castle lead through a double water trench, across the wooden bridges and the outer tower that was built between the trenches. In this tower was probably the first and in front of the gate tower the second lift bridge.

After the Turks have been chassed out of the town the castle in Körmend lost its purpose, so on 26 January 1702 the Vienna War Councill issued a command to tore down the castle. In the end its owner Ádám Batthány II managed to save it afterall.

The decision to build a Barouque aristocratic manssion was made by chancellor and later palatine Lajos Batthyány. The buidling that was initialy designed as a protective building had to be reconstructed, so it would fit its new purpose and lifestyle.

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The Batthyány Castle in Körmend

Insted of a water trench, it was now surrounded by an open park that was designed by Donato Felice de Allio from Italy, who was an important representative on the Austrian Barouque Era in the first half of the 18th century.

The constructions started with the demolishion of the gate tower and fill up of the water trenches. Next a new floor and the main frontage on the south side have been constructed. The main entrance was in the middle and behind it was a new exit that lead to the northern tract. The arcade corridor in the inner court was demolished and halls with windows were built insted of it. A so called Sala Terrena was bulit on the eastern side, while most of southern part was covered by the house exit and a decorative staircase. The representative halls decorated with oil paintings, furniture, antiquities and weappons were on the second floor, followed by the reception room and dwelling rooms.

The side buildings were located just in front of the main building and on the west side was the area for court carriages.

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The Batthyány Castle in Körmend

In the two-floor buildings on the south side were the eastern riding stables, while the building in the east was used for multiple functions. The bigger Sala Terrena was on the ground floor and was richely decorated with paintaings, while the smaller hall above it was designed for festive events. The archive and the library were on the second floor.

In the end of the 19th century, that was during the Ödön Batthyány period, the frontage of the buildings was painted jellow. After Ödön died the princely title was passed on to the fideikomis eye doctor László Batthány, who was a descendant of a count family. In 1945 László II Batthyány - Stratmann was forced to leave the manssion in Körmend that belonged to his ancestors for more than 340 years, for the manssion was occupied by the Russian army. The building was rearanged into a military post and the balcony was torn down by tanks.

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The Batthyány Castle in Körmend

When in 1957 the Russian army left the manssion, the inner decorations were still perserved, but all the equipment and furniture was gone.

In the lobby the visitors can interactively larn about the history of the castle and the paintings displayed on the staircase are telling stories about the life of the castle's residents. The permanant exhibiton on the Batthyány family can be viewed in the castle's festive hall. Since 2003, when dr. László Batthyány -Strattmann was consectared, the museum in Körmend prepared a number od larger exhibitions to honour the life and work of the Batthyány family. Körmend and its surrounding area, the archeological finds, the history of the guilds and the cultural monument of the burgeoise at the turn of the 19th and 20th century were presented in the »Herritage of Generations« exhibition. The results of the archeological research or the construction plans of the building have been presented in the foyer of the Batthyány chappel; temporary exhibitions, however, were organised inside the chappel.

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The Batthyány Castle in Körmend

Professor Gradnik was arranging his notes on what he has seen and experienced under the crown of this historical Platana tree, which he found incredibly exquisite. The trees in the old parks have been amazing storytellers.

The castle garden in Körmend was first mentioned in 1620. The Batthyány family had one too between 1720 and 1799. This garden was enlarged and reconstructed it into a French park. In the final years of the 18th century the garden was planted with exotic tree and bush species. In the park, which is under environmental protection since 1958, over more than 70 different trees and bushes can be found. The most famous park tree is the 200 years old Platana with mapple leaves. Multiple works of art are displayed around the park.

Professor Gradnik concluded his trip with a visit to a late Baroque style church that was bulit in 1788. There are two renovated churches in Hungary, the inner walls of which have been decorated with frescoes and one of them is located right here in Körmend.

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The Batthyány Castle in Körmend

References:

Körmend. Accessed on: February 22, 2015. Accessible at: http://www.24cities.eu/si/7-varos/staedte/koermend.

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The Batthyány Castle in Körmend
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The Batthyány Castle in Körmend
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The Batthyány Castle in Körmend

The manor park in Körmend was first mentioned in documents dating back to 1620. Between 1720 and 1799 this was the only French park in the Iron Parish (Vas megye), which is today the home to more than 70 tree and bush species.  

