One-time keeper of the castle, Péter Perényi ordered the building of bastion walls around the medieval city center, and the interior keep in the southeastern part of the outer castle building became the landlord’s new residence. The construction of the east palace wing of the interior keep started in 1540, and finished in 1563, in the lifetime of Perényi Péter’s son, Gábor.
The bastion wall surrounding the tower was also raised on the orders of Gábor Perényi, presumably in 1567. The buildings were constructed by Hungarian craftsmen in late Renaissance style, based on plans by Alessandro Vedani from northern Italy, who oversaw the building operations. (The fragments of carvings in Roman and Gothic style originate from the one-time Dominican monastery and a nearby keep.) After the death of Gábor Perényi, the castle was supervised by the Hungarian Chamber until 1573, and later it was acquired by the Dobó and Lorántffy families. As part of Zsuzsanna Lorántffy’s dowry, the castle became an estate of the Rákóczis in 1616.
In the 1630s, the Rákóczi family had the interior keep extended. The upper floor of the southern palace wing and the Bokályos House were finished by 1642-43, and the most valuable part of the courtyard, the Lorántffy Loggia was completed in 1646. The new bastion was constructed in 1627, and the Red Tower received a new floor in 1656 with cannon-sites, a high, pyramidal roof, and four small guard towers in the corners of the building. The Sub Rosa Balcony on the upper floor of the northeastern corner bastion was also built in the 17th century. The rounded balcony room was named after the rose-shaped decoration on the vaulting.
In 1702, the emperor’s troops destroyed the outer castle building, and damaged the Red Tower as well. The castle burned down in 1703, when captured by the Kuruc forces of Rákóczi. Still, the building served as the location of the 1708 national assembly, which approved to give land grants to those local serfs who joined Rákóczi's War of Independence. After the war, the castle became the possession of Austrian or German dynasties right down until 1945. First it was owned by the Trautson and Bretzenheim families, and in 1875 it was acquired by the Windischgrätz family. Prince Trautson had the castle renovated in Baroque style, and the Bretzenheim ducal family had the outer facades refurbished with Romantic and Eclectic elements, but the late Renaissance, 16-17th century characteristics of the Red Tower remained.
Located in the castle building, the Rákóczi Museum (today, it is the Rákóczi Museum of the Hungarian National Museum) was opened in 1950. During visits, the museum intends to offer more than a mere exhibition – the experience is more like time-traveling into the 16-18th century.
In the outer castle building, a new exhibition space and the cannon caster workshop of György Rákóczi provide an opportunity for visitors to learn about bronze cannons of the early modern period and György Rákóczi’s artillery.
The castle garden serves as a reminder of the famous gardens of Sárospatak. A rich garden blossomed during the life of Zsuzsa Lorántffy, but today only a few trees remained from the old times. The recent structure of the garden was designed by the Bretzenheims. The most remarkable old trees of the castle garden are a white acacia tree with a trunk circumference of 500 centimeters, the Japanese acacia tree with a trunk perimeter of more than 400 centimeters, and the two old ash trees.
The 17th-century bridal palace of the castle later functioned as a Trinitarian monastery, and today is called the Temple of Muses. The manorial building was raised on old foundations, and in 1651 it was used a bridal house for the wedding of Zsigmond Rákóczi and Henrietta of Pfalz. After the wedding, the house functioned as a farm building until Ferenc Rákóczi II donated it to the Trinitarian Orderin 1693. As the order dissolved in 1784, the building was given over to manorial officials. Beside the museum workshops, the Temple of Muses provides a home for concerts, exhibitions, conferences and various other programs. The memorial room of the Kossuth Award winner composer, Ferenc Farkas(1905–2000) can also be found here, together with a permanent exhibition on the story of the castle.
Address: 19 Szent Erzsébet utca