The Fortress of Szigliget

Geology of Szigliget
58During the Miocene Era (between 5 and 10 million years ago) a shallow warm sea was located here and in the Carpathian Basin. It is called the Pannonian Sea. The sea gradually became a lake and it was filled up by river silt. Finally the area became dry land.
 In the Pliocene Era volcanic processes created the basaltic hills of the Tapolca Basin. One of these hills is Szigliget. The hills created by basaltic volcanism are called “Witness hills“. The most famous witness hills are Badacsony, Szengyörgy Hill, Csobánc, Gulács and Tátika.  These beautiful hiking spots are all located in the area of Szigliget.

The history of the 751-year-old castle.
64The first fortress on the hilltop was built in the second half of the 13th century, in 1262 by the Benedictine order to protect the people from the Tartar invasion.
At the beginning, the castle was smaller than the ruins we can see today, but gradually extensions, new parts were added to it during the following centuries. In the past the castle was attacked several times and it also had many owners.
The castle has never worn the flag of the Ottoman Empire; its soldiers had bravely protected it during the 150-year Turkish occupation. After the Turkish had left the country, the castle has never regained its big role in protection.
From the end of the 17th century the fortress became neglected, and later destroyed by a lightning strike.  Finally it was demolished in 1702 when Leopold I ordered to explode it.
Later, during Rákóczi's war of independence it wasn't used anymore and people took the stones of the castle to build their houses. It is also known that Szigliget Hill, by the way, was an island until 1822, because the water level of Lake Balaton was higher).

Today the renovation of the fortress is under way, and the ruins of the castle are well-known in the area, so many tourists like to make trips there on foot or by bike.

Written by Lilla Balogh