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Szigetvár castle (Southern Transdanubia)

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The foundations of the Szigetvár castle were laid around the end of the 14th century on an island in the floodplain of the Almás stream. It gained its present shape through a number of owners.

Its name entered into the history of Hungary with the siege of 1566 when Croatian viceroy, Miklós Zrínyi, commander of the castle at the time, stopped the 100-120.000 strong army of Sultan Suleiman, which was on its way to attack Vienna. Zrínyi was defending the castle with his 2500 soldiers, but he gave up the outer fortress after the unceasing siege, and withdrew to the inner castle with his remaining 200 soldiers. Suleiman died on 5th September, which neither the besieging army nor the defenders of the castle were aware of. Two days later – as they could no longer hold the burning inner castle – Zrínyi stormed out of the castle with his remaining soldiers and they were all – with the exception of some people – slaughtered by the Turks.

After the fall of the castle there was a Turkish flag raised above the town for 122 years. This period left us numerous Turkish architectural relics. One of these is, in the middle of the castle yard, the Suleiman djami with the ruined minaret.

In the town centre of Szigetvár we can find the djami of Ali Pasa, wich was later converted to a Roman Catholic parish church. The painting by the renowned artist István Dorffmeister, depicting the fall of the castle and the recapture of the town, which he finished in 1788, can be seen here.

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