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The Batthyány Castle in Körmend

 

The castle is not open for visitors.

Alkotó Otthon
(Sennyey, Bezerédj, Békássy kastély)
9766 Zsennye, Szabadság tér 3.
T: +36 94 / 379-017
I: www.zsennye.hu

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The Sennyey-Bezerédj-Békássy Mansion, Zsennye

The Sennyey-Bezerédj-Békássy Mansion, Zsennye

While on a lazy sunday afternoon professor Feri Gradnik was examining the materials for his book about Mensions in Pomurje and Vas megye, he got a brilliant idea. His mind was the mind of a historian, but his heart was that of a pedagog, so he was well aware of the importance of proper motivation. Since he was seriously convinced that nothing in life should be taken too seriously, he nodded to confirmed his brilliant new-born idea and the corners of his mouth mischeviously rolled up in a smile. He already made a list of the already and soon to be visited castles, but what if one of these castles could tell its own story through the eyes of close or far descendents of those, who lived and wrote the history of the castle? What would happen if, for example, he oppened up a P.O. BOX for the Sennyey-Bezerédj-Békássy castle in Zsennye?

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The Sennyey-Bezerédj-Békássy Mansion, Zsennye

He knew already that Zsennye was a village in Hungary, that officialy belongs to the Szombathely subregion in the Tolna parish and that the first data on the castle date back to 1183. He also knew that its neighbouring village Geregye was named after Pál Geregy, the leader of the Templars, who helped Bela IV escape the Battle of Muhu. As a token of his appreciation the King rewarded his soldiers in the Sopron, Zala, Vas megye. Based on oral tradition the beginings of the castle started right here. The professor found it fascinating that the old ground plan shows the form of a cross. While he was wandering around the area, he found out that today this building is used as a house of creativity that can take in up to 40 people and that the park and the castle have been under environmental protection since 1955. He almost finished collecting his data, but...

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The Sennyey-Bezerédj-Békássy Mansion, Zsennye

Yes, that is exactly what he will do. He called the locals to fill him in on historical data and anecdotes, such as the one about Károlly Sennyei, a passionate gambler, who hated life in the village and was looking for constant entertainment. He might even get some insight on the infamous annual Architects and Designers Workshop in Zsennye, which was the first International Designer Workshop in the Eastern Block organised since 1978 with topics connected to sustainable and socially responsible design.

And here it is, the e-mail address for all, who are willing to provide additional data on the castle in Zsennye, Hungary: info@pannon-castles.eu

References:

Sárvár. Accessed on: February 23, 2015. Accessible at: http://sl.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A1rv%C3%A1r

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The Sennyey-Bezerédj-Békássy Mansion, Zsennye
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The Sennyey-Bezerédj-Békássy Mansion, Zsennye
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The Sennyey-Bezerédj-Békássy Mansion, Zsennye
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The Sennyey-Bezerédj-Békássy Mansion, Zsennye
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The Sennyey-Bezerédj-Békássy Mansion, Zsennye

Creative home and former manor
After World War II the manor was left robbed, destroyed and ruined for a very long time, until in 1953 it was taken over by the Hungarian National Fine Arts Association that changed the manor into a creative home, which is today owed by the Hungarian Creative and Artistic National Foundation and used primarily for art and creative camps, artistic education, conferences and vacation of artists and their families.

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The Sennyey-Bezerédj-Békássy Mansion, Zsennye
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The Sennyey-Bezerédj-Békássy Mansion, Zsennye

 

The castle was turned into a hotel.

The Sibrik Castle Hotel
Rákóczi F. u. 1. 9727 Bozsok
T: +36-1 225-3384, +36-1 225-3385
I: www.bozsok.hu

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The Sibrik Castle, Bozsok

The Sibrik Castle, Bozsok

Professor Feri Gradnik opened his laptop and stared at the empty screen. Just like on the last couple of Saturdays he was waiting for a sign from above that will direct him to his next destination. His book about castles is making slow, but good progress. Soon his vacation will be over and he won't have enough time to write. Before he laid his fingers on the keyboard, gentle voices coming from behind the salon palm tree that was placed next to the window surprised him with a famous counting rhyme: »Criss Cross, King Matthias…« The professor flinched: »Isn't Bozsok the location of the Sibrik castle that was once visited by this legendary King?«

Bozsok is a small village at the foot the Alps located next to the Austrian-Hungarian border. It is a part of the Kőszeg sub region in Vas magye. The village was first mentioned in 1277 or in 1279, when the settlement was called Villa Bosuk.

