Török építészeti emlékek Magyarországon /
Turkish Architectural Remains in Hungary –
by Németh István
a book review
This book was published in the 300th anniversary year of the expulsion of the last Turkish soldier from Hungary in 1718. Even today, stone and mortar buildings – some in ruins – still testify to their former presence. The author presents in detail, and illustrates with numeorus photographs, seven cities where such remains may be found. They are Pécs, Siklós, Szigetvár (all in southern Hungary); Buda, Érd, Esztergom (north central Hungary), and Eger, somewhat further East.
Each section is introduced by a description of how the city fell to the Turks. Amply illustrated with photos, the author then presents the still existing Turkish architectural elements in easy to understand laymen’s terms. The various sections close with how the area was liberated from Turkish rule.
It is obvious that the author has a teaching degree in history. In the appendix, he lists those Turkish ruins in 14 more localities which did not receive mention within the body of the text. He makes frequent use of local descriptions by Turkish historian and traveler Evlia Cselebi who had visited most of the places covered, and whose ”Book of Travels” (Utazások könyve) he describes as ”a foundational historical concordance”. In addition, he closes the book with a bibliography of works consulted.
This is a very informational volume, covering for example parts of the Castle District in Buda. Although I have visited that area several times, I never knew the Turkish background of many of those fortifications. For those interested in Hungarian history, I would highly recommend this book.
Let me close with a paragraph taken from the Foreword written by the Publisher, Horváth Zoltán György: ”Some time ago, I entertained a very cultured Roman couple who were very familiar with their own vast (cultural) treasures and who loved ’old’ architecture. I thought hard about what I could show them which they would not have come across in Italy, a country immeasurably rich in monuments. In a Christian country such as Hungary, the Turkish relics of Buda would be a unique specialty. Such, for example, are the Császár fürdő (Baths), the tomb of Gül Baba, and the Király fürdő (Baths) which can be covered in an easy walk – also providing the opportunity to expound on the related historic connections. Needless to say, it was a huge success...”
Published by Romanika Kiadó, Budapest, 2018