Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars

Detrekő castle and the Pálffy palace

Photo: Ruman Laci

Detrekő (Plavecké Podhradie) is located in the Little Carpathians, it is in the Upper lands/Horná Zem/Felvidék, in Slovakia, not very far from Pozsony (Bratislava, Pressburg). Here is a video about the castle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0-FnKAZ-B0

Photo: Ruman Laci

King Ottokar II of Bohemia had some ambitions against Hungary during the reign of the Hungarian King Béla IV, the Czech ruler wanted to get territories from us. Ottokar led a campaign against the Hungarians in 1271 and took Dévény and Pozsony castles, burning many towns in the area. Then, he was beaten back by King István V, the son of King Béla IV. Yet, Ottokar did not give up his plans and two years later he attacked again. It was the time when a wall around the initial stone tower of Detrekő castle was built by King István V. 

The royal seal of King Ottokar II

It was besieged by King Ottokar in 1273 but the Bohemian ruler could not take it. Let us remark that King Ottokar was finally defeated in the Battle of Morvamező (Marchfield) in 1278. 

Photo: Ruman Laci

Later, Lord Csák Máté was equally unsuccessful when he tried to take the castle for the first time. The Kőszegi family gained it for a short time at the end of the 13th century, then Csák Máté could size it. (Please, note that I use the Oriental name order for Hungarians where family names come first.) The castle was owned by Count Szentgyörgyi and Count Bazini, then it belonged to the Serédy and later to the Salm family. Then, it was given to the Fuggers, and then King Ferdinand I bought it and gave it to the Balassa family. In the time of Lord Balassa Menyhárt, the locals called the castle „Gyötrőkő” („Torturing-stone”).

Photo: Ruman Laci

Bornemissza Péter, the great Protestant author of the 16th century was living and working in Detrekő when its lord was Balassa István, the son of Menyhárt. Bornemissza used to be the teacher of the greatest Hungarian warrior-poet, Balassa Bálint and had his works printed there. Bornemissza was buried near Detrekő, in the village of Rárbok. It was the printing house where the writings of Prince Báthory István (later Polish king) were printed just like the historical chronicle of Valkai András.  

Photo: Ruman Laci

The troops of Prince Bethlen Gábor of Transylvania took Detrekő castle but they left it after a short time. It was Pálffy Pál who bought the castle and its 25 villages from King Ferdinand III. The Pálffy family was related to the wealthy Fuggers and they could get the castle in 1641. They built a more comfortable palace in the village in the Renaissance style. Unfortunately, it cannot be visited now because some kind of office is located there.

The Pálffy palace

The middle part of the castle was built in Gothic style, with a rectangular tower and a palace. In the 16th century, it was extensively rebuilt into a renaissance fortress with low courtyards. It was continually fortified and maintained during the 17th century when new cannon bastions were built by Pálffy Pál. He also had a more comfortable Renaissance palace with four towers built next to the old castle. 

The Hungarian rebel “kuruc” troops of Prince Rákóczi Ferenc took the castle but the Habsburgs regained it in 1707 when General Starhemberg defeated there the army of General Ocskay László. It became dilapidated in the 18th century. At that time, there were 27 villages that belonged to the castle of Detrekő, including the town of Malacka. Finally, the Czechoