The Turul, the mythical bird of Hungarians
One of the most beautiful and mysthical symbol of Hungarians is the Turul bird. The Turul is probably a large falcon, and the origin of the word is most likely Turkic: togrıl or turgul means a medium to large bird of prey. Turul – as first name – used in Turkey even today. In Hungarian tradition, Turul bird presumably originated as the clan symbol used in the 9th and 10th centuries by the ruling House of Arpad.
In the legends of the ancient Hungarian tribes Turul bird turns up several times. In the legend of Emese, the mother of all Hungarians , recorded in the Gesta Hungarorum and the Chronicon Pictum, the turul is mentioned as occurring in a dream of Emese, when she was already pregnant. In older literature, Turul himself is the “impregnator”, but the message is clear. The Turul’s role is one of a protector spirit, that defends the childrens of Emese from all harms. In a second dream by the leader of the Hungarian tribes those saint prey birds saved the their horses from an attack of wild eagles. And finally according the tradition, when the Hungarian tribes wandered from inner Asia to find a new home to settle down, a Turul bird led them here, to the Carpathian basin.
The Turul is used as in the design of coats of arms of the Hungarian Army, the Counter Terrorism Centre and the Office of National Security today. There were 3 large Turul statues, each with a wingspan of 15 metres, in the Historical Hungary (before the country had its borders reconfigured by the Treaty of Trianon). The last of the three stands on a mountain near Tatabánya, Hungary, but the other two were destroyed. The Tatabánya one is the largest bird statue in Europe, and the largest bronze statue in Central Europe. There remained 195 Turul statues in Hungary, as well as 48 in Romania (32 in Transylvania and 16 in Partium), 8 in Slovakia, 7 in Serbia, 5 in Ukraine, 1 in Austria. And one more as of 29th September 2012, St. Michael the Archangel’s Day erected in Hungary’s Ópusztaszer National Heritage Park neaby Szeged.
Some of the Kingdom of Hungary postage stamps issued after 1900 feature Turuls.
Tourguide and art historian in Budapest, Hungary