Gyula town has a past of almost 800 years and is located in the south-eastern region of Hungary, in the gate of Transylvania. It is an important border crossing along the Romanian border with county-level and regional institutions, as well as, it is a settlement of multi-nationality and multi-religion, where the inhabitants always lived together in peace.
The only flatland, Gothic brick-masonry fortress of Central-Europe remained intact is the town’s symbol, where the Renaissance Castle Museum awaits the visitors. The entirely reconstructed inner-town of Gyula has been enriched with new street and square pavements, fountains, garden seats and street lamps in addition to the Anamorphosis statue (based on Albrecht Dürer’s Adam and Eva engraving) and the World Clock.
The renovation of the fortress was started at the beginning of the 1960s. Since 1960, the Castle Theatre has operated within its walls, and the old permanent exhibition was opened also at this time. The year of 2005 resulted in a significant change, since the new Renaissance Castle Museum was finished this year, in which the visitors can go through the history of six centuries in 24 exhibition rooms.
Here the visitor may have a possibility to look at how our ancestors settled in as a lord of castle, how they lived their weekdays as a lady of castle, in what a Turkish Sanjak bey’s office room differed from a Hungarian castellan’s room or what kind of weapons they battled during the past centuries. Within the restored fortress downstairs, we can visit the dungeon (open to the public out of Castle Theatre’s season), the chapel, the tavern and the ancillary rooms such as a dispensary, a bake-house, a smithy and a pottery. Upstairs we can view various apartments (owned by the lord and the lady), the reception room of a Sanjak bey, the halberdiers’ hall, the knights’ hall and the armoury.
The fortress gives several possibilities to arrange events and programmes: the reconsecrated chapel lends itself for performing christening and wedding ceremonies, while the knights’ hall for organizing receptions and conferences. Completing these possibilities, the Castrum Castle Tavern lends itself for holding also independent programmes.
One of the most beautiful lido and thermal baths of Hungary, the Gyula Castle Spa has been developed in the former 8.5-hectare park of the Almássy Mansion, which at present is a nature conservation area. At placing buildings and pools it was an important standpoint that the construction would influence the trees in the mansion park the least of all, and a green surface as spacious as possible would await the visitors arriving here. The favourable distribution of pools contributes to the fact that a peaceful rest place can be found in the area of the baths even in case of 10,000 guests a day.
The Minister of Health certified the 72 ºC water of the baths as medicinal water in 1969, the baths itself as medicinal thermal baths in 1971 and the surroundings of the baths as a health resort in 1985. The water is applicable with outstanding effect for locomotor disorders, local nervous complaints, inflammatory gynaecological diseases and rehabilitative treatments after accidents.
In the 1720s, János Harruckern engaged in the construction of the mansion in the area, which is now in the direct neighbourhood of Gyula Castle Spa. In 1801, after two conflagrations it was reconstructed in Louis Seize style, and then between 1888 and 1944 the Almássy family resided in the building. Since then the condition of the mansion has deteriorated and nowadays it is empty regrettably.
The first confectionery of Gyula, which is known now as the Hundred-Year-Old Confectionery, opened its doors in 1840 herewith contributing notably to the upswing of the town’s societal life. Its founder was the confectioner master Gyula Salin, and the building is functioning also as a confectioner’s workshop museum. Here we can get an inside view of the products of confectioner’s workshops belonging to the period, various kinds of candies, ice creams, parfaits, tee biscuits, leavened dough and short pastries.
The founding father of the Hungarian national grand opera, who set the Hungarian national anthem to music, Ferenc Erkel was born here on 7 November 1810. Among the plentiful material and document remains, we can meet also several relics of Ferenc Erkel. The renowned artist was also an excellent chess player of his age, which fact is kept in the name of the memorial chess competition organised every year in Gyula.
The Ladics-house of Gyula, which was built in Baroque style at the beginning of the 19th century, is the particular memento of the one-time middle-class cream of the county, where the family relics, properties were collected through three generations. We can keep track of the rural civic life world of the 19th-20th centuries in the six rooms of the museum.
The one-time Pavilion was built in 1888-1889 for cultural programmes. The life-work exhibition of the Kossuth-prize winner painter-artist György Kohán got place in it in 1979.
Opening hours of the Kohán Gallery:
Tuesday– Sunday: p.m. 14:00 – 17:00
It has been named after Albert Dürer (known as Albrecht Dürer) of Gyula origin. The museum gives place for periodical exhibitions. The modern, two-story gallery building was built in 1968 based on plans by architect Stephen Gortka. The exhibition hall got its name Dürer Albert, who was born in Gyula.
The gallery was opened in August 1989. Its base is the so-called “Bene collection”. The head physician dr. Lajos Bene bestowed his collection of about 120 pieces on the town in 1983, which implies works from the 20th century primarily. Its special worth is the part consisting of the paintings of painters definitely from Gyula (Dezső József, László Gyulai, György Kohán, György Bíró, István Szilágyi and Rozália Koszta). The exhibition has been complemented with some pieces of the Erkel Ferenc Museum fitting into the collection.