Nádasdy Castle, named after the influential Hungarian aristocratic family, is a historic monument that has witnessed centuries of military struggles and political disruption along with rumored crimes of the owner. It is from here that the town gets its name—"var" meaning "castle." The town is situated around the grounds of this iconic castle, which can only be reached by crossing a low bridge over the moat. Having undergone renovations, the structure is still in good condition. At the castle, step back in time to the 17th century heyday of the Nádasdy family that was headed by celebrated soldier Ferenc Nádasdy and his wife Erzsebet who is rumored to be one of history's most prolific female serial killers.
Nádasdy Castle is an imposing feat of design, with its distinctive pentagonal shape and a dry moat surrounding its walls. The building originated in the 13th century as a more modest three-story tower, but much of what you'll see today is a 16th-century Renaissance construction.
Ornate Baroque Interior
When you enter the castle, it is like stepping back in time. Let your imagination wander and envision how it would have been to live here in the 16th century. One of the most magnificent internal features is the Knight's Hall, also known as the Banqueting Hall. Look up at the ceiling here and you will find ornate cornices and monumental fresco-secco paintings (painted murals) commemorating the Turkish-Hungarian wars, painted by an Austrian painter from Vienna, Hans Rudolf Miller. The grand Old Testament wall paintings were added by the famous Baroque artist István Dorfmeister.
The family's patriarch was a prominent figure in Hungarian society who played a major role in its military successes. In the castle's Ferenc Nádasdy museum, you'll consequently find an impressive collection of ornate weapons and armor belonging to the Nádasdy Hussars cavalry regiment; as well as paintings glorifying their victories.
The prestigious band of soldiers, Nádasdy Hussars cavalry regiment, were the pride of Hungary's army and well known for their bravery in the 16th and 17th centuries. They were also valued for their agility, moving undetected among the enemy to spy on them, disrupt their supply lines, and gather information about the position of their troops. After seeing off the invading Prussian forces at the Battle of Kolin in 1757, Ferenc Nádasdy was granted ownership of the regiment and his name was added to it.
The museum celebrates the life of Ferenc Nádasdy and that of his family, as well as the history of the castle. One of the most interesting collections is the weapons and armor found in the Husar Exhibition. It is thought to be one of Hungary's most extensive and impressive collections. There is also an incredible cartography collection of 60 antique Hungarian maps, one of which is a 1520 map of Europe. The castle's grand rooms, such as the Entrance Hall and the Knight's Hall, also form part of the museum visit.
Apart from being a tourist attraction, the castle is a thriving hub used by the locals. It houses a library, museum, and galleries. The castle is also a venue for many events taking place throughout the year including the Nadasdy Historical Festival and the International Folklore Festival. After nightfall, Nádasdy Castle is magnificently illuminated, and the pentagonal moat can be seen across the town. Stroll by the castle in the evening for a beautiful sight.