The Turul of Hungary
by Noah Patton
Hungary’s national symbol appears to be an eagle or falcon of some kind, but it’s actually an entirely fictional mythical bird known as a “Turul”.
The Turul comes from an ancient Hungarian legend. In this legend, Emese, was the first to dream of a Turul. Emese is wife of Ügyek, a descendant of Atilla the Hun. In her dreamscape, a white stream began to flow from her body, moving westward as it began to grow wider into a great river.
This dream was said to represent a symbolic impregnation by a Turul, meaning she would soon give birth to a line of mighty rulers. Emese eventually gave birth to Álmos and Álmos would later have a son, Árpád.
Árpád would become the greatest ruler of the Magyar tribes in Hungary, beginning a three century long dynasty from the year 1000 to 1301. Many Hungarians consider him to be the founder of the country, as he reconquered Hungary which had been taken after the death of his ancestor Atilla the Hun. This was seen as reclaiming his rightful inheritance as a direct descendant of Atilla’s birthline.
As such the Turul has remained an important symbol in Hungary, a mythical symbol of the power of the Hungarian god Isten. The Turul is often seen wielding the “flaming Sword of God”, a legendary weapon created by Hadúr, their god of fire, a weapon which Atilla the Hun allegedly owned, cementing his right to rule.
The Turul itself resembles a mix between an eagle and a falcon. There were three large statues of the Turul, each had the same wingspan of 15 metres, but of these statues, only one remains. The last “lifesize” statue of the Turul looms atop the mountain Tatabánya in Hungary, where it is adorned with a crown and within its talons sits the flaming Sword of God.