Also called the Taj Mahal of Székesfehérvár, Hungary, this castle built by an
eccentric freak loving husband is indeed a breathtaking sight and its history is equally fascinating.
In 1912, a Hungarian sculptor and architect called Jenő Bory bought one acre of land in Mária Valley near Székesfehérvár, Hungary. Back then, it only had a little wine cellar and Bory and his family spent their summer holidays there. But after a project of his at the Church of Francis Ferdinand and the Sophia Home in Sarajevo failed due to World War I, he decided to build a castle on the plot – for his wife.
Construction began after the war, in 1923, and from 1934 onwards the husband was happy to show it to visitors, who have been frequenting the complex ever since. After the post-war restoration, he worked on small details of the building until his death in 1959. He saw it as a kind of complex work of art – of a lifetime.
Bory died at his home, in the castle. After his death the finishing work lasted until 1964, so the castle was built for a total of 41 years. Bory considered the castle his own work of art, a statue, rather than just a building. There were no plans, he just kept extending it year by year.
According to the castle’s website, this oversized home with its numerous decorations is a special example of Hungarian symbolic architecture. Even its layout is emblematical as its two centres, the Chapel and the Studio Gallery, symbolize two cardinal elements of Jenő Bory’s life (his marital life and his profession). Hundreds of statues made with the most diverse techniques can be seen around the castle, and the interior is covered in paintings. Stunning mosaics, glass paintings and fountains appear in the most unpredictable places inside and outside of the building.
The building wasn’t designed at a table but right on the location. Bory was the architect, the project supervisor, the foreman and also the mason. He was building, developing and decorating this incredible work of art for decades with the help of just a few helpers, mostly his students.
From its dungeon up to the towers, the castle is 30 m high. It has seven towers, thirty rooms in different sizes including three studios. Heroes, kings and bards of Hungarian history, from Álmos to Sebestyén Tinódi Lantos, stand in the corridors of the Court of the Hundred Columns.
The castle features a mixture of architectural styles – from Scottish to Romanesque to Gothic – all eccentrically combined. Visitors can freely climb the towers and walk among the garden’s sculptures, which were all created by Bory.
Initially, there was an apartment and then a studio in the building, too, partly for Bory’s wife, painter Ilona Komócsin, whom he met during his studies (they were both students of the famous Hungarian painter, Bertalan Székely). Inside, there are several galleries featuring their paintings and the works of other artists.
The castle is referred to as a symbol of eternal love as Jenő Bory built it according to his own and his wife’s plans (or no plans), commemorating their common life, love and artistic dreams.
The Taj Mahal of Székesfehérvár indeed deserves its name as its Indian counterpart also symbolizes eternal love. Shah Jahan erected it in memory of his wife, who died during giving birth to their child.
As you can see, the Bory Castle stands out of its environment as much as the Taj Mahal. A (love) chateau in the suburbs.