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The Sibrik Castle, Bozsok

This was the home of Illyrians, Pannonians, Celts, Slavic people, Huns and the Avars. The town was first mentioned in 1238, it had 12,000 inhabitants and was located at the crossroads of many important paths. At that time Bozsok was in the possession of the Kőszegi, Garai and Sibrik family.

This territory belonged to the St. Vid castle and the Németújváry family, which later attached the settlement to Rohonc and governed it until the 15th century. In 1405 this settlement became the property of the Garai family and in 1445 it was conquered by Frederik III. Later King Matthias Corvine gave it to his loyal follower János Bornemisszi and after János died the King gave it to the Sibrik family. The castle was also in possession of the Batthyány family that could only buy a part of the village and one of the palaces (between 1616 and 1617).

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The Sibrik Castle, Bozsok

In 1532, during the Turkish invasions the village has been completely destroyed and settled by Croatians, who preserved their language for a long time and took over the Hungarian language only in the second half of the 19th century. In 1552 Gergely Sibrik divided his estate to two and his descendants from both blood lines built homes in their half of the village. The Chief received the spot that you can still see today. For a very long time people believed that this Palace was the hunting seat of King Matthias. The three-floor house that was first mentioned in 1554 and was reconstructed and changed into a fortress in 1614 was used to keep the Turks away.

The Batthyányi family built their castle in the lower part of the village, while the Sibrik family built theirs in the north. The Batthyányi family also had great impact on the village’s current appearance. The south court was - based on temporary descriptions - destroyed in a fire that was caused by a lighting strike in 1841. The northern Sibrik castle was built in the late Renaissance and the majority of its walls originate from the 16th and 17th century, when the castle obtained its defensive power.

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The Sibrik Castle, Bozsok

In the 17th century it was changed into a one-floor building and its frontage was reconstructed in Baroque style during the next century. The one-floor castle was surrounded by a ditch. There were two buildings in the western and southern part of the rectangular courtyard, while on the other two ends we can see tall ramparts and two polygon towers in the northeast. The angular entry door was surrounded by pieces or ornaments that are showing united coats-of –armours of the Nádasdy and Sibrik family from the year 1611. The south tract is the youngest; it was built in the 18th century and was reconstructed in 1702. The entire building was renovated in 1815. In the first half of the 19th century another floor was added; it included the attic and the balcony on the south side of the frontage. On the first floor, behind the south balcony is the Knight's hall decorated in Rococo style and in this hall hangs the oil portrait of the empress Maria Theresa. In the Modern Era the castle’s history was closely connected to the ducal line of the Batthyányi family. Their impressive castle is one of the key Hungarian monuments; its northern, eastern and western wings derive from the 13th or 14th century.

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The Sibrik Castle, Bozsok

In 1906 the Sibrik family sold the castle to Gyula Végh, the later Director of the Museum of Decorative Arts, who was a true fan of the palace and its surrounding area. The castle survived World War II, but it was left in ruins. In 1951 Gyula Végh started with its renovations and in 1959 the castle was renovated and changed into a Vas megye holiday resort. Today this resort operates as a hotel.

This afternoon the August sun was literally burning, so the professor retreats into a shadow in the English court garden stretching across 11 hectares of an environmentally protected area, where many precious plant and animal species coexist. »Perhaps I will return in the winter and take advantage of the nearby borders, spend some time in a Hungarian castle and go skiing to Austria« he purrs with satisfaction and decides to sunbathe just a little longer.

Bozsok is one of the main tourist destinations in the Kőszeg mountain chain with subalpine climate and many options for cultural adventures. The hotel offers its guests a medieval experience, but it is also appropriate for all sorts of business meetings.

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The Sibrik Castle, Bozsok

Professor Gradnik's friends sometimes tease him that he loves everything that's old. And in order not to disappoint them, he finishes his trip with a visit to two ruins:

One of which is the Batthyány Palace that burned down in 1841 and was one of the favourite spots of the Lord of Rohon. Even Ferenc Rákóczi II (1698) and Caesar Napoleon (1813) spent a night there. The second ruin is the former church of the Holy Trinity near St. Ana's Church.

