UZHHOROD CASTLE

The Transcarpathian Region is a special area on the map of Ukraine. Cut off from the rest of the country by the Carpathian Mountains, this land remained aside from the military and political life in Ukraine during the long centuries, while the country was torn by internal conflicts and autocratic neighbors like Poland, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire. The Transcarpathian Region was the land where the history of Hungary, including the struggle of Hungarian people for independence from the Austrian Empire of Habsburgs, was taking place.

uzhhorod-castle-2The center of historic events in the Transcarpathian Region was the city of Uzhhorod. The Uzhhorod Castle walls still keep the memory of the past.

Main buildings of Uzhhorod Castle, which have been preserved, were constructed during the rule of the Drugets, who were a noble family of Italian origin. They held the castle from 1322 to 1691. The castle received its today’s appearance in the late 17th century under Miklosh Bercheni, who inherited the castle from his wife, the last representative of the Draget dynasty. The grim fortress turned into a hospitable palace that became the center of Uzhhorod social life. After Bercheni, the castle was occupied by the Greek Catholic episcopate, and for the last fifty years, it has been housing the Transcarpathian History Museum.

uzhhorod-castleThe castle, which towers on the 30-meter-high hill, was designed with account of the terrain: the irregular guadrangle with bastions, protruding in the comers. In the wide castle courtyard there is a park with sculptures. Here you can also see the foundations of the oldest church in Uzhhorod, the Church of St Yuri (St George).
The three-storied building of the castle is hanging over the steepest side of the hill. It consists of four wings encircling the square inner courtyard with a well. In the corners there are towers. The castle was used not only as the residence of the Drugets, but also as a strong citadel, capable of resistance even when the enemy captures the external bastions. The thickness of the castle walls with loopholes reaches three meters, there were also a prison, and a torture chamber arranged in underground casemates.

uzhhorod-castle-1The castle building is surrounded by a moat and one could enter it by way of the drawbridge, which has been replaced by a stone bridge in our days. The archway entrance is decorated with bas-reliefs depicting four blackbirds, which is the family coat of arms of the Drugets. When during Bercheni’s ownership the castle became a center of social life, the new entrance to the castle was arranged, framed by a terrace with a balustrade.

uzhhorod-castleToday in the thirty halls of the castle, there are expositions by the Transcarpathian History Museum, telling the peculiar and surprising history of the Transcarpathian land. The gem of the exhibition is a collection of bronze items: weapons, household items, and jewelry.