Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary

by Friends of Szadvar (Szadvarert Barati Kor)
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Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Szadvar castle project and youth camp, Hungary
Friends of Szadvar 2019 Oct.
Friends of Szadvar 2019 Oct.

First of all, let me introduce the Pulley of Szadvar. It was mentioned in the castle inventories (inventarium) in the 17th century that the peasants had to serve “…with 2 horses at the Pulley…” as part of their obligation to their lord. It meant that they had to operate the pulley which was used to pull up the water and other contributions, tithes from the village to the upper castle. Thus, the pulley served the inhabitants of the castle for centuries as the lower station of a medieval elevator.

Now, the partial reconstruction of the lower castle will be realized as part of the National Castle program, and it will serve as the main entrance to the castle in the future. Friends of Szadvar offered the help to clean the area and prepare the ground for the construction works.

The team of volunteers gathered in the beautiful village of Szögliget on a Thursday night on 24th October, 2019. Old friends were greeting each other with great pleasure and there were new faces as well. We were happy to have a volunteer from England, who had been working on her thesis on volunteering by the way. Also, our association has become stronger this weekend by joining 4 new members!

Next morning, after the fog had risen, the still energizing autumn sun had found the team in the lower castle. After the mandatory safety training and administration, the work had begun. The goal was to make the ground even and plain next to the walls for the scaffolding which will be built for the construction. Everyone had to wear a helmet, the old walls did not seem to be stable and safe anymore. That is our mission to make it a safe place for children and families who will be visiting the castle in the future.

The work had continued the next day, too. Since it was not a working day, even more people could join the volunteers, it was again more than 20 people working in the nice fall weather, the leaves were gently falling on the dry ground making a tiny noise which made the people calm and somehow feel at home…

It was also part of the task to create easy access to the castle for the construction workers. For that, some of the team were cleaning the path from leaves and rocks, someone was building a spectacular stair out of the rocks. Soon these pathways and roads got funny names after their creators, like “Great Lajos promenade”, “Zoltan's stairway” or “Hairpin curve of the Castle Saviors”. Apparently, you have to have some fun when you have to work hard and physical.

The top of the cake – literally, too – was the lunch served by the “Chef of Szadvar” as a tradition now. Everyone got a piece of the Hungarian specialty “langos” and the local specialty “Szadvar kelgyo” (which is similar to a hot dog in a spiral of a langos). It was then crowned by sweet mignons which is a rare treat in the middle of the forest.

We were really grateful for this nice weather and beautiful weekend for everyone joined, and for everyone contributed just like you. Thank you for your generous help!

Tree in the wall of the Pulley (will be removed)
Tree in the wall of the Pulley (will be removed)
Ground works in progress
Ground works in progress
Chain of volunteers "on the rocks"
Chain of volunteers "on the rocks"
Treats from the Chef of Szadvar
Treats from the Chef of Szadvar
Guided tour for the new friends
Guided tour for the new friends
Zoltan's Stairway
Zoltan's Stairway
Nice fall in the peaceful Szadvar
Nice fall in the peaceful Szadvar
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Visitors in Szadvar after the guided tour
Visitors in Szadvar after the guided tour

Let us lead you through our summer event which was a bit different this year.

You might be aware that the ruins of Szadvar are located in a National Park near the Slovakian border. That is one reason why it was almost forgotten in the 20th century when it was quite difficult to even get there. However, Szadvar was the center of the manor in the middle ages where the owners of the land were living. Some of those lords of the Szadvar manor were the members of the Bebek family, who owned not only Szadvar but the near castle of ‘Torna’, too. The Bebeks also allowed the Hungarian ‘Palos’ monks to build a monastery on their land which had become the burying place of the family for 2 centuries. That was located in ‘Gombaszög’, also very near.

Both Torna (Turna) and Gombaszög (Gombasek) are in Slovakia today, near the border. You may even remember that some members of the civil association of Torna joined us on our archeology week last year. This was our time to return the favor and join them. So, we decided to go on a ‘Bebek Tour’ over the border.:

July 31st , Szadvar (Hungary): A lot of weeds were growing all over the walls and baileys since our last event in March. The local forestry sent some people and a group of kids were also joining the Friends of Szadvar to clean the castle from the vegetation. It was nice to have some fried bacon at the fire for lunch, too!

Aug. 1st, Gombaszög (Slovakia): There is another excavation site revealing the ruins of the monastery. Only a 20 feet high wall had been visible before but now the foundations of the church and the fortress which was built around it are visible on the surface. We were also able to help in the trenches and move some of the dirt away. There is a summer camping near the site where we spent the evening and the night in a delightful company.

Aug. 2nd Torna (Slovakia): The castle of Torna was another Bebek property. It was built in a beautiful location on a tapered hill providing a breathtaking view for anyone who climbs up. Just like Szadvar, this castle can also be accessed on foot only. But now, we also had to take wooden timbers up to the hill with us! A part of the castle needs repairing and for that the timbers are needed. After taking 2 rounds with the timbers we were also collecting and piling some stones in the inner bailey for the conservation. It was fun to work with our friends in Slovakia and help them in their efforts!

Aug. 3rd Tornabarakony (Hungary): We visited the Hungarian Folk Festival in this small, hidden village. This was just the prize for our hard work and a team building event for us.

One more thing to mention. Just a few days ago a large group of visitors (50+ people) were coming to Szadvar who requested us to provide guided tour in the castle. So, a few members travelled there and showed around the castle, explained what was Szadvar like in the middle ages, what was started in 2006 and how it became a clean grove park where the remains of Szadvar are clearly visible since.

Let us thank all of you for your generous donations which help us to make these great achievements!

Kids having lunch in Szadvar
Kids having lunch in Szadvar
Friends of Szadvar in Gombaszog (Slovakia)
Friends of Szadvar in Gombaszog (Slovakia)
Friends of Szadvar help in Castle Torna
Friends of Szadvar help in Castle Torna
Team in Torna
Team in Torna
'Gomor' Folk Festival in Tornabarakony
'Gomor' Folk Festival in Tornabarakony

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Friends of Szadvar (Lisztes bastion)
Friends of Szadvar (Lisztes bastion)

Friends of Szadvar often call themselves ‘Szadvarian’. Although the members of the association and the volunteers come from various different parts of the country, even several hundred miles away – all of us feel at home immediately when we arrive to Szadvar castle hill and Szögliget, the village below.

At last, the weather was ideal for working in the castle during ‘Save the Castle Days’ in March. More than 20 volunteers took their time and travelled here to help and contribute. After climbing the 460 m high castle hill, we have successfully cleaned the vegetation off at the south walls of the Outer castle. Also, a lot of stones were collected and dumped at the construction areas to be prepared for the conservation works. See the photos below to capture some of the atmosphere and feeling to be a ‘Szadvarian’!

We are living exciting times at Szadvar, it is becoming more and more popular. But we still have much more to do to make it a well-known and desired attraction and tourist destination.

Let’s see what we did in the last few weeks:

  • Created a detailed Wikipedia page for our association – so far in Hungarian. The English, German, Polish, Slovakian etc. translations are still work in progress.
  • Started an Instagram account for Friends of Szadvar as well. It is also essential today that we appear on different social media platforms to reach out to the young generations. Please find #Szadvar or search for ‘szadvarertbaratikor’ on Instagram. You can use the link below, too.
  • Started a campaign to find old photos of the Castle. Any photos which were taken in the Castle before 2006 are very valuable for the conservation of the walls. That’s how we received photos of the castle from 1993! It is also exciting to see what we have already done. Comparing the photos below you can also see the difference.

It’s worth mentioning that Friends of Szadvar always seek opportunities to build relations to partner organizations such as the hiking association of Szendro, which is a small town close to the area of Szadvar. It has become a tradition that they invite us to help organizing their annual hiking competition “Vitezlo tura”. Some members contributed to the registration activities of the hikers.

Let us thank all of you for your generous donations which help us to make these great achievements!

Moving the stones to areas of conservation
Moving the stones to areas of conservation
Lunchtime on the hill
Lunchtime on the hill
'Porkolab' wall in 1993
'Porkolab' wall in 1993
'Porkolab' wall in 2019
'Porkolab' wall in 2019
'Vitezlo' hiking competition at Szendro
'Vitezlo' hiking competition at Szendro
Friends of Szadvar helps at the registration
Friends of Szadvar helps at the registration

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Szadvar information Sign renewed
Szadvar information Sign renewed

Let me proudly inform you about the finish of the latest conservation works in Szadvar. There are a few parts of the castle walls which are still standing tall, at some points more than 12 meters (40 feet) above the ground. Those might have been higher or stronger structures originally or were defended by the forest more effectively. Anyway, despite the 330 years of ruination they remained the witnesses of the late castle holding essential information about the building. On the other hand, these walls were exposed to the weather conditions, mainly the winds which slowly removed the mortar from the wall, leaving loose stones on the top of the wall. This is of course dangerous for the visitors and for the volunteers who are working under the walls to save the castle.

Reinforcing the last of those remaining high walls was our greatest achievement at the end of last year. As mentioned in our previous report, this wall stands on the north side of the inner bailey between the Csonka (Truncated) bastion and the Konyha (Kitchen) bastion. Please see the photos for the results.

As every year, winter is about planning, reporting to authorities and preparing for the events of the year. We have paid a visit to the Herman Otto Museum in Miskolc to negotiate the conditions with the museum leaders for this year’s excavation week in the summer. We are also preparing for our next event, the Save the Castle days (March 15-16th).

More changes are expected in Szadvar starting this year due to the National Castle program. That focuses mainly on the lower castle – which was almost completely excavated last year and it will partly be reconstructed. Only parts of the higher castle will be touched by the castle program though, due to the limited funds. So our work is still needed, volunteers can still contribute to keeping the castle in the current conditions and save it for the future. Also, since Szadvar is located in a far and poor part of the country, next to a small village, the long-term maintenance needs to be arranged and supported.

Last year we were trying to find more volunteers in schools, reaching out to teachers and students around the country and mostly in the Szadvar area. We had received positive responses and many children appeared on our events.

But we also wanted to understand what moves other people to help and do volunteer work. That led to the idea of creating a survey, shared over the social networks and on our homepage. It was responded by many people, too. This will help us to understand what we were doing good and which are the areas where we need to improve and put more effort. We have asked about our past events but also about potential new ones we could organize e.g. hiking competition, another Siege day etc.

Of course we would not be able to reinforce walls, support excavations and organize events without your valuable donations.

Thank you again for your help!

Reinforced wall (from SE)
Reinforced wall (from SE)
Reinforced wall (from NE)
Reinforced wall (from NE)
Reinforced wall completed
Reinforced wall completed
Tourists in the Inner Bailey (Oct. 2018)
Tourists in the Inner Bailey (Oct. 2018)

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Heroes of Szadvar
Heroes of Szadvar

Let us proudly inform you about a record-breaking ‘Save the Castle’ days in October 2018. This fall, almost 60 people have decided to devote their long weekend and their spare time to help and join us. It was even more gratifying that 40 out of that 60 were high school students!

Hungary is not a big country, but it is still humbling to mention that most of the volunteers arrived from far reaches – from the cities Gyor (43!) and Pecs (2). But regardless how far they came from, everyone was working hard cleaning the castle area from the growing vegetation and moving the stones close to the construction areas. We were able to spend two busy days working in the castle as this time the weather was perfect and supportive for our activities.

Of course, we also found time to check out the results of the summer excavations. Several new details have been revealed including the entrance of the lower castle on the east side which was a complete surprise. It was not expected to be there as the medieval imageries showed it on the west side – where the wall has disappeared probably due to the water flows from the hill.

On top of the summer excavations we managed to initiate conservation works this year, too! A section of the wall which is still standing high was considered a dangerous area for the visitors of the castle. It is located on the north wall of the inner bailey - between the Csonka (Truncated) bastion and the Konyha (Kitchen) bastion. Using the funds we managed to gather, this remaining threat will have been eliminated by fixing and enforcing the wall structure.

Friends of Szadvar were also invited to a conference held by the National Cultural Fund. Our organization was called upon to make a presentation about our activities in the last 12 years. It was a great honor for our president to stand in front of the architects and authorities who are responsible for the Cultural Heritage of Hungary and talk about the great achievements which have been done in Szadvar.

As you must know, Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Hungary. But if it would, Friends of Szadvar would have a lot to give thanks for. We are thankful that there are people in the country who can share our passion and concern about the cultural heritage Szadvar represents. These unbelievable results could not have been realized without our supporters and volunteers. Thanks for all the help we were receiving from various people and organizations. And of course, we are grateful for the donations we receive from all over the world.

Thanks to you.

Arrival to the castle hill
Arrival to the castle hill
The revealed door in the lower castle
The revealed door in the lower castle
Students at work
Students at work
Lunch in the clouds
Lunch in the clouds
Wall conservation
Wall conservation
The record-breaking team
The record-breaking team

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Friends of Szadvar (Szadvarert Barati Kor)

Location: Szogliget, Hungary - Hungary
Website:
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Szadvar Castle
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