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The Sibrik Castle, Bozsok

References:

Bozsok – Sibrik Castle. Accessed on: February 19, 2015. Accessible at: http://www.vasmegye.hu/castles-and-halls/bozsok---sibrik-castle

Budapest.com. Accessed on: February 19, 201. Accessible at: http://www.budapest.com/hungary/koszeg/things_to_do/bozsok.en.html

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The Sibrik Castle, Bozsok
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The Sibrik Castle, Bozsok
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The Sibrik Castle, Bozsok

The St. Ana Parish Church is a medieval building that was consecrated in 1630 by Bishop István Sennyi.

The House of wine (Borház) is located on Rákóczi Street 133. It was renovated in 1819 and so managed to preserve the values of the local wine-culture. It can be entered and viewed during local events.

St. Joseph's Chapel was mentioned in 1689 in the Kazó church register. It is equipped with a main altar from the Rococo Era, above which you will see the copy of the altar painting with a crucifix on top of it.

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The Sibrik Castle, Bozsok

The St. Florian and St. John Nepomuk Statues
The statue of the firemen patron (St. Florian statue) was placed in front of the fire station on the shore of the Aranypatak creek in 1996 by the Bozsokért society. The second statue, i.e. the statue of St. John, was placed in the lobby of St. John's Chapel.  

Ruins of the Battyányi manor
The manor was built from the former lower manor that belonged to the Sibrik family. Currently, it belongs to the Hungarian National Treasury, but it is in very poor condition, so approaching the ruins can be extremely dangerous.  

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The Sibrik Castle, Bozsok

Centre and Theatre of the Jurisics Castle
9730 Kőszeg, Rajnis u. 9.
9731 Kőszeg, Pf. 51.
T: +36 94/360-113
E: jurisics@koszeg.hu
I: www.jurisicsvar.hu

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The Jurisics Castle in Kőszeg

The Jurisics Castle in Kőszeg

In the morning, while professor Feri Gradnik was waiting for fresh rolls in a small bakery, the most unusual thing happened; something that totally confused him. There were three, let’s be honest, attractive younger women waiting in line behind him. He was observing them in the mirror behind the counter. These women were caught up in a serious conversation claiming that there are no real heroes left. They were talking about heroes from books, who are not afraid to go up against villains and at the same time love poetry. He unwillingly compared himself to their image of a hero and determined that he kind of likes poetry and that he also trained judo in grammar school, but was this really enough? Maybe he will find the answer to his question in the western part of Vas megye in the idyllic little town called Kőszeg or Kiseg, as the Croatians call it; this town had a real hero, a Croatian national, who had a strong impact on the Hungarian history.

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The Jurisics Castle in Kőszeg

The surroundings of the town have been populated since the Prehistoric Era. Some believe that in 802 the Avars and the Franks fought there battles here. The Hungarians, who founded their colony on this territory today known as Kőszegfalva, were mostly metal sharpers and toolmakers. Because of its great security system that kept away the German soldiers this territory became an important strategic location in the 12th and 13th century. The town was established in the 13th century by the Kőszegi family (the Croatians call them Gisingovci), which is considered the sub line of one of the most influential Hungarian aristocratic families i.e. the Héder family, which in the end of the 13th century, during the reign of King Arpad’s last descendant, owned the majority of the West Hungarian territory, parts of Croatia and Slavonia. In 1327, after Arpad’s lineage died out, the Hungarian King Karel Robert, who was a descendant of the Anjous, reunited Hungary. He defeated the Hungarian aristocrats and retrieved the Hungarian properties from the Kőszeg family.

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The Jurisics Castle in Kőszeg

The castle in Kőszeg and the town itself became a royal territory in 1328 and their town privileges have been replenished by fair and trade rights for wine; the citizens didn't have to pay taxes, but in exchange for these benefits they had to take care of the protective walls. Later the castle was in possession of Sigismund of Luxemburg, the Ellerbach family, palatine Nikolaus Garai, Caesar Friderik III and King Matthias, who bought it in 1482 and then gave it to his son János Korvin. During the uprising of the Hungarian peasants and Rákoczy's attempt to liberate the Hungarians from under the Austrian hegemony, Kőszeg was the most important fortress of the Kuruc (rebels) on the territory west from the Raba River in the years 1705 to 1711 besides Szombathely. The castle was in Austrian possession until 1695, when the shire and the town fell under the reign of the Esterhazy family, who ruled on this territory until 1931. In the 17th and 18th century the town flourished thanks to its trade.

