The building of the stone fortress began in spring 1241, after devastating forays of the Golden Horde.
The name of our city is descended from Hungarian castle name Ungvar (castle on the river Uzh), which changed from Hungarian into Slavonic Uzhgorod.
The supporters of Hungarian king Carl Robert who belonged to Italian aristocratic family of French origin Druget. This family owned the Uzhgorod castle for more than 360 years.
In 1692 the castle became the property of count Miklosh Bercheni who was Kristine Druget. Kristine Druget died in labour when Bercheni was 22. She left him three children.
After the death of the last Druget’s male heir bishop Balent, Bercheni have pretensions to owning of the Uzhgorod castle. According to the law Druget’s property had to pass to the Hungarian King Treasury, except of small part which was given to Druget’s women.
The lawsuit between King Treasury and Miklosh Bercheni hanged heavy about a year. And only when Miklosh Bercheni payed to King treasury 175 thousand florins, the Uzhgorod castle came into his own. Bercheni also received the Uzhan Dominia which belongs to the castle.
In the time of Bercheni the castle was the best. Christine Chaki became the second wife of Bercheni. She was very beautiful and rich woman. In the dowry she was given a very valuable carved furniture, which decorated Uzhgorod castle. There were about 135 canvases in oil, very many engravings and very valuable gobelins with the whole history of Hungary.
In the time of Bercheni and Christine Chaki Uzhgorod castle became the centre of cultural and political life of Northern Hungary. It was even built in style of last renaissance which is typical for Northern Hungary.
Besides, there were its own theatre company, poet laureate, very rich and expensive library in the Castle Palace. Beyond the bounds of the Castle stone walls beautiful parks with rare plants, flowers, statues, fountains were arranged. There were five parks: Meadow and Crane Parks, headed toward Radvanka suburb; Flower Park was at right side of Zamkova street (now botanical garden of Uzhgorod State University); Beast and Pigeon Parks headed toward electric power station. The owners of the castle rode there for a small hunting.
In 1703 National Liberation War of Hungarian nobility against Austrian dynasty of Gabsburg. It was successful at the beginning thanks to peasants support (so called kouruts). Kouruts hoped for social indulgence. But there were no positive results and peasants left to support Hungarian nobility. So Hungarian nobility was defeated.
Bercheni spoke Russian and even had negotiations with the representative of Russian tsar Peter I, ambassador D. Korbe about a possible Russian’s military aid in July 1707. The support was only promised by Russian ambassador and as the result the war was defeated. Bercheni and Rakotsy were announced to be traitors and had to emigrate in 1711. They died in Turkish town of Rodosto. Their ownership past to the King treasury.
At that time there was distraint of the castle which was held by troops. After that baron Ferents Dulai was the owner of Uzhgorod Castle for four years. By this time the borders of Austro-Hungarian empire were moved away to the Poland, that is why Uzhgorod Castle lost its strategic appointment and Austrian empress Maria-Teresia presented in 1775 the Castle to the Mukachevo See and it was turned into a seminary that functioned there until 1945.
The teaching stuff of the seminary gave a very high level of education and had royal status. Boys who finished grammar school studied at the seminary. Andrey Boludyanskyi was the teacher of Castle seminary. Later he became the first rector of St. Petersburg’s University. The students of the seminary were A. Dukhnovich and A. Voloshin.
Experienced guides can tell you detailed history of Uzhgoro d Castle. Since 1947 there is Transcarpathian Museum of Regional Studies.
Tourists are attracted not only by the old walls of the stone castle. Numerous legends of Uzhgorod castle are great tourist attractions too. We want to tell you only two the most famous legends-about Uzhgorod castle princess and about secret underground passages.
It is said that during one of the sieges the princess recognized her beloved among the attackers. She did not know how he managed to turn among the enemies. Her love was so great and ardent that desired to see her beloved, to ask him many questions and to hear the words all young girls want to attend to, to clear out whether he was a traitor or not. An arrow with a message was shot: a date was to be held at midnight near a secret passage she indicated to him. But the guards were alert. They noticed the princess’s exit out of the secret passage where her beloved was waiting for her. They seized them both and brought them to the prince’s chambers. Disclosing the secret passage was considered a crime, and the prince’ sentence was quick and severe: the princess’s beloved should be beheaded and the very princess despite profound love of the father should be immured into the castle wall.
Since then the princess has no calm, every midnight she leaves her stone prison and is looking for her beloved . With her white muslin dress, with flying hair, with awe and despair the princess goes round the whole castle: the yard, stone walls, the garret: she peeps into every chamber, hoping to see her beloved.
And only before down, when the third cock crows, she returns to her mournful dwelling her father had sent her to bitterly crying.
And so every day, during already a thousand years a plaintive crying of tormented loving girl.
For certain, earlier the palace had secret stairs and interconnections between the floors, including the cellar. Now only two spiral staircases are keeping safe in the walls.
According to the legends in the castle was the secret underground passage, which joint the Uzhgorod castle with Nevitsky castle and its distance was 10 km. In any event from the side of Podgradskaya street there is a blocked up entrance in the mount, which obviously was an entrance to secret underground passage from the Uzhgorod castle.
The existence in the Uzhgorod castle of the secret underground passages is confirmed by the historical documents. For example, in the archives of Vereshvar castle (Rottengurm), in Bugenland, which after the First World War was given to Austria, the documents and detailed plans of Uzhgorod castle secret passages and wells, are keeping. The system of underground passages under castle is branched and leads to different sides of castle mounting. Nowadays the underground passages are filled with ground and stone masses, so it is practically impossible to learn them.