The nearly undamaged medieval castle with historical exhibitions, theatre performances and festivals is the symbol of Siklós. Renovation works started in 2010. A dungeon museum with instruments of torture, an exhibition on winegrowing and winemaking, history of warfare and weapons, religion and ethnography await visitors. A travel back in time just a short way from the wine region of Villány.
Siklós is a town in Baranya county, at the foot of Tenkes Hill. It is not only the economic centre of the area but also has played a key role in history as the home of great ancient families. However, it is the castle that most people associate the town with as one of the most undamaged medieval castles of Hungary, mostly with Rennaissance style features.
High curtain walls, bastions and towers protect the castle itself surrounded by the castle district, where a former Franciscan monastery and church also stands.
A little history
Constructing the castle began around 1260. It was first mentioned in a document dated 1294. It was owned by the Soklyósys until 1387 when it passed into the hands of Garais. They extended the castle with a Gothic wing and a chapel with a Gothic vault. From 1515, it was the Perényis who continued developments adding Rennaissance-style elements to the building.
Siklós neither could escape the Turkish siege and it was occupied in 1543 for 143 years. The next large-scale renovation took place in the 18th century by the Batthyánys adding Baroque-style features. The last private owners, the Benyovszkys, left the castle during WW2 and it remained abandoned and looted until the mid-50s. Renovation works began in 1956 and the castle was home to a museum, a hotel and a restaurant until the turn of the century. Since 2000, it has been owned by the local government. The most recent works started in 2010 to restore the building and extend the range of services and facilities.
The castle hosts ever-changing exhibitions. The southern wing hosts the dungeon exhibition with instruments of torture, tools for winegrowing and winemaking, plastic figures of characters in a TV series set in and around the castle during Rákóczi’s war of independence (“A Tenkes kapitánya” (The Captain of Tenkes), 1963). A selection of Rennaissance furniture is displayed on the ground floor, the first-floor exhibition features medieval weapons and 20th century paintings by Kálmán Istókovits and Béla Simon. The second floor presents the history of the castle and an ethnographic collection of local Serbians. The eastern wing is dedicated for temporary exhibitions.
The castle also functions as a venue for various events, such weddings, concerts, festivals and theatre performances.
Additional attractions in Siklós include the Mosque of Malkoc Bey renovated in 1993 and rewarded with the Europa Nostra Award (an award for excellence in clutural heritage conservation), churches for Reformed Church, Roman Catholic and Serbian Orthodox communities. A wing of the one-time Franciscan monastery is dedicated to the House of Ceramic Art.
Some noteworthy attractions are just a short way from Siklós. The Shrine of Máriagyűd with a Baroque church is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites thanks to apparitions of Virgin Mary and incidences of healings in the 17th century. Csodabogyó (butcher's-broom) Nature Trail nearby guides visitors along a path of 2.5 kms to a lookout tower just below the peak of Tenke Hill. Another option for hiking is offered by Ammonites Nature Trail on Templom-hegy (Church Hill) in Villány to explore the famous locale of ammonites. Head to Szársomlyó to take a guided tour and discover the only habitat of Hungarian crocus with 70 other protected species of plants. The statue collection of Nagyharsány displays abstract artifacts and Harkány offers a thermal spa with a history of 200 years for exhausted travellers.