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The Jurisics Castle in Kőszeg

Later in the first half of the 19th century it lost its leading role in Vas megye, but therefore preserved its clean nature and unspoilt historic centre, which is now nicely renovated. Kőszeg is known as one the most beautiful Hungarian towns. With the Peace Treaty that was signed after World War I larger part of this district became a part of the Austrian territory. After World War II this territory continued to develop under the political conditions of the 80’s and the »Iron Curtain«.

Professor Gradnik parked his red cabrio on the square and the church bells started ringing. “Is it noon already?” The clock displayed 11 o’clock. “Towns with heroes are really something”, he thought.

The main sight was definitely the 13th century Gothic style Jurisics's castle or Esterhazy castle that represents one of the most important links in this medieval town's system of defence.

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The Jurisics Castle in Kőszeg

The Jurisics castle includes the forecastle, which is said to have existed before the town was even designed and the internal castle, which is the oldest part of the town that lies on the right side of the Gyöngyös stream and was built in the northwestern part of the town. The internal castle is surrounded by a ditch filled with water from the Gyöngyös stream and is separated from the rest of the town and the forecastle, which is located in the east. The forecastle opens towards the internal castle, where a bridge was leading accross the ditch to the entry door. The internal castle is wider; on the first floor of the west tract was a knight's hall and on the ground floor the basement. In the northern part was the chapel and in the east and south part the living area, which was built in the 14th century, while the western and the northern tract, which have already been built out of bricks, were expanded in the 15th century. In this period the ground floor of the south and east tract were finished as well. The castle was repaired after the Turkish invasions in 1532.

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The Jurisics Castle in Kőszeg

The shape of the protective wall originates from this same period, while the entire restoration was done only later in 1616. The castle's interior was adjusted in Renaissance style and later in Baroque style. In 1777 the first floor of the northern tract burned down during a big fire, so it was torn down. A new tract and courtyard arcades were built on the south side. On the 5th floor the Esterhazy family built their chapel. The lower door was torn down in 1780, while the upper door and the Halász tower went down in 1838. The tower on Chernel Street and the remains of the town wall have remained undamaged. In the 18th century the castle belonged to the Kőszegi family.

Todays castle with its 18th and 19th century equipment is the location of diverse programs and events. It functions as a museum, house of culture and scene for different events. In the museum you can see a permanent exhibition with the title Centuries of the Kőszeg Castle about the Arpad Era, the 15th century life, the Turkish invasions and the Esterhazy family, who owned this castle for many years. We shouldn’t forget the wine-growing area of the town, which was also of grave importance.

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The Jurisics Castle in Kőszeg

A lot of things in this town remind me of the town hero Nikola Jurišić, who became part of the town legend.

In the big Austrian-Turkish war the small Kőszeg fortress managed to stop the huge Turkish army that was returning from Vienna in 1532. The commander of the small town crew Nikola Jurišić (The Hungarians call him Jurisics Miklós) suppressed 19 attacks of the great wazir Pasha Pargali Ibrahim between August 5 and 30. After an unsuccessful march against Sultan Suleiman in 1529 Ferdinand I sent Nikola Jurišić to Constantinople to start the peace negotiations.

Suleiman kept Jurišić in captivity until December 1530, when he could finally return to Kőszeg and fulfil his function as castle commander. In 1532 Suleiman started a new march towards Vienna and on August 10 around 60,000 soldiers marched into Kőszeg and started sieging the castle. The Turks brutally attacked the castle, but never seized it; the Janissaries were starving, so they revolted during the siege.

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The Jurisics Castle in Kőszeg

The wazir asked Jurišić to hang eight Turkish flags from the castle and the Turkish army started to retreat. For this heroic act Ferdinand appointed Jurišić the town baron and gave him the castle as a gift. The structure of the fortress originates from the exact same period.

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The Jurisics Castle in Kőszeg

References:

Kőszeg. Accessed on: February 19, 2015. Accessible at: http://sl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kőszeg

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The Jurisics Castle in Kőszeg
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The Jurisics Castle in Kőszeg
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The Jurisics Castle in Kőszeg

The St. Imre Church was built between 1615 and 1618 as a gathering spot of Hungarian speaking Protestants. The contributions for this church were donated by the bourgeois.

