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The Turul is the most important bird in the origin myth
Hungarian mythology
Hungarian mythology includes the myths, legends, folk tales, fairy tales and gods of the Hungarians. Many parts of it are thought to be lost, i.e. only some texts remained which can be classified as a myth. However, a significant amount of Hungarian mythology was successfully recovered in the last...

 of the Magyars (Hungarian people).
It is a divine messenger, and perches on top of the tree of life
Tree of life
The concept of a tree of life, a many-branched tree illustrating the idea that all life on earth is related, has been used in science , religion, philosophy, mythology, and other areas...

 along with the other spirits of unborn children in the form of birds. The Turul became a symbol of power, strength, and nobility, and it is still used today on the coat of arms of the Hungarian Army and the Office of National Security
Nemzetbiztonsági Hivatal
Nemzetbiztonsági Hivatal is the name of a Hungarian secret service. Its primary responsibilities are defensive: counterintelligence, counter-terrorism, and related proactive measures...

. The most common motifs of the ninth and the early tenth centuries -the griffin, wolf and hind- seldom figure in later Hungarian iconography and heraldic symbolism, however the Hawk or Turul which in shamanistic lore rested upon the tree of life connecting the earth with the netherworld and the skies preserved for longer as a device belonging to the ruling house.

The Turul is probably based on a large falcon
A falcon is any species of raptor in the genus Falco. The genus contains 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America....

, and the origin of the word is most likely Turkic
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

: togrıl or turgul means a medium to large bird of prey
Bird of prey
Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as birds that primarily hunt vertebrates, including other birds. Their talons and beaks tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing and/or piercing flesh....

 of the family Accipitridae
The Accipitridae, one of the two major families within the order Accipitriformes , are a family of small to large birds with strongly hooked bills and variable morphology based on diet. They feed on a range of prey items from insects to medium-sized mammals, with a number feeding on carrion and a...

, Goshawk or Red Kite
Red Kite
The Red Kite is a medium-large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as eagles, buzzards, and harriers. The species is currently endemic to the Western Palearctic region in Europe and northwest Africa, though formerly also occurred just...

. In Hungarian the word sólyom means falcon, and there are three ancient words describing different kinds of falcons: kerecsen (saker
Saker Falcon
The Saker Falcon is a very large falcon. This species breeds from eastern Europe eastwards across Asia to Manchuria. It is mainly migratory except in the southernmost parts of its range, wintering in Ethiopia, the Arabian peninsula, northern Pakistan and western China...

), zongor [Turkish Sungur = Gyrfalcon] (which survives in the male name Zsombor) and turul.

Emese's dream

In the legends the Turul is mentioned at least twice to have shaped the fate of the Hungarians: on the first occasion Emese
Emese is a feminine Hungarian name. The name originates from an ancient Uralic word eme, meaning mother; it is a commonly-used girls' name in Hungary today. In Hungarian historical mythology, Emese, daughter of Prince Önedbelia of Dentümoger, was the mother of High Prince Álmos and thus the...

, mother of Álmos
High Prince Álmos
Álmos , the first Grand Prince of the Magyars . The Gesta Hungarorum records that his father was Ügyek, while the Chronicon Pictum mentions his father as Előd ; his mother was Emese.-Birth:The medieval chronicle recounts the story of his...

, wife of Ügyek
Ügyek , also known as Ugek, was the legendary father of Álmos, the first High Prince of the Magyars...

 (descended from Attila the Hun
Attila the Hun
Attila , more frequently referred to as Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in 453. He was leader of the Hunnic Empire, which stretched from the Ural River to the Rhine River and from the Danube River to the Baltic Sea. During his reign he was one of the most feared...

) had a dream in which a Turul appeared, impregnated her symbolically and a stream of crystal-clear water started to flow from her womb. As it moved west, it grew into a great river, which signified that her child was going to be the father of a line of great rulers. The second time, the leader of the Hungarian tribes had a dream in which eagles attacked their horses and a Turul came and saved them. This symbolised that they had to migrate, and when they did so, the Turul helped them to show the way and eventually led them to the land that became Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...


This legend is about Hun-Magyar kinship, and the base of the theory that Magyars reconquered Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 as their rightful inheritance from Attila's great Hun Empire.

In Hungarian tradition, the royal house of the Huns and subsequently Hungarians bears the name of the Turul clan (original Latin: genere Turul). It was later called the House of Arpad
Árpád dynasty
The Árpáds or Arpads was the ruling dynasty of the federation of the Hungarian tribes and of the Kingdom of Hungary . The dynasty was named after Grand Prince Árpád who was the head of the tribal federation when the Magyars occupied the Carpathian Basin, circa 895...

, and traditionally descends from the wise and just king Nimrod
Nimrod means "Hunter"; was a Biblical Mesopotamian king mentioned in the Table of Nations; an eponym for the city of Nimrud.Nimrod can also refer to any of the following:*Nimród Antal, a director...

, the first king on Earth.


The Turul represents the god's power and will. The Turul was seen as the ancestor of Attila, and it was also the symbol of the Huns. It is often represented carrying the flaming Sword of God (sword of Attila), and bearing a crown. This crown is not linked directly to the Holy Crown of Hungary, but rather to the crown of Attila, as Attila is traditionally considered the first king of Hungary, as written in Chronicon Pictum
Chronicon Pictum
The Chronicon Pictum Pictum, Chronica Picta or Chronica de Gestis Hungarorum) is a medieval illustrated chronicle from the Kingdom of Hungary from the fourteenth century...

 and other codexes.

Turul statues

There were 3 large Turul statues, each with a wingspan of 15 metres, in Greater Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

 (before the country had its borders reconfigured by the Treaty of Trianon
Treaty of Trianon
The Treaty of Trianon was the peace agreement signed in 1920, at the end of World War I, between the Allies of World War I and Hungary . The treaty greatly redefined and reduced Hungary's borders. From its borders before World War I, it lost 72% of its territory, which was reduced from to...

). The last of the three stands on a mountain near Tatabánya
Tatabánya is a city of 69,988 inhabitants in north-western Hungary, in the Central Transdanubian region. It is the capital of Komárom-Esztergom County.- Location :...

, Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, but the other two were destroyed. It is the largest bird statue in the world, and the largest bronze statue in Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

There remain 195 Turul statues in Hungary, as well as 32 in Transylvania, 16 in Partium
Partium or Részek is the name given in Hungarian to the region located to the north and west of Transylvania.-Origin of the name:...

, 8 in Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

, 5 in Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, 7 in Voivodina, 1 in Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...


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