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I was invited for a two days “magical mystery tour”

Although the Southern area of Hungary’s main known cities are: Pécs and Harkány,

with both having their own history of excitements,


the castle of Siklós is less known, that it has the most medieval history in Hungary.

Once the Pun said:“Siklós, is the city of castle” (Siklós, a vár városa)

Left Budapest pretty early with a bunch of 38 persons on a comfy bus, at the time when even the cocks didn’t crow or at least in Budapest. The distance we have had ahead of us was 240kms from Budapest to Siklós. On our way the weather was cloudy with sprinkles of rain, as usually in the season of Fall. The temperature outside was just fine for that day of touring. On our way beautiful hilly and plain landscapes, old folk villages and cows, goats, horses out on their pasture-fields passed us by.

The main attraction in Siklós is the castle, the appearance of which dates back to the 18th century. It is one of the best-preserved castles in Hungary. The city’s ecclesiastic and other heritage sites are like rolling back in time to the medieval ages.

The clock hands twirl back to the times when here was a military camp called Seren. It was established during the Roman times on the scenario the city of to-day. There are early recordings of the fortress dated 1190.The first record as a settlement existence dates back to 1294. Since then it, became for the most prominent noble families the seat of their estates.. In 1394, the Garai family purchased the castle, who extended it over decades. The Gothic wing and the chapel with its rich Gothic vaulting, shows much to that era. In 1515, the Perényi family continued the castle’s construction to their need and style, adding the Renaissance refurbishment.

At the times of the Ottoman occupation, the Turkish used the castle as a fortress. They had also mosques built-in the outskirts of the town.

In the 18th century, the Batthyány family redeveloped and expanded the castle in the Baroque style. In the 19th century it had completely lost its looks as a military role. The Count Kázmér Batthyány, foreign minister in the Kossuth Government, rests in the Castle’s chapel. The chapel inside the castle is among the most beautiful examples of its kind in Hungary. It has an organ and they hold organ concerts as well. The frescos had went through a huge reconstruction and found underneath layers of previous frescos. The colourful high standing window-glass were damaged during the WW2, but have been remade and the natural light is simply breathtaking in this small chapel. To-day, this small chapel is a fond scene for the couples to hold their wedding.

On our way to Mohács, we stopped by:


The Memorial Park
commemorates the fight and the soldiers died during the battle against the

Today a national memorial site, an area surrounding the town that was once the scene of tragedy preceding the Turkish period.

There is an estimation of 28,000 Hungarian soldiers lost their lives in the defeat at the hands of the Turkish that sealed Hungary’s fate for the following 150 years. This tragedy gained symbolic value in the Hungarian national psyche and left one of the most indelible marks on its historical memory. The battle lasted an hour and a half but its consequence was a century and a half of Turkish rule, which excluded the Hungarians from their was short in time but heavy in  lost of lives.

The memorial gate, made by the goldsmith József Pölöskei. A breathtaking artwork! artwork symbolises the fallen heroes. Its bronze units are fold together with 28,000 rivets as an indication of the appr. number of fallen soldiers.

Many carved wooden statues are dedicated to the anonymous memory of valiant soldiers. There are also statues of the persons that took part in the battle: Jagiellon Louis II., Dorottya Kanizsai (who was searching for the her son’s body, had all the bodies buried after the battle) Pál Tomori (Archbishop of Kalocsa and supreme commander of the Hungarian troops during the battle), Sultan Suleiman, the victorious Turkish monarch. The magnificent sculptures were created by artists: József Király, Sándor Kiss, Pál Kő and István Szabó Jr.

Dorottya (Dorothy) Kanizsai, the former lady of the castle, has a statue in the garden area. She was the one who had the dead to be buried after the great battle at Mohács.

As an acknowledgment of the restoration works on the mosque, the heritage building received the International Europe Nostra award in 1992

Now-a-days the castle shares places in its rooms and halls for exhibitions. Throughout the decades Siklós, the former market town continued to grow as a large village and by 1977 it received the city rights.

Seeing the castle and the remained prints of the medieval times of Siklós is worthwhile to stop for a couple of days to leave your footsteps there by exactly rolling down the River Danube, renting a car, or traveling by bus.

So after leaving our footsteps at the Castle surroundings, the show rolled on by visiting the newest „child” in the „family” of Siklós. Her name is Thermal Spa Siklós, born August, 6. 2010.

