Bátorkő Castle (literally: „brave stone“) is in Hungary, it was also called Ópalota (old palace). Confusingly enough, it is just 5 km from Várpalota Castle to the North (that was also called Újpalota = new palace). Now, to make it more difficult, Bátorkő is often called „Pusztapalota“ („palace of the barren field“). The castle was built in the second part of the 13th century (before 1271) when it belonged to the powerful Konth family.
The Konth family used their name as Palotai Konth which means Konth from Palota. There is a village at the southern entrance of Bátorkő’s valley and it was called Palota, after the castle of Bátorkő (Ópalota, Pusztapalota). However, the castle’s first mention is assumedly from 1288 as “castro Bacurku”. According to other historians, it was built in the first part of the 14th century.
Pusztapalota / Ópalota / Bátorkő castle was in the hands of the Csák family in 1326 when they traded it with King Károly Róbert in exchange for other castles. Its castellan was Keszi Balázs in 1409, his name appeared in the document like this: “castellánus castri Bathorkw alias curialis in Palotha”. As we can see, Bátorkő and Palota were mentioned separately. According to Faller Jenő, all documents written before 1440, refer to Pusztapalota castle and not Várpalota.
We know about just one siege that Bátorkő successfully withstood against the expanding Ottoman Empire. It was once mentioned in 1559. A few years later, it was Sultan Suleiman who mentioned Ópalota castle in a donation document on 1 October 1564. A certain Timarian landholder, a soldier called Ali who had owned land in the Sandjak of Buda that was worth 5,500 Akcse (silver coins) was fighting bravely at Ópalota castle. He was thrown off his saddle by an infidel Hungarian but Ali fought on foot and escaped death. As a result of his deed, he received 2,000 silver coins. According to this document, the castle was still in Hungarian hands at that time.
Like so many small forts, the castle was destroyed during the Ottoman Wars but we don’t know exactly when.
The castle burned down in the 19th century because lightning struck it. When it was not used anymore, it acquired the name “Pusztapalota”, meaning it stood on a barren and abandoned place.
Here is a short video from above the ruins:
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Photo: Szöllősi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu