Gyula Castle was built in the 15th century and is the only lowland Gothic brick castle in Central Europe that has remained intact. Its relative completeness as seen today is the result of the protection provided by the aristocratic family that owned the neighbouring Almásy Castle. Unlike many Hungarian castles, this building escaped destruction because it was used as a design element – a ‘romantic ruin’ – in the garden of the Almásy Castle.
From fort to garden jewel
Let’s go back in time a little to the 15th century, a period in Hungarian history that was full of adventures. What we know about the construction of the castle for sure is that the chapel in the castle was consecrated in 1445. Later, the castle was given to and expanded by John Corvinus, the illegitimate son of legendary Hungarian King Matthias. In 1566, constable László Kerecsényi managed to prevent the invasion of the Ottoman forces for nine weeks, but was ultimately forced to surrender. There then followed 129 years of Ottoman rule in the castle, which the invaders only left in 1695. Its strategic importance slowly faded, although it still had some role in the 18th century, during the Rákóczi War of Independence, and after the repression of the War of Independence of 1848-1849 against the Habsburg rule. The slowly decaying castle was given a different function in the 18th century: it was used as a pálinka house, a county meeting hall, a prison, and then gradually becoming a romantic decorative structure in the garden of Almásy Castle, which had been built in the meantime, until renovation works commenced in the 1950s