Zakarpattia Region is often called the land of castles. There are 12 medieval castles here. Including prehistoric and early Slavic castles, their quantity is larger. Each of them has a story or legend connected to this or that historical period. The legends are often associated with tragic. And comparing them is not entirely correct. But nevertheless Uzhgorod Castle still differs from its "congeners". After all, it is the oldest castle in Zakarpattia. Uzhgorod history started from here. The castle became a kind of guardian angel of the city and its residents. They reciprocated and spared neither time nor labor to restore it.
First mention of the existence of Gung consolidation during the transition of the Magyars through the Carpathian passes to the Pannonian Basin at the end of IX century are found in the Hungarian annals. And the stories associated with the courageous Slavic prince Laborets, who was believed to be the founder of the building. Hungarians were stronger. The Laborets army was defeated, and the prince was put to death. But, they say, that today at night he goes around his domain.
However Uzhgorod Castle, as most others, has its romantic story. But it is also with tragic overtones. A very beautiful princess lived in a castle, rumors of which widened far beyond the borders. In those days, the Poles often attacked and robbed cities and villages. One of the governors decided to seize the Uzhgorod Castle. Having disguised and penetrated into the consolidation, he met the princess. She also liked the stranger, and told him where the secret passage was, whose secret was known only to the princely family. Having known about the betrayal, the Prince ordered to immure the live girl in the wall, and to execute the Pole. Since then, every night, the girl’s ghost wanders the halls and looks for a loved one. It disappears before the first cock crows to continue the search the next night.
The real history of the castle is replete with the tragic and heroic moments. In 1086, the Tatars of khan Kutesk unsuccessfully tried to seize it. But in 1241 during the Mongol invasion they did it. Ungvar (the first name of Uzhgorod) consolidation was destroyed. In 1248, it was restored, but again not for a long. And in 1317, it was again razed to the ground.
Uzhgorod Castle like a Phoenix had risen from the ruins. The next mention of the castle backs to 1499 year. The Drugeth family, owners of the city, was responsible to the reconstruction and invited the Italian military engineers. They rebuilt the castle and built 10-meter corner bastions. Three and a half centuries the Drugeths owned Ungvar. They rebuilt the castle according to their taste, but left its main function – protective. Wall thickness reached 2.5-3 meters; visible loopholes were instead of windows. And secret passages, leading from one floor to another, remained in the walls.
The tycoons built the first church in the city. Thanks to them, in 1641-1646 first hospital and a gymnasium were founded. After the death of the last representative of the Drugeth family in 1691, the city passed into the ownership of Miklosh Bercheni. The castle turned into a cultural center, which had its own theater company, artist and gallery. A park was laid out around the castle. But most interesting is that the castle had its own pharmacy! In 1701, the authorities confiscated the castle, having learned about Bercheni plans to raise the anti Habsburg rebellion. However, it came about. In 1703, Bercheni with his troops surrounded the castle. The seizure lasted for several months, until in 1704 he had surrendered at discretion. Uzhgorod Castle had much experienced, while in 1945 a museum of regional studies was located there. And today its exposition contains the largest in Ukraine collection of bronze and Celtic Treasure, a large numismatic collection and other interesting exhibits.