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Fortress

Solomon’s Tower, Lower Castle (Visegrád)

Fortress · Börzsönyvidék · open
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  • The statue of King Béla IV and Solomon’s Tower (Visegrád)
    / The statue of King Béla IV and Solomon’s Tower (Visegrád)
    Photo: visitvisegrad.hu
  • /
    Photo: Kisida András, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • / The portal of the Lower Castle
    Photo: Kisida András, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • / School trip to Solomon’s Tower (Visegrád)
    Photo: Ƀálint $ztankó, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • / Medieval show at Solomon’s Tower (Visegrád)
    Photo: Ƀálint $ztankó, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • / Solomon’s Tower, Lower Castle (Visegrád)
    Photo: Ƀálint $ztankó, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • / The view from the Danube over Solomon’s Tower, Lower Castle (Visegrád)
    Photo: Ƀálint $ztankó, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • / The top at 31 metres offers a splendid view
    Photo: Ƀálint $ztankó, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
Solomon’s Tower built as the lower fort for the citadel in the 13th century is one of the most popular attractions of Visegrád.  It was named after Solomon, King of Hungary by mistake. It offers an exhibition, medieval shows and a fascinating view over the Danube Bend.

Constructing the concentric defence of Visegrád was commissioned after the Mongol Raid in the 1250s by Béla IV and it was extended and upgraded several times throughout the centuries. 

The Lower Castle (Alsóvár) included a large keep defended by a curtain wall with a barbican and towers. It simultaneously served as a royal retreat, housing for the count and a military construction. Salamon’s Tower is the core part of the Lower Fort with a height of 31 metres.  

It was named after King Solomon by mistake. It was in the late 11th century when former king Solomon was kept in captivity for two years by Ladislaus I in a castle nearby. This event was relocated in folklore to the Lower Castle, which did not even exist at the time. So, despite it is anachronistic, the name remained. 

The legend has it that while Solomon was kept there, pumpkin lanterns (not to confuse with jack-o'-lantern) were used in the castle for the purpose of surveillance at night. The tower with the lights also proved useful for navigation on the Danube. This is what explains the Hungarian saying “It shines like Solomon’s pumpkin”. Because the Hungarian word “tök” for pumpkin is also used informally in the sense “balls”, that is “testicles”, the saying provokes alternative associations in native speakers. 

The living quarters on the four upper storeys of the tower were accessible via a staircase in the southern corner. The luxury of life here is evidenced by the stone columned fireplaces and the ornamental windows. The thickness of the walls reaches 8 meters at some spots. 

The Lower Castle was connected to the Citadel with a fortified wall stretching to the guard tower by the river. One of the castle’s main functions was to control the road connecting Buda and Esztergom as well as river transport. The tower was well-located to monitor both. 

The Lower Castle survived several conflicts and changes in ownership but during a siege by the Turkish in 1544 it was completely devastated. Although it had lost its military function it was again involved in later sieges due to its proximity to the Citadel. At the end of the 17th century, the Lower Castle was burned down by the Turkish troops while evacuating and locals reinhabiting Visegrád scavenged castle stones for their own use. 

Restoration was first initiated in 1872. It was planned to rebuild the tower as a hunting castle designed by Frigyes Schulek (reputable Hungarian architect renowned for design and restoration of several landmarks in the country), but the project was prevented by financial issues. In the 20th century, minor progress was made, but a fire in the 1950s halted construction works. The current shape of the tower had been given by the mid-60s by plans of architect János Sedlmayr János. 

Today it is home to an exhibition hall of Matthias Corvinus Museum (Mátyás Király Múzeum) presenting the history of Visegrád. Its main attraction is a 14th century ornamental well from the Visegrád Palace. 

The bailey serves as the venue for popular medieval shows and the top of the tower offers a splendid view over the Danube Bend. 

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open today
Open from May 1 to September 30.

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Profile picture of Ƀálint $ztankó
Author
Ƀálint $ztankó
Updated: January 18, 2021

Public transport

  • Get off the coach at "Visegrád, Hajóállomás" (boat port).
  • Take the ferry from Nagymaros on the opposite side.
  • Take a boat to Visegrád.

Getting there

  • Starting from the bus stop/boat port cross Road 11 at the zebra crossing and continue ahead up the stairs. Turn left onto Salamontorony Street and proceed to the tower (350 m).
  • From the ferry port take Rév Street, Fő Street and finally Salamontorony Street (1.6 km).
  • From the parking lot near the tower (Alsóvár-Salamon-torony parkoló) take the paved pathway (250 m).

Parking

  • Free parking in "Salamon-torony" parking lot in Panoráma Road (limited spaces).
  • Free parking by Road 11 between the ferry port and the palace .

Coordinates

DD
47.796386, 18.977214
DMS
47°47'47.0"N 18°58'38.0"E
UTM
34T 348519 5295651
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Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Routes to this place

Type
Name
Distance
Duration
Ascent
Descent
7.4 km
1:30 h
403 m
403 m
7.1 km
2:30 h
271 m
271 m
24.3 km
7:10 h
610 m
1,205 m
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Solomon’s Tower, Lower Castle (Visegrád)

Salamontorony utca
2025 Visegrád
Phone +36 26 597 010

Special features

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Maps and trails
  • 4 Routes nearby
Trail Running · Visegrádi-hegység
Villám futás a Villámokon
Top Difficulty moderate open
Distance 7.4 km
Duration 1:30 h
Ascent 403 m
Descent 403 m

Vannak, akik több hétvégét is eltöltenek Visegrád környékén túrázva, kirándulgatva, hogy felfedezzék nevezetességeit, látnivalóit. Fogadjunk, hogy ...

from Ádám Németh,   Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
Top Difficulty S2 moderate open
Distance 23.4 km
Duration 3:30 h
Ascent 557 m
Descent 557 m

Kevés kilométert számláló, de annál élvezetesebb kör, ahol a történelmi emlékektől a természeti szépségeken át a sportos suhanásig mindenben lehet ...

1
from Ádám Németh,   Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
Hiking Trail · Börzsönyvidék
Visegrád ostroma
Top Difficulty moderate open
Distance 7.1 km
Duration 2:30 h
Ascent 271 m
Descent 271 m

Visegrádi történelmi épületei között, elragadó természeti környezetben vezet ez a kirándulás. Nem csupán a vár, a kilátó vagy a városszéli villák, ...

from Áron Dömsödi,   Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
Hiking Trail · Visegrádi-hegység
Dobogókő - Visegrád (OKT-16.)
Top Difficulty moderate Stage 16 open
Distance 24.3 km
Duration 7:10 h
Ascent 610 m
Descent 1,205 m

The 16th section of the Blue Trail explores a less frequented inner part of Visegrád Mountains and descends to the Danube skirting great lookouts ...

18
from Áron Dömsödi,   Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • 4 Routes nearby
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