We are in the historical town of Diósgyőr which is now part of the Hungarian city Miskolc.
Diósgyőr castle is a window into the traditions and history of this often-forgotten section of Northern Hungary and, in fact, It’s unlikely that you will find many tourists in this part of country.
Its walls were likely constructed around the 13th-century upon a rock hill elevating from the valley of the Szinva stream, and the castle itself has a complicated history, as it was destroyed not long after its construction during a Mongol invasion (1241–42) that left the structure in ruins.
The castle that stands today was probably built by King Béla IV, who, after the Mongols left the country, ordered a castle to be built on every hilltop.
It was 1364 when King Louis the Great of Hungary (1342-1382) attached a large estate to the castle that, eventually, became known as the finest castle in the country.
Its design was based on Italian and French models complete with a moat, four massive towers, two-story suites connecting the towers, and the largest great hall in all of medieval Central Europe.
When Louis took the Hungarian and Polish throne, he spent some time in Diósgyőr Castle because of its proximity to the Bükk forest.
The forest, now a national park, was filled with deer, bears, boar, and bison, basically the ideal hunting grounds for the king.
Following the death of Louis, the castle became a wedding gift for the queens of Hungary, which it remained until the Ottoman invasion of Hungary in the 16th century. After the tragedy that was the Battle of Mohács in 1526, it began to deteriorate. Nineteenth-century paintings and photographs only show the castle in ruins, but in 1962, a restoration effort began and lasted for ten years. In 2014 the castle was restored and its rooms are furnished with Mediaeval-style furniture.
Today, the castle hosts various jousting tournaments and sporting events.
On the wall of the castle there is a memorial plate commemorating the visit of the famous poet Sándor Petőfi to Diósgyőr on July 8, 1847.
He wrote his poem Alkony (“Sunset”) here:
Olyan a nap, mint a hervadt rózsa,
Lankadtan bocsátja le fejét;
Levelei, halvány sugárok,
Bús mosollyal hullnak róla szét.
Néma, csendes a világ körűlem,
Távol szól csak egy kis estharang,
Távol s szépen, mintha égbül jönne
Vagy egy édes álomtól e hang.
Hallgatom mély figyelemmel. Oh ez
Ábrándos hang jólesik nekem.
Tudj isten, mit érzek, mit nem érzek,
Tudja isten, hol jár az eszem.
The sun bends her head down slowly
Like a fading, fragrant rose
Her faint beams, her soft golden leaves
Fall down in sad, silent glows.
The world is silent ’round me, the
Sweet sound of the evening bell
Seems to come from the sweetest dream
Or from where the angels dwell.
I’m listening, and it feels so
Good to hear this dreamy sound
God only knows what do I feel
God only knows what’s on my mind.