Körmend was first documented in 1238 as "Curmend", seat of kings. King Béla
IV. granted Körmend town privileges with the right to hold markets in 1244.
After Körmend was in royal possession, it became the property of various
Since 1604, it has been the central estate of the Batthyány family. The king
gave the castle and the estate of Körmend to Franz II Batthyány in
recognition of his service.
>From 1716 until 1945, when the family was dispossessed of the castle and the
estate by the communists, Körmend had been the centre of their seigniory.
After the struggle for freedom under the leadership of Prince Rákóczi the
Batthyánys moved the management of their estates to Körmend. Thenceforward
it became a prospering small town. The castle changed to a beautiful baroque
After 1769, the Batthánys over several centuries collected documents and the
majority of their art treasures were brought here.
The castle originally rose on a hill with a broad moat. The road from the
town to the castle led through a double moat and over timber bridges. In
the castle's bailey was a one-storied residential building. Then there was
an outer staircase which led to the timber gallery facing the bailey. The
gallery encircled the whole bailey and led to the loop-holes integrated into
the walls. The ground floor included a grain stock, a dry mill, and a common
After 1600 and the fall of Kanizsas, a new time began: Körmend became a
border town of military importance. The town's development reached its
climax in the mid-17th century. In 1625, Ferenc Batthyány's son Ádám
inherited the town. He was a well educated land owner, and not only a great
manager of his properties but also a leading military figure of the country.
He assigned the excellent Italian war engineer, and later imperial main
architect, Filiberto Lucchese to the alteration of the castle.
Significant changes came along with the four years of construction work
going on. The main structure of the castle remained, but its look had been
changed. Now there were multi-storied residential buildings on all four
sides, the towers were higher and arcades had been built in place of the
timber gallery. The windows were opened to the courtyard. The massive and
medieval character of the castle remained but the interior was made more
comfortable. After the Turkish had been driven out of the country
successfully, the castle of Körmend became one of the "dispensable castles"
and the war council of Vienna ordered its demolition on the 26.01.1702, but
the Batthyánys were able to prevent that.
The town and castle of Körmend suffered during the struggle for freedom
under the leadership of Rákóczi. The army of Antal Eszterházy destroyed the
town and the castle. Therefore, at the beginning of the 18th century the
castle actually did not exist and the town was utterly destroyed.
At the beginning of the 18th century, the coordination of the Batthyány
estates was shifted to Körmend. Lajos Batthyany took over the properties
from his father in 1720. He served variously as imperial and royal
privy councillor, chancellor and the last Hungarian palatine from 1751 to
1765. His societal importance was revealed even in his constructions.
Following his instructions began the generous conversion works of Körmend
castle. Thenceforward the castle stood in an open park, which, with its
dynamic layout and arrangement, strove for pomp and the castle was meant to
imitate baroque splendor. The designer of the newly arranged building was
the Italian Felice de Allio, who had already been an important
representative of Austrian baroque in the first half of the 18th century.
The construction works began with the dismantling of the gate tower and the
filling up of the moat. Then there was built a new floor on top of the whole
building. The arcades in the inner courtyard were dismantled and replaced by
huge corridors with windows. In the second floor they installed parlours and
living rooms. A mansard roof was added and the façade got blue-white-yellow
stripes. Among the adjoining buildings in front of the main building was the
depot where the carriages were stored standing west and the horse stable
with the red marmoreal feeding troughs standing east. On the first floor of
the building which also had a basement was the Sala Terrena. On the one-room
second floor you could find the archive and the library. The ensemble of
buildings built 1730-1745 shows a typical Hungarian style including, of
course, elements of the Austrian Baroque.
About 1800, a six-column balcony and a gable were added to the facade of the
castle. The gable was adorned with the Batthyány family's coat of arms.
In 1945, in the course of the invasion of the Russian army, the outstanding
picture gallery, the library, the collection of weapons and a lot of art
treasures were destroyed, pillaged and stolen. Even the huge archive wasn't
spared. The remaining documents and art treasures had then been expropriated
by the Communists and have so far not been returned to the family. Nowadays
they can be seen, among other places, in the Hungarian National Museum and
the Public Records Office.
Opening times of the museum:
>From April 1 to October 31: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. (every day except Monday)
>From November 1 to March 31: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. (every
day except Sunday and Monday)
The museum shows periodic exhibitions in the castle chapel.
March 28 - May 10: Factory Faulty coins and banknotes
May 18 - August 8: Men patronage, patrons, prelates - Batthyány family and
August 19- October 31: Carolus Clusius and Balthazar Batthyány
October 3 - November 4: Herend in the castle - Porcelain Exhibition
www.kormend.hu (parts of text from Dr. Nagy Zoltán)