Photo: Civertan

Bozók (Bzovík) is a fortified monastery, and it located in the historical region called Upper Lands/Horná Zem/Felföld/Felvidék, it is in Slovakia. Bozók is located 30 km south of the town of Zólyom (Zvolen), near Korpona. It played an important role in the Hungarian-Ottoman wars as it was part of the Hungarian Borderland against the expanding Ottoman Empire.

Bozók in the 1860s

It was Comes Lampert of Hunt-Poznan Clan, the brother-in-law of the Hungarian King László who established a Cistercian abbey in Bozók between 1124-31, in honor of Saint King István. His son, Miklós, and his wife Zsófia were helping him with it. Bozók was also mentioned in King Béla II’s document in 1135. In 1180-1181 the monastery was given to the canons of Premontre. The provostship was a branch of the monastery of Rié (France) or Gradec in Moravia.

Bozók (by Pazirik Ltd)

King Béla IV gave the right to make judgments over the people of the monastery to the exclusive jurisdiction of the country’s judge or provost. The provostship of Bozók has since occupied an important place in the history of the county for centuries, but perhaps the most memorable is its lawsuit, which was sometimes carried out in bloody quarrels against the town of Korpona. In 1351, Dobrakutyai Lőrinc killed Abbot Róbert and his two servants during a quarrel. (Please, note that I use the Oriental name order for Hungarians where family names come first.)

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor

You can read more about Korpona (Krupina) here:

The debates were ended only in 1431 but in 1433, Bozók was destroyed by the Bohemian Hussites and in the mid-15th century by commanders from the Korpona castle. Bozók also took part in the disturbances following the death of King Albert, as can be seen from the complaint of the provost Paul, who accused Palásti Bertók and László, lieutenants of Korpona castle because the provost was robbed in 1444 and its buildings were destroyed. The provost also accused Captain Gyulafi György of Korpona in 1446 of the same charges.

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor

The settlement was a market town with weekly market rights. During the civil war after the disaster in Mohács, in 1530, Balassa Zsigmond and his Hajdú soldiers occupied the monastery of Bozók. From 1530 to 1567 it belonged to Lord Balassa Zsigmond who chased away the monks and even had a few of them killed. The monks fled to the Abbey of Garamszentbenedek, carrying their letters and documents there. Lord Balassa turned Bozók castle into a real fort and placed Hajdú soldiers in it. It was even able to resist a Turkish siege in 1541 while it was being built. The constructions were completed in 1546.

Bozók (Photo: Orosz Örs)

Balassa Zsigmond was expelled from the castle in 1547 by his younger brother, Balassa Menyhárt who was loyal to King Szapolyai János, but only for a short time, because King Ferdinand conquered it for his follower, Balassa Zsigmond. Balassa Zsigmond left the castle of Bozók and the lands belonging to it to his wife, Fánchy Borbála. It was Borbála’s relative, Dennai Fánchy György who inherited it from her, under the condition that the king would have to pay them back 7,000 gold Forints if he wanted to take Bozók castle back. (It was the cost she spent on the walls.)

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor

The Fánchy family remained in the possession of Bozók for almost a century and played a prominent role in the public life of Hont County, greatly raising the importance of Bozók. The castle used to be a meeting place for county assemblies between 1599 and 1646. Between 1567 and 1658 it belonged to them and in 1678 it passed to the Jesuits of Esztergom. Later, the Szelényi, Bori, and Balog families also gained parts of the lands of Bozók. 

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor

Count Balassa Imre was one of Prince Thököly Imre’s generals, and he took Bozók in 1678. He had Castellan Móra István and another officer beheaded, then he burned it to the ground. It was renovated in 1686 by Cardinal Szelepcsényi György who managed to attach Bozók and its lands to the property of the Church. Half of the property was gained by Cardinal Kolonics in 1693 for the Jesuits.

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor

The castle was used for providing rooms for the servants of the landlord in the first part of the 20th century. By this time, the old decorations of the castle chapel had vanished as it was used by people belonging to the Reformed church. Still, there were the portraits of some of the owners in the great hall. The 15th-century monastery building and the church were utterly destroyed during WWII. 

Picture by Orosz Örs

Now, we can see the remains of the deep moat around the castle. The walls are 85 meters long and huge towers can be seen at the corners. Inside, you can see some ruins of low buildings. The guarding tower used to stand amid the buildings but only a section of wall has remained of it. Since 2011, there have been signs of continuous renovation.

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Here are more pictures of Bozók castle: