Castle Simontornya

The Tower was built in the 13th century by Simon (Son of Salamon) in the swampland of the Sió River. The name Simontornya means Simon’s Tower. Nearly all owners of the castle made some alterations throughout the centuries. The Lackfis built a new gothic wing in the 14th century, altered the old Tower, and added an arcaded loggia to the back-front. After the perish of the House of Garai in 1482, the castle again belonged to Queen Beatrix, wife of Matthias Corvinus. Mózes Buzlay, marshall of King Ulászló II reconstructed the castle into a renaissance palace with the help of Italian masters and craftsmen from Buda. After Buzlays’ death the castle was taken over by the Turks in 1545. This event marked the beginning of a new era with an emphasis on military requirements. During the nearly 150 years of occupation minor alterations and refinements were constantly being made. Simontornya, the center of a sandjak was recaptured by Louis William, Margrave of Baden-Baden in 1686. In just two years (1702-1704) major alterations turned the castle into a fortress. During the revolution against the Habsburgs, led by Prince Francis II Rákóczi, Simontornya became the stronghold of the Kuruc rebels in southwest Hungary. The fortress was captured by the Austrian army in 1709, and troops were housed here until 1717. The castle fortress was later donated to the House of Limburg-Stirum, but, after building a new a castle, they turned the old one into a barn. It has been used as a barn by all new owners until 1960, when archeological excavations started. Our reconstruction models embody several periods, and we are still very proud of this work as it even got the prestigious role to be cover art on a National Geographic magazine.

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