The National Bank of Hungary will soon issue (June 30th) a new commemorative coin which continues their “Hungarian Castles” series. The new coin features Jurisics Castle, which is located in the town of Kőszeg on the banks of the Gyöngyös stream at the edge of Western Hungary. Historically, it marks the spot where Suleiman the Magnificent and his Turkish army were brought to a halt in 1532, thanks to the brave defense of the castle by the Croatian captain and nobleman Miklós Jurisich (1490 – 1545) and his men.
The first recorded reference to the castle is somewhat unclear, but in 802 AD a castle (probably the Upper Castle) is mentioned in the chronicles of Einhard, (c. 775 – March 14, 840) a Frankish scholar and courtier as the “castellum Guntionis”. A document issued by King Béla IV praising Herbert, son of Osl, in 1248 again mentions a “castrum kuszigh”. After the withdrawal of the Tatars from present-day Hungary, construction of the Lower Castle began, along with the walled city, which is unique in Hungary. In 1289 (presumably), the Upper Castle was occupied by Albert, Prince of Austria and Styria, and as per the peace treaty of Hainburg, the castle was destroyed and de-commissioned in 1291, along with many other border castles. It was later rebuilt and documents from the XIV century mention the Upper and Lower Castle several times. The town was a possession of Charles I, (1288 – 1342) King of Hungary and Croatia from 1327, who bestowed significant privileges on the town in 1336 to support its development. The town retained its royal status until mortgaged by King Sigismund of Luxemburg (1368 – 1437) also King of Hungary & Bohemia and was later granted to the Garai family at the end of the 14th century. The castle became a Habsburg possession in 1445 and was retaken by the army of King Matthias Corvinus (1443 -1490) in 1482. Matthias gave the castle to his son John Corvinus, who ceded it 10 years later, and thus it became an Austrian possession again.
The small castle’s real claim to fame stems from 1532, specifically on August 5th of that year. The army of Sultan Suleiman I (1494 – 1566) sometimes referred to as Suleiman the Magnificent, laid siege to Kőszeg while advancing on Vienna. For 25 days, Capitan Miklós Jurisich and a handful of men valiantly resisted the repeated assaults of the massive Ottoman army. Historians believe that news of the formation of a sizable Austrian army prompted the Sultan to besiege the strategically insignificant castle of Kőszeg. Ultimately, Jurisich agreed to an offer by General Ibrahim, commander of Ottoman forces that the Ottoman flag be raised on the castle’s eight towers, allowing the commander to announce a victory to the Sultan and the Ottoman army would move on. Ferdinand Habsburg, Holy Roman Emperor & King of Hungary and Bohemia (1503 – 1564) promoted Captain Miklós Jurisich to barony for his heroism and gave him the castle of Kőszeg. After his death without offspring in 1544, the castle changed hands many times. From 1795 to 1931 it was owned by the House of Eszterhazy, a Hungarian noble family of notoriety after which during the communist era, the castle and grounds was under military ownership until 1955 – originally as a border guard station then ended up being used for grain storage. Initial reconstruction took place from 1955 to 1963, after which cultural institutions were housed in the castle. After the fall of the Communist government, another reconstruction project began in 2011 and since the summer of 2013 the castle has been open to visitors again. It is both a historical and memorial site.
The coin, struck by the Hungarian Mint is designed by Gábor Kereszthury. The obverse design includes a portrait of Miklós Jurisics along with the text “MAGYARORSZAG” (Hungary) and the coin’s denomination of 10,000 or 2000 Forint & the year of issue. The reverse depicts a perspective view of the famed castle as it is seen today, completely restored. The text “KOSZEGI VAR” (Jurisics Castle) is placed above the primary design.
|2000 Forint||Cupro-nickel||30.8 grams||38.6 mm.||BU||5000 pieces|
|10,000 Forint||.925 silver||31.4 grams||38.6 mm.||Proof||5000 pieces|
The “Hungarian Castles” series includes Visegrád (2004), Diósgyőr (2005), Munkács (2006), Gyula (2007) and Siklós (2008) The silver coin is also issued as a base metal version with the same design and a smaller denomination of 2000 Forint – both coins are sold at their face value.
For more information on this and other coins issued by the National Bank of Hungary, please visit the website of the Mint of Hungary at: http://coins.hu/ Information offered in Hungarian and English, international orders dispatched where applicable.