Hungary issues coin on Szigetvár Castle

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October 6, 2016 – The National Bank of Hungary continues releasing its “Hungarian Castles” series of collector coins with the seventh coin: a 10,000 forint silver and a 2,000 forint non-ferrous metal “Szigetvár Castle” coin to render homage to the 450th anniversary of the Szigetvár siege.

The town of Szigetvár with the castle in a depiction from 1566.

Szigetvár wrote her name into the chronicles of Hungarian and European history as the legendary setting of the fights against the Ottomans where Croatian ban Miklós Zrínyi, captain of the fortress, and a handful troop of Hungarian and Croatian soldiers heroically sacrificed their lives to defend the place. 

In 1561 Szigetvár hero Miklós Zrínyi (1508-1566) was appointed captain of the fortress and he immediately established a four-part system of defence. The last campaign of Ottoman sultan Suleiman I (reign: 1520-1566) aimed at seizing Vienna but the advance of the enormous army was frustrated by Szigetvár.

Zrínyi’s famous charge out of Szigetvár Castle in a painting by Johann Peter Krafft (1825).

Some 2,300 soldiers resisted the siege under the command of Zrínyi for 34 days against the vast preponderance and at the end, on 7 September 1566, the remnants led by Zrínyi made a sortie from the castle in flames to die heroically in hand-to-hand combat and show an example of abnegated patriotism. Despite the small number of the defending troops the famous sortie provoked massive casualties among the Turks that managed to enter the fortress after a long fight. Turk casualties were increased even more as before the sortie Zrínyi ordered to blow the magazine, which exploded exactly when the victorious army entered the castle. With this fire trap, Turk casualties reached in total some 25,000 men. Zrínyi’s self-sacrifice had historic relevance since it saved Vienna from a new siege. Suleiman himself didn’t live to see the end of the siege: according to recent research, the sultan died on 7 September between 1 and 2 a.m.

The invaders rebuilt the destroyed fortress creating the currently existing compact four-bastion façade. Both Croatians and Hungarians keep with honours the memory of the heroic captain. Not far from the castle the Turkish cemetery houses the Turkish-Hungarian Friendship Park with the busts of sultan Suleiman and Miklós Zrínyi.

Hungary / 10,000 HUF / .925 Ag / 31.46g / 38.61mm / Borbála Szanyi / Mintage: 5,000.

The collector coins “Sziegetvár Castle”, identical in their design but different in their denomination and composition were designed by Borbála Szanyi. The obverse represents the half figure in armours of Miklós Zrínyi, defendant of the castle, wearing a hat, a sword in the right hand and a mace in the left. The upper circle legend of the reverse reads SZIGETVÁR CASTLE in Hungarian (SZIGETVÁRI VÁR) while the main motif represents the current southern view of the castle. There is a quote in the foreground from the epic Peril of Sziget of the great-grandson Miklós Zrínyi (1620-1664), poet and military leader, inspiring soldiers to break out, struck with small font size letters.

For more information on this and other coins go to the website of the Hungarian Mint.

This film explains the Siege of Szigetvár in detail.