The Statue of Mary
The statue of the Rosary Queen was built at the expenses of the Kőszeg town and was made by Lorenz Eisenköbel, who still lives in Sopron, from sandstone that originates from the town of Fertőrákos. This statue is one of the local symbols of the Cult of the Virgin Mary that was growing and expanding during the Counter-Reformation Era.

The statue of the Holy Trinity was placed in Kőszeg during the outburst of an epidemic after the Kuruc battles as an offering of the Catholics from Kőszeg to God, so he would stop the epidemic. Therefore this statue is also called the plague column.

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The Jurisics Castle in Kőszeg

The Heart of Christ Church was built out of priest János Győri's inheritance after his death in 1849.

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The Jurisics Castle in Kőszeg

 

The castle is not open for visitors.

The Erdődy court
Utca 50-52., 9545 Jánosháza
I: www.janoshaza.hu

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The Erdődy Court in Jánosháza

The Erdődy Court in Jánosháza

On a Saturday morning in August...

This Saturday morning started out as an extension of Friday evening. Professor Feri Gradnik couldn't really remember what time he came home, but it was definitely dawn, for he remembers the nuthatch that seems to own his garden the last couple of days suspiciously observing him from the hedge. The professor vaguely remembered mentioning his friends at the table that he must go home, since Saturdays are reserved for visits to castles, but the cheerful crowd the professor spent his Friday evening with didn't seem to care much about it, except for Jan, who wanted to know, why he is wasting his precious time on old walls and buildings that barely anyone remembers. The professor hurried to explain that only the awareness of the past and history can help you understand the present, but Jan, who was a surf and ski instructor and an amateur cook challenged him to prove that every rock has an attractive story to tell. The professor accepted the challenge and invited Jan to join his research on Janos's land.

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The Erdődy Court in Jánosháza

The Jánosháza village or »Janos's land« is located in West Hungary, right next to the Austrian border. It’s an old settlement that was first mentioned in some 15th century documents. According to predictions it has been populated since the Prehistoric Era. During the reign of King Stephan the territory around Jánosháza belonged to the kingdom. The settlement was named after Janos, a member of the Varsányi family, who discovered this settlement in 1396. The castle was located on top of a hill on the north side of the village and was one of the rare preserved medieval castles in Eastern Europe.

The estate changed many owners; its most famous owner was the Garay family from the late 14th century. In 1480 the castle was in possession of Pál Kinizsi and in the early 15th century it belonged to the Bishop of Győr and later Archbishop of Esztergom Tamás Bakócz and his heir Péter Erdődy. Since 1758 the estate has been in possession of the Erdődy family.

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The Erdődy Court in Jánosháza

Documents from the 18th century prove that this town was developing in the direction of trade and obtained its fair rights in 1780. The town started to grow and expand around the castle and the church.

In 1510 the King allowed count Péter Erdődy to fortify his house and surround it with a wall and a ditch. In 1609 this fortified building was already a castle with a tower, clock and a bell. The castle tower had a dome roof and was encircled by a water ditch. The east wing was built at the end of the 15th century and in the early 16th century Péter Erdődy decorated it with Renaissance details. In the meantime the castle was sold to the eminent commander András Choron, who left it to his son János. During this time the castle was elevated and extended on the west side. In 1570 the supreme judge Tamás Nádasdy, who was the owner of the Somló mansion, widened and fortified the castle fort and protected it during the Turkish invasions.

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The Erdődy Court in Jánosháza

In the middle of the 17th century the castle fell into the hands of palatine Miklós Illésházy, whose daughter decorated the castle rooms with rich wall frescoes. In the beginning of the 18th century the mansion was in ruins and was returned to the Erdödy family in 1732. In 1750 the neglected building was renovated in Baroque style. In 1765, after the death of Anne Illésházy Erdödy, Sándor Erdödy VI took over the castle, renovated it in 1935 and added a second floor, an attic apartment and a domed tower. After World War II the castle became a state property due to the Communist regime, so it was turned into a hospital for infectious diseases, then into an Agricultural Technical School, a kindergarten, into business apartments and finally between 1979 and 1986 the Hungarian National Council for Conservation of Historic Buildings performed its research and conservation work here. In 1998 the Hungarian government handed over the castle and its land to architect Joseph Pell Lombardi for partial renovation; the architect returned the renovated castle to the Hungarian government in 2008.

