Csetnek

Csetnek

Csetnek (Štítnik) is located in the Upper lands/Horná Zem/Felvidék, now it is in Slovakia.

It is 13 km to Rozsnyó (Roznava) to the west. Csetnek is worth visiting for its churches and old castle.

Here is a short video about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJ1tJCwbeJ4

The small town was first mentioned in the document of King Béla IV in 1243 as Chitnek. The king gave the place to the son of Bebek Mátyás.

In fact, the settlement was a Saxon mining town and was also called Chytnuk (1258) and Csethnik (1291) or Olchytnuk in 1330. The town was granted the right to collect taxes and hold a market in 1320.

King Robert Károly gave further privileges to it in 1328. It was a typical mining town, the sources of 1344 mention that they had used water energy for mining iron ore. The town was famous for its good quality iron and copper.

There were 67 houses in 1427 which paid taxes. A huge plague killed many of the inhabitants in 1555.

The small town has kept its traditions until the 19th century, namely, that the judge of the town had silver coins spread to the poor every New Year’s Eve.

The Parish church was mentioned in 1355 and it has nice Gothic frescoes all over in it. The church was rebuilt in 1460 but its northern part has never been finished. The Evangelic church was built before 1286 and enlarged in the 14th century. It has the oldest built organ of Northern Hungary, it was made in 1484 and all its accessories are from the Renaissance style.

The frescoes are painted by Italian Renaissance artists while the painting of the altar was made by Hans Aachens.

The Pauline (Pálos) Order had its monastery next to the church and its ruins were still visible in the 19th century.

According to a legend, the castle and the Gothic church were connected by an underground tunnel. The latest archeological excavations have found the remains of this tunnel which had led indeed to the “vizivár” to the “water castle”, as it was called at that time because of the palisade walls reached into the small river.

The smiths of the town wrought very good quality swords and it was why the Turks didn’t burn the town: the inhabitants paid their taxes to the Turks by making them splendid blades every year. The crescent moon can be seen on the tower of the church instead of the cross, as a memento of those times.

These settlements were too close to the borderline and many times they had to pay taxes to both the Muslims and the Christians. Now you can see two blades hanging on the wall of the city hall: one of them is a saber they had wrought for the kuruc soldiers of Prince Rákóczi Ferenc while the other one is the great sword of the town’s executioner.

The castle had been built before, in the 13th century but it became more important in the Turkish age. The owners of the castle have changed each other quite frequently, the Horváth, the Bakos, the Andrássy and the Thököly and the Rokfalussy families were its owners.

Finally, the Andrássy family and the Szontagh family were its owners. You can see three stately homes of these families in the town which is a village now.

The castle was later rebuilt as a fortified palace at the beginning of the 17th century. It was a four-story building in 1664 but the rebel kuruc troops put it on fire in 1685. Prince Rákóczi Ferenc used to own another stately home in the town in 1694.

The plague had many victims in 1710 and in 1739, too.