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The Trident and the Turul Bird

The Hungarians of Transcarpathia pose awkward questions for Ukraine’s Western backers.


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When the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed after World War I, Hungary lost her most imposing fortifications. In the mountains of what is now Slovakia, Orava Castle so impressed Hollywood location scouts that it was used to film Nosferatu. The Romanians took Corvin Castle in Transylvania, though a full-scale replica still exists in Budapest City Park. In Mukachevo, Palanok Castle was inherited first by Czechoslovakia, then, after a brief Hungarian recovery in World War II, by the Soviet Union, and finally by Ukraine. Last October, the city council replaced a statue in the castle courtyard of the Turul, a mythological bird that supposedly guided the medieval Hungarian migration from Central Asia, with the Ukrainian trident, a symbol that has lately become ubiquitous on social media.


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