A living castle in Zemplén – Story of the Füzér exhibition

The Füzér castle is one of the most romantic ones in the southern ranges of the Eperjes-Tokaj Mountains, the Hungarian part of which is commonly known as Zemplén Mountains. The hard-to-access rock pinnacle was the site of a castle as early as the age of the Árpáds, first time mentioned in a document dated in 1264. This document indicates the first known owner of the castle: the “blind master Andronicus” of the clan of Kompolt. It was from him that King Andrew II bought the castle. King Bela IV bestowed it on his daughter Anne, but the castle was obtained by military force by the king’s son, Prince Stephen. The prince – the later King Stephen V – bestowed the castle on his own supporter Count Michael in 1270. This deed of bestowal is the first to describe the belongings and the boundaries of the Füzér castle.

In the centuries that followed the castle changed hands several times, but was owned by the Perényi family for the longest period of time. In the second half of the 16th century, after the family died out, the castle became the possession of the Báthory family, then that of the Nádasdys. The fate of the castle was intertwined with the political downfalls of Judge Royal Ferenc Nádasdy and the last tenant, Ferenc Bónis, who were both sentenced to beheading and confiscation because of their participation in the conspiracy of Palatine Wesselényi. They were executed at the same time on 30 April 1671. The castle was taken over by the court treasury, but they did not bother about either the castle or the estate. They vacated the buildings in 1676, buried the well and the cistern and set fire to the entire building complex.

Péter Perényi, the Crown Guard of John I of Szapolyai who was crowned king after the battle of Mohács, safeguarded the Holy Crown here, in Füzér. The crown was safeguarded here for almost a year; the Holy Crown Exhibition commemorates this event with the pictures of photographer Károly Szelényi, introducing visitors to the iconography of the crown. The second event was a story worthy of an adventure movie: Gábor, the son of Péter Perényi minted counterfeited money in the cellar under the chapel to be used as ransom to liberate his father, imprisoned in Vienna. A coin exhibition showcasing the history of coins in 16th-17th century Hungary will commemorate this event in Füzér.

The castles of historical Hungary will be presented at the lifetime achievement exhibition of Frigyes Kőnig, a Munkácsy Prize-winning artist and a professor of the University of Fine Arts, in the modern exhibition room created in the attic of the castle.

Furthermore, naturally, a lapidary and a number of 3D animations will also help visitors get acquainted with the architectural history of the castle. Other than the lapidary, a chamber exhibition on wine history and one on 17th century brewing will also welcome visitors in the cellars.

The castle of Füzér is an outstanding monument of Hungarian history, a vestige of our past.