The town of Szigetvár

Szigetvár is situated in the Southern Transdanubia region at the meeting point of the southern plain and the hills of Zselic. From the capital and from Barcs it is approachable on route 6 and from Kaposvár on road 67. It is 35km far from Pécs –which was the European Capital of Culture in 2010.

This part of the flood plain of the Almás-creek was inhabited thousands of years ago. A main road went through on this soggy area where our ancestors settled down.  Archaeologists suspects that the Roman town of Limosa was nearby the area. At the time of the conquest of Hungary, Botond’s tribe lived around here. According to some researchers, the development of the town  was also due to some organizing activities of monastic orders. It became a medieval town by the 15 th century.

The present area of the castle -the island north to the centre- was supposedly owned by a gentry family, who’s first known member, Anthimus Szigethi is believed to be the establisher of the castle.  One of his successors, Oswald Szigethi built a three storey brick tower in the first third of the 15 th century which was the core of the castle. In 1473 the vicinity was owned by the Gara family and later was belonged to the Török family from Enying. After the battle of Mohács, Szigetvár became an extremely important border fortress. In 1541 after the Turks captured Bálint Török, the ownership of Szigetvár went under King Ferdinand I. hands, so it became a royal border fortress in 1543. As a compensation for the Ottoman attacks, they re-built it to modern fortress. Miklós Zrínyi Croatian Ban and Captain became the head of the defence of Szigetvár. After the occupation of the castle in 1566 the Turks deported or chased away the townspeople. With the expansion of the Ottoman empire Szigetvár had an increasing military and administrative role.  The Turkish reign took the longest here, on the area of Baranya County. On the February of 1689 the armies of colonel Vecci took back the castle with the starvation of the defenders.

On account of the changing military technology Szigetvár lost its strategic importance by the middle of the 18th century. Maria Theresa donated the town and with this, the citizens were tossed to serfdom. The castle itself went to squirely hands; the possessors were Ádám Szily, Lajos Festetich Tolnai, the Wenckheim and the Andrássy family.

At the end of the 19 th century, after the construction of the Pécs-Barcs railway line, the town could join to the circulation of the country. Factories were formed: the steam mill in 1881, the shoe factory in 1884 and the cannery in 1937.

In 1966, Owing to the centuries long development, on the 400 th anniversary of the heroic resistance, Szigetvár received the Town title.

In 2011 Szigetvár was awarded the ‘most heroic town’ (Civitas Invicta) by the parliament because of the ‘unswerving bravery of the defenders, patriotism and guide of sacrifice’ as a remembering to Miklós Zrínyi and his soldiers’ heroic deeds at the siege of Szigetvár in 1566.