Visegrád

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Visegrád is a small castle town in Pest County, Hungary.

It is north of Budapest on the right bank of the Danube in the Danube Bend. It had a population of 1,864 in 2010. Visegrád is famous for the remains of the Early Renaissance summer palace of King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary and the medieval citadel.

History : Visegrád was first mentioned in 1009 as a county town and the chief town of an archdeaconry. After the destructive Mongol invasion of Europe in 1242, the town was rebuilt in a slightly different location to the south. King Charles I of Hungary made Visegrád, his hometown, the royal seat of Hungary in 1325. In the same time his diplomat Stephen Sáfár was appointed castellan. In 1335, Charles hosted at Visegrád a two-month congress with the Bohemian king, John of Luxembourg, and the Polish king, Casimir III. It was crucial in creating a peace between the three kingdoms and securing an alliance between Poland and Hungary against Habsburg Austria. Another congress followed in 1338.

Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Hungary and Croatia, moved the royal seat to Buda between 1405 and 1408. King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary used Visegrád as a country residence. Visegrád lost importance after the partition of the Kingdom of Hungary following the Battle of Mohács in 1526. In 1991, the leading politicians of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Poland met here to form a periodical forum, the Visegrád group, with an intentional allusion to the meeting centuries earlier in 1335.

  • Monuments : Visegrád Castle  At present, the Tower houses exhibitions installed by the King Matthias Museum (Mátyás Király Múzeum) of Visegrád. The exhibitions present the reconstructed Gothic fountains from the Royal Palace, Renaissance sculpture in Visegrád, and the history of Visegrád.
  • Royal Palace : The first royal house on this site was built by King Charles I of Hungary after 1325. In the second half of the 14th century, this was enlarged into a palace by his son, King Louis I of Hungary. In the last third of the 14th century, King Louis and his successor Sigismund of Luxembourg had the majority of the earlier buildings dismantled and created a new, sumptuous palace complex, the extensive ruins of which are still visible today. The palace complex was laid out on a square ground plan measuring 123 x 123 m. A garden adjoined to it from the north and a Franciscan friary, founded by King Sigismund in 1424, from the south. In the time of Louis I and Sigismund, the palace was the official residence of the kings of Hungary until about 1405-08.

Between 1477 and 1484 Matthias Corvinus had the palace complex reconstructed in late Gothic style. The Italian Renaissance architectural style was used for decoration, the first time the style appeared in Europe outside Italy. After the Ottoman Turks’ siege in 1544, the palace fell into ruins. By the 18th century it was completely covered by earth. Its excavation began in 1934 and continues today. The reconstructed royal residence building is open to the public and houses exhibitions on the history of the palace and reconstructed historical interiors.

Acces : Location: City of Visegrad is 46 km north of Budapest (GPS N 47°46′ 47.18″ E 18°58’57.94″) and about. 15 km west of the city of Vac
By train : 1 Nagymaros–Visegrád Railway Station (Nagymaros–Visegrád Vasútállomás) (the station will be  300m away from the Nagymaros pier, on the opposite side of the river so you need to take a 5-minute ferry ride across; ferries are scheduled to train arrivals). From Budapest Nyugati railway station ( 40-60 minutes, runs every 60 minutes) all stop at Vác. Train timetable.
By bus : Take a direct bus at Budapest, Árpád híd bus station to Visegrád ( 80 minutes, runs every 20-60 minutes). Also regularly buses to Esztergom. Volan bus timetable
By boat : 2 Visegrád Boat Station (Visegrádi hajóállomás), Visegrád, Rév utca (Visegrád center), ☎ +36 26 398-296. A more expensive (but much more picturesque) way to get from Budapest (Vigadó tér and Batthyány tér) to Visegrád is an excursion boat toward Esztergom stop here (May to Aug, daily once except Monday, + Sept only Sundays, ticket OW/RW, HUF2000/3000, 2014) via Vác and an other one operating (Jul to Aug only Sat, Sun, +May 31, Jun 1, Sept 27 three and half hours, ticket OW/RW, HUF2000/3000, 2014) via Szentendre, Leányfalu, Tahitótfalu. Also a hydrofoil service run from Budapest, Vigadó tér by Mahart (weekly twice, only between May and September, one hour). A hydrofoil ticket (OW/RW, HUF, 2014) to Budapest 4000/6000, Esztergom 2500/4000
3 Nagymaros ferry pier (Nagymaros-Visegrád RÉV), Magyar utca, ☎ +36 26 398344 (ferry info). Boats to Visegrád (at 06.30, and between 08:00 and 21:00 hourly, cca. 15min). Schedules are indicative due to water, weather and other reasons.

Go next  :    Esztergom

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