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The Erdődy Court in Jánosháza

The professor and his friend explored the town just a little longer, but then the day got too hot and they took the red cabrio and drove down road No. 84 directly do Balaton. The almost 50 kilometre trip passed in no time and by the end of the day Jan, who was a surf and ski instructor and an amateur cook stopped making fun of his friend's passion for history.

References:

Dugački, V. (2010). Medicinski docent zagrebačkoga vseučilišta. Accessed on: February 20, 2015. Accessible at: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21192123

Joseph Pell Lombardi. Accessed on: February 20, 2015. Accessible at: http://www.josephpelllombardi.com/5homes/castle.html

National and the Historical Symbols of Hungary, Accessed on: February 20, 2015. Accessible at: http://www.nemzetijelkepek.hu/onkormanyzat-janoshaza_en.shtml

Tourism of Jánosháza. Accessed on: February 20, 2015. Accessible at: https://www.telepules.com/en/janoshaza/tourism/sights/erdody-choron-castle-2272.html

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The Erdődy Court in Jánosháza
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The Erdődy Court in Jánosháza
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The Erdődy Court in Jánosháza

The Roman-Catholic Church was built around 1734 and replaced the initial, currently destroyed, wooden church. It was enlarged and rebuilt in 1779 at the expenses of the Erdődy family.

The Virgin Mary Statue
The Baroque style piece of art in the Mary Garden represents the coronation of the Virgin Mary standing on the clouds. Above this image is the Holy Trinity and on the corbels there are two angel sculptures.

The Chapel of St. Vendel was built in honour of St. Vendel in 1781 after the outbreak of the cattle plague, when the rich stock-breeders turned to God for help and asked St. Vendel to stop the plague. In exchange they offered to build a chapel in his honour. The village community held on to its promise.

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The Erdődy Court in Jánosháza

Statue of Prime Minister József Antall
József Antall (1932-1993) was a politician and the first freely-elected Prime Minister of Hungary after the government has changed. In his memory the self-governing community and the locals from Jánosháza ordered a bronze bust that was created by female artist Emőke Tóth.

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The Erdődy Court in Jánosháza

The Ferenc Nádasdy
Museum
Opening hours
Tue. – Sun.: 
9 a.m., 5 p.m. 

Sárvár Tourist & TDM
T: +36 95 520-178
E: tdm@sarvar.hu
I: www.sarvar.hu

The Ferenc Nádasdy Museum
9600, Castle District 1 (Nádasdy grad)
T: 06 95 / 320-158
E: info@nadasdymuzeum.hu
I: www.nadasdymuzeum.hu

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The Sárvár Castle

The Sárvár Castle

This was one of those usual mornings. Professor Feri Gradnik was jogging around the swampy meadow behind his house trying to clear his head and make space for new ideas, when he remembered that the soil between the Mura, Raba, Drava and Danube is completely covered in water. He imagined how it would feel like living on the shores of the once existing Pannonian Sea, known as Tetis. Perhaps he could combine the visit of a castle with bathing in nice healing water, he thought.

Sárvár (in Slovenian Mala Sela) is spreading across both sides of the Raba River and south of the Gyöngyös stream influx. The town is officially part of the Sárvár sub region in the Tolna parish. Sár in Hungarian means mud and vár means castle.

The history of this town is intertwined with the history of the eponymous town castle.

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The Sárvár Castle

The settlement that was once populated by the Romans started to develop after the 14th century. According to the copies of Lajos Nagy's and King Matthias's documents Sárvár was a royal estate with special privileges that was passed on to Orsolya Kanizsai. After she got married in 1534 the estate became the property of the Nádasdy family.

The castle in Sárvár is situated in the heart of the town and is surrounded by a neat park that determines the current appearance of the town. The construction of the building began in the end of the 13th century. By the end of the 15th century the members of the Kanizsai family built a castle with a closed courtyard, while the castle's current appearance was financed by Tamás Nádasdy between 1549 and 1562 as stated on the plate above the arch of the lobby door. In the corner hangs the coat-of-arms of the Nádasdy family.