Stepping in through the door at the Thermal Spa, the first thing you recognize are the secure high walls dividing the pools. Some pools have waterfalls, “tropical plants and trees” that makes you feel you are somewhere in between a land of wonders. These bath walls holds three pools for kids and six pools for the adults. The spa has opt. for folks to enjoy the adventure in the pools of temp.33-36C. The secure walls enlighten to the times to recall the picture of the surrounding walls of the castle of Siklós. The thermal spa offers: the Turkish bath, message, stream bath, infra sauna, aroma cabin, Jacuzzi, Finnish sauna and a perfect relaxing and healing salt cave assures the place to reach to enjoy and to recharge yourself. (Unfortunately we had to run like the Rabbit in “Alice in Wonderland”, no water experience, no relaxation, hmmm maybe next time). The “running” was to show us more-and-more places by the superb  local  organizers, whom escorted us all along the way. Fabulous hosts with heartful hospitality! They absolutely fulfilled their “adventure” with us. There is also an outdoor pool with the size of 33m in length. Now-a-days not too much in use, but next year the sunbathing terrace will welcome those who wish to get their natural tan. In the meantime the spa thought of those who still wish to keep their summer-tan by having a solarium at the spot.

Couldn’t have imagined a better place have our next stop!

Reach the food scene!

The name of the place was the Csárda of “Tenkes”

Indeed, was a great idea by the organizers of the study tour to shift us over to this extremely well-arranged to the old country-style restaurant, not to mention the grand variety of home-made countryside food that were served on huge carved wooden plates, if it can at all be called a plate. The size of food on this wooden plate isn’t for lunch or supper for two person. It was food to last for a week ahead. The study tour group was lead to an outdoor hall. The top, as a roof was covered by hard polyethylene. As shown in the snaps the “side walls” were absolutely in the countryside stylish. Four hundred kgs. of dried hay was cut into the form of huge bricks and planted all around. Well, it was something in sight and sence that enlighten the whole place. The hay walls were a unique idea. Nothing similar seen before. The snaps will remain snaps, so I would really recommend all to definitely visit the Csárda of Tenkes to cherish to environment, the scene and especially the marvellous taste of food the restaurant lines up. Here just mentioning a couple of dishes,wooden-plate to excite you. As for the starter: great plain goose liver pasta with fresh red onion jam. Soup, what else would be so common there. Yes,  the Tenkes Gulyás with potato balls. Oh and one of my favorite.: crispy duck legs with steamed sweet red cabbage and parsley potato, yummy. As for the desert: fried sweet cottage cheese balls with “whistling” (it is called whistling, because after ya snip it, soon you will start whistling!) apricot jam sprinkled with pálinka. Beside the red and white wine, they serve home-made plum pálinka. Now, if this menu of mine got your attention, go ahead and give it a try. Superb hospitality, I must say. The service was outstanding, quick and everybody felt they are there just for you.

Continuing our study tour, we left the City of Siklós and hit the road again on route58, just 47kms away to reach the City of Mohács.

Entering the city of Mohács, our first station was to visit to the

TOWN HALL „Városháza” of MOHÁCS

whereas the participatants of the study tour was welcomed by József Szekó, the major of Mohács and Katalin Rittlinger Pécsváriné, Head of Office.

As entering into the Town’s Hall on both sides hanging on the wall up along the stairway, watercolour pictures showing the scene of a Busó carnival painted by János Pleidell that surely caught many of our attention. Stepping in the Assembly Hall an enormous, brilliant goblin scene brought alive  the legendary festival of the Buso’s. The major of Mohács gave an overview of the City’s activities, economics and the „Kálmán Széll” plan that has promoted to bloom the City’s infrastructure, visits of tourist, nature and culture attractions. The City has excellent geographic characters: folk customs, folk trade, outstanding sights, tasteful surprising gastronomy, leisure, sporting possibilities. The guest’s of the study tour where warmly welcomed by the so typical Hungarian drink during the cold season:  a mug of mulled wine, home-made “pogácsa” and a folk group playing folk dancing tunes. Was a very touchy greeting from the hosts.The city’s main square is truly the center of Mohács in every sence. Here the eye meets the outstanding Town’s Hall, that was erected to commemorate the 400 year of its anniversary of the great battle of Mohács. Aladár ÁRKAY was the designer of the Town Hall in 1926.

(Follow-up will be continued by Day 2 : Rolling in Mohács.)

Update and snaps by  Aggie Reiter

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Chris on 28/10/2011 at 09:28

    It never ceases to fascinate me how the Hungarian folk place so much store in their history and the efforts in restoration are marvellous….Might I comment your reporter has done an excellent job once again making this site a place of continual interest…Well researched and descriptive enable readers like myself to share the experience from far away….Well Done….Kep up the good work

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