They say what you do on the first day of New Year’s day is going to be like the rest of your year. Although I’m not superstitious, I didn’t wash (which I should have), sewed, or pounded (not that I could), didn’t take out the trash, but ate lentils and even pork, because it’s supposed to bring me luck. After considering my previous year and gathering my thoughts (you can read it here), I went to the Danube bend and did not stop until Visegrad Castle. Just to start 2020 with a clean day and head, I took a long walk, sot that the rest of my year will be the same. Let’s say I could let the freezing cold out of 2020.
I think everyone has heard of Visegrad Castle in Hungary. It is a popular destination for school trips, a popular weekend excursion for families. Visegrad can really provide a meaningful and complex program for all ages with its adventure park, bobsleigh track, wellness hotels and many hiking trails.
I only had time to visit the castle now, given that the New Year’s Eve party lasted long, but thanks to this I saw the castle in its splendor at sunset, from which one of the most beautiful views of the Duna can be seen. Maybe the Prédikálószék lookout tower can top this, but I haven’t hiked there yet, I want to make up for it this year.
The entrance to the castle is HUF 1700, while you need to pay for the parking a price of HUF 300/hour. In exchange for the ticket, you can get an insight into several thematic exhibitions, such as a castle history exhibition, a panopticon, hunting-fighting and farming exhibition, as well as many interesting things about the Holy Crown. The crown jewels, including the Holy Crown, were kept in Visegrad Castle for a long time until 1529.
There are many interesting things about the castle. The famous Visegrad meeting was held here in 1335, which was the most important “diplomatic summit” in the history of Central and Eastern Europe in the 14th century. King Károly Róbert of Hungary, King Kazimir of Poland and King John of the Czech Republic have formed an alliance with each other – in addition to the Prince of Bavaria, so we can formally talk about a meeting of three kings – so that Vienna’s right to stop goods should be excluded and instead they will use the roads through Morava and Czech Republic from Hungary.
The disputes between the Czech and Polish kings were also calmly settled and it was agreed that if either of their countries were attacked externally, the others would be obliged to come to the other’s aid. The successful meeting was celebrated with ample feasts, for which Queen Elizabeth name day put up the crown on 19 November. At the time, they had no idea that 100 years later, at the behest of another Queen Elizabeth, it would be stolen from the head of one of them, and that King Mátyás would be forced to rule without a crown for six years.
As I was in the castle walls, I wondered what life was like in the country under the ruling of the Hungarian kings until the Turkish dominance. Was the women’s house, built by Zsigmond of Luxembourg, was filled up with laughter and happiness? What the court looked like in renaissance times, when the sounds of lute, cimbalom and cone filled the ballroom? Or the famous jousts, where brave soldiers competed for the favor of the lady-in-court, of whom, as we know, there were nearly 20,000 during the reign of King Matthias, as pillars of the famous black army.
Visegrad was taken over by the Turks in 1544 and suffered enormous damage during the ruling. Not only the castle, but also the city around it became completely uninhabited and depopulated. Today, quite a few parts of the former citadel remained intact, although excavation work and restorations of the ruins are still underway to this day.
Bathing in the rays of the sun, January 1st I was wondering about the past. And even though Carrie Bradshow, the emblematic figure from Sex and the City, collects shoes, I collect trips and memories. But “can we have a future if our past is our present?”
“can we have a future if our past is our present?”