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The Sárvár Castle

Architecturally the castle developed in stages; the outer front wall was built in the 16th or 17th century and served as a protective wall to the previous castle; there were some wooden buildings placed behind it. This wall has been renovated and extended throughout the Middle Ages. Tamás Nádasdy's wife enlarged the castle and decorated it with renaissance features between 1550 and 1560. Tamás Nádasdy and his wife Orsolya Kanizsay started the tradition of collecting and supporting arts.

In the middle of the 17th century Ferenc Nádasdy made a huge move, when he extended the castle in such an extent that its tracts almost completely closed down the inner court. For a unified construction appearance some parts of the building dating back to the Middle Ages have been torn down. The new representative centre was born in the north part of the castle. In 1653 Ferenc Nádasdy ordered to paint the ceiling of the festive hall; the author of this piece of art hides behind the initials H.R.M.

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The Sárvár Castle

There is a small chapel in front of the castle. The majority of the rooms have an even ceiling, while some halls were arched. The tower has four floors with simple, four-angled windows.

The professor is wondering how long some of the castles and mansions have been in a deep historic sleep and how difficult it must have been to reawaken then and bring them back to life.

The first reconstructions of the castle started in 1958; during stage 1 the walls of the fortress, which were added to the castle at a later time, have been torn down, for they were not a part of the original building. The year 1962 was known as the time of preparations, assessments, researches and revitalisation plans. In the spring of 1962 the director of the museum Géza Nógrádi noticed some cracks in the festive hall, so he ordered a precise check-up, which determined that the walls of the tower and festive hall have started to cave in, therefore the castle was statically reinforced. The iron-concrete bridge was built anew in 1968.

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The Sárvár Castle

Because of all the renovation work the Technical School decided to move out of the castle.

In the Ferenc Nádasdy museum one can see a permanent exhibition showing the town's local history from the Roman times until this day. The historic exhibition introduces printing and publishing on the Nádasdy estates and a millennium of Hungarian Huzar's from the beginning of the Nomadic time till World War II. Here one can also admire the Carta Hungarica, a collection of 58 maps and an atlas, which was given to the museum as a gift in 1986 by a native, who lives in Oxford, England.

The healing water in the health resort and spas made Sárvár the 7th most popular tourist town in the country. This was determined according to the number of overnight stays. The professor is thinking about spending the rest of this late August Saturday in the spa or in one of the nearby adrenalin parks. He finally decides for the soothing water, which gives him enough energy for the evening to finish the chapter on the Vas megye castles.

References:

Sárvár. Accessed on: February 23, 2015. Accessible at: http://sl.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A1rv%C3%A1r

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The Sárvár Castle
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The Sárvár Castle
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The Sárvár Castle

The Catholic Church of St. Ladislav is a Middle Age chapel of the Holy Trinity that was built on the former square of Sárvár in 1645 with the help of judge Ferenc Nádasdy.

The Protestant Church
The main characteristic of this classicistic church is the vestry wall that was used in the area of Podonavje to separate the apse from the church.  

The Adventure Park is the ideal place to test your courage and enjoy yourself on paths of different difficulty levels and in high-climbing courses.

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The Sárvár Castle

Healing Water
While drilling for oil in 1961 Sárvár found its valuable natural resource, i.e. thermal water. There are two kinds of water in Sárvár, the one that springs from 1,200 meters of depth and warms up to 43°C and the water from 2.000 meters of depth reaching 83°C.

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The Sárvár Castle

On the FUTUR project

The tourist offers of West Hungary and the Pomurje region in the northeast of Slovenia are very diverse. The joint cross-border area has a rich natural, built and cultural heritage, a lot of healing and thermal water and amazing tourist programmes to offer. The goal of the FUTUR project is to create and develop a common tourist area that will not be limited by parish and state borders.

Involved in the project: the Vas megye local government, the Mura Regional Development Agency and the municipalities of Apače, Beltinci, Grad, Križevci, Lendava, Ljutomer and Moravske Toplice.
 
The FUTUR project is being carried out within the Operational Programme Slovenia-Hungary 2007-2013 for cross-border cooperation and is co-financed from the European Regional Development Fund and from state resources.

 

Contact: Romeo Varga (+386 2 534 80 24, romeo@rra-mura.si)

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E-monograph on courts and castles:
Draft and design: Frontal d.o.o.
Implementation: Frontlab d.o.o.
Author of text: Norma Bale

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