Rediscovered Heritage: Ancient Church Unearthed Beneath Tennis Court in Hungary

Archaeologists in Visegrád, Hungary, have uncovered a historic church beneath a tennis court.

Visegrád, set along the scenic Danube River, is celebrated for its 13th-century royal castle.

A significant development project aimed at refurbishing the castle and its vicinity began approximately three years ago.

During this restoration effort, researchers excavating near the castle discovered a church thought to be 500 years old, as announced by Hungary’s National Archaeological Institute on Facebook.

The unearthed structure is identified as the Church of the Virgin Mary, part of a Franciscan monastery established in 1425 by a Hungarian king. Numerous expansions were noted throughout the 15th century.

Insights shared by the Visegrád Renaissance Development Program highlighted the church’s historical relevance in a Facebook update.

Excavations swiftly revealed key architectural components such as the foundation, main altar, and crypt, although the vaulted ceiling had deteriorated and collapsed into debris.

In the crypt, archaeologists found signs of past conflicts, including three skeletons believed to be soldiers, rifle bullets, and a fractured plate possibly used as a makeshift shield.

According to the Miami Herald, the church’s decline likely followed the Ottoman Empire’s conquest of Visegrád in 1544. Despite partial excavations in the 1980s, the overlying tennis court had previously restricted further exploration.

This significant find has spurred renewed archaeological interest, promising further investigations of the artifacts and ruins as part of the broader castle restoration initiative.

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