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Jurisics Castle (vár), Kőszeg

The walled town and the castle within were part of the national defence system. The Gothic inner castle built in the 13th-14th-century was later refurbished in a Renaissance and Baroque style.

The castle evolved continuously from the 13th-century onwards. Not only of a strategic and defensive nature, it also had a status role as the centre of the Kőszeg estate. To this day the castle's twin character has been preserved and it is easy to imagine both the outer and the inner castle surrounded by a moat. Although today a stone bridge leads towards the gate of the outer castle, the stone sockets above the gate bear witness to the former drawbridge.

In the outer castle courtyard is a statue of castle defender Nikola Jurisic (Jurisics Miklós) as well as part of the castle's former outbuildings. The stone bridge leading to the inner castle was laid following dismantlement of the drawbridge.

The trapezoid inner castle courtyard is framed by an arcade erected on the second storey following a 1777 fire. From the courtyard only the eastern wing has retained its original shape. Passing the so-called 'stairway house' visitors may enter the exhibition halls of the Jurisics Castle Museum (Vármúzeum) from where the splendid facade of the Kőszegi Palace (1279-90) can be enjoyed. Another stairway leads up to the knights' hall built between 1392 and 1441. In the north wing Gothic ornamental wall paintings have been preserved. Several decades later, from 1483 to 1490 the late Gothic-early Renaissance row of windows was created along with Renaissance wall paintings and sgraffito. The castle's east and south wings were constructed from the second half of the 15th to the first half of the 16th century. From 1616 to 1695 the inner courtyard was once again refurbished.

The castle owes its name to its captain and defender during the Turkish period, Nikola Juri±ić. Some also call it Esterházy Castle given that the Esterházy family owned it for the longest period of 236 years.
Today the castle is home to the Jurisics Community Centre and to the exhibitions of the Castle Museum.

Kőszeg

The small town with nearly 12,000 residents, with sub-alpine climate, is situated at the foothills of the Alps. The settlement and its vicinity at the foot of the Kőszeg hills, in the valley of the brook Gyöngyös has been inhabited since the 6th-7th centuries. In the 14th century it was given the rank of free royal town. The castle built in the13th century was named after captain Miklós Jurisics, who managed to hold up the Turkish troops advancing towards Vienna in 1532 with the help of the inhabitants. Its guilds, trade, vine growing and wine making, schools have a long history. The mediaeval town centre was not affected by the historical events, so inside the one-time town walls, the remains of which can still be seen, the houses have been preserved in their original form in Jurisics square and in the neighbouring streets.

How to get there:
By public transport, the town is served by railway from Szombathely; local Volán buses run to Kőszeg from Szombathely and Sopron. By car, go to Szombathely and take Route 87. (Source: Vendégváró)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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