Fashion history I.: Medieval noble dresses

As I was walking around in the Castle of Siklós, I couldn’t help but notice the amazing dresses that were displayed on wax statues everywhere. Those big skirts made me think how lazily we are dressing ourselves these days compared to that.

What did I learn from the exhibition?
Velvet, baize, linen, silk, lace and brocade were the most common materials for noble clothes.
There was no difference in the colour palette of men’s and women’s clothing. Green, yellow and red were the most populatar colours.
All of women’s dresses had a massive puckered skirt and the sleeves of the upper gament were getting wider from the elbow to the wrist.
The decorating elements on women’s clothing in general were lace, embroidery and pearls.
Decorated headpieces made the outfit complete. Only maidens could walk in the town with uncovered hair.
Jewelry were made of gold, silver and gemstones.
Men wore tight trousers with shirt and a coat on top of that.
The coat’s margin was covered with some kind of fur (such as marten, sable or ermine).
The accesories of men were the decorated buttons on their jacket.

Ozora Castle

1. Várhegy Street
Opening hours: Closed on Mondays! Tuesday-Sunday 10:00-18:00
Tickets: 1000-2000 HUF
Click here for more information!

There is something you need to know about Hungarian castles. Almost all of them are in ruins because of the many wars that swept over the country throughout history. Renaissance styled Ozora castles is an exception.
It has been originally in possession of the Ozorai family until 1399, when the only heir of András Ozorai was a woman, Borbála. She couldn’t inherit the castle (yeah, I don’t like that either!), but she was engaged to the Italian Philippo Scolari so they could keep it in the end. Philippo (or as later called, Pipo) came from a merchant family and he was an excellent soldier. He renovated the castle by artists from his homeland and he ordered replicas from famous Italian artists. So the statues decorating the Medici grave and Moses made by Michelangelo,  Donatello’s David (legend sais it pictures Leonardo da Vinci) can be seen as well in perfect condition. They represent a value even today, because the Italians don’t let their masterpieces being copied anymore. After Pipo’s death, Borbála became the mistress of the castle and she left it to a palatine when she died.
The first acting appearance of the most famous Hungarian poet, Sándor Petőfi happened in the dining hall of the castle.
The castle can not only be visited today, but some of the rooms are rentable just like a hotel. So for a couple of nights anyone can become the lord of Ozora Castle.

 

Simontornya Castle

10. Vár Square
Opening hours: Closed on Mondays! From the beginning of April to the end of September: Tuesday-Sunday 10:00-17:00
From the beginning of October to the end of March: Tuesday-Sunday 10:00-16:00
Tickets: 300-600 HUF
Click here for more information!

On our way to Lake Balaton, we stopped by to see Simontornya Castle. Although Simontornya is a small town with only 4000 citizens, its history dates back to the 4th century BC., when celtics lived in this area. The building of it started in 1272 as a tower (the Hungarian word torony means tower), and later became a Renaissance styled castle with a lot of owners of noble families. It served as a shield castle during the wars against the Turks, so many of its parts were destroyed. It was decided to restore the castle to its ancient state in 1964. There is still a lot of things to do, but it can be visited these days, there is an exhibition and sometimes tournaments are held to commemorate knights from the middle ages.
If you are in the neighbourhood and want to find out more about Hungarian history, it’s definitely worth a visit!