Siklós, the centre of the economic and cultural life of the region, is deservedly famous for its wines, its fortress and the large number of monuments in the town. Local inhabitants can now also boast of a renewed historical town centre, its streets providing an atmosphere that is a picturesque combination of the ancient past and the promising future.
The first official documentation proving the existence of Siklós dates back to 1190, from which time on it was the residence and the centre of the estates of the most prominent families in Hungarian history.The border fortress guarding the plain of the Dráva River is one of
the best preserved fortress castles of Hungary. In the territory of today's Siklós a military base called Serena was established in the Roman Era. The first mention of
the fortress is in a document of 1190.
In 1394 the fortress became the property of the Garai family, who developed the building over a number of decades. The works completed over this period are demonstrated by the Gothic wing and the chapel built with Gothic vaults – one of the most beautiful examples of such in Hungary.
After 1515 the Perényis led construction within the fortress, the reconstructions in Renaissance style being by this family. Dorottya Kanizsai, whose statue can be found in the fortress dyke, was the wife of Imre Perényi: she and her husband buried the soldiers who fell in the battle of Mohács in 1526.
During the Ottoman occupation the Turks used the castle as a fortress. On the outskirts of the town they built mosques, the most splendid of which was the Djami of Malkoch Bey, surrounded by a rose garden. In the 18th century the Batthyány family reconstructed and enlarged the fortress in Baroque style. The fortress had lost its military significance by the 19th century.
The terrace of the bastion of the 18th century fortress, still in its original shape, offers a beautiful panorama over Siklós and the nearby vineyards. The Franciscan Church within the outer walls of the fortress was built in the 13th century. It was consecrated to the honour of St. Anna; its Gothic sanctuary is ornamented with early Renaissance frescoes showing an Italian influence. The tombstone of Miklós Garai I. can also be found here. The 15th century cloister beside the church is now home to the Ceramics Artists Community, the international fine arts exhibition of which is open to visitors.
The Serbian Orthodox Church was built in 1738 by the Serbs settling here in the 15th century and from the donations of the congregation. The church was burnt and it was rebuilt in its present form in 1738. Its iconostasis and peraphernalia may have been made around 1800. The most precious pieces of the equipment – including an enamel painted relic box from the 12th century – have been moved to the Greek Catholic Museum of Church Art in Szentendre.
The Protestant Church of Siklós – according to local tradition – is as old as the Hungarian Protestant movement, of which we are reminded by the Protestant Temple. Documents say that the first Protestant vicar of Siklós was Mihály Siklósi (or Szilvási), who, as some believe, was born in the town of Siklós and then moved to today's Sátoraljaújhely, also a Perényi estate at that time. In Sátoraljaújhely he preached in the Protestant spirit in1522: later he returned to Siklós.
Siklós is a town of excellent wines. On the Tenkes Hills it is white wines that are prevalent, the most typical sort of grapes, from which the flagship wine of Siklós is made, being Olaszrizling.
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