Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699



Boldogkőváralja castle

Boldogkő aka Boldogkőváralja’s castle is in north Hungary and it was first mentioned in King András III’s document in 1282.

Its legend dates back to the Tatar invasion where King Béla IV was allegedly hiding in the castle in 1241.


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The Drugeth family got the fort in the 14th century and they reinforced it. It had many owners until 1471 when the Szapolyai family got it but they gave it to the Tomori family in 1526.

The castle had frequently exchanged hands between King Szapolyai and the usurper King Ferdinand I during the next years. Serédi Gáspár and Bebek Ferenc had beaten the troops of Szapolyai in 1530 there and laid a six-week-long unsuccessful siege on the castle.

Later, Tomori György sold the castle to the famous statesman of Szapolyai, Father Martinuzzi György in that year. Yet, King Ferdinand took it in 1537. He gave it to the Bebek family in 1542.


Bebek Ferenc was the most infamous robber knight of the age. Sárközy Mihály traded the captured Turkish Pasha Achmed for the castle with the Bebek family in 1560. Then, it was sold to the Serényi family in 1578.

The famous poet Balassa Bálint used to live there in the 1580s. The Palochay family bought it from them in 1612 and after a few businesses, it went to Prince Rákóczi György I in 1644.


The castle had had a few sieges in the meantime, like the one in 1674 when the anti-Habsburg “kuruc” rebels wanted to take it. The Emperor’s troops began the destruction of the castle in 1676 ( they wanted to blow it up as they had done with the castles of Kisvárda, Szerencs, and Füzér).

Later, Prince Thököly Imre took it back from the Germans but his man surrendered the castle in 1685 to the Emperor when Thököly was arrested by Pasha Achmed of Várad.

The Habsburg mercenaries had the rest of the castle exploded by gunpowder in 1701.

For me, Boldogkőváralja’s castle is one of the most charming forts of north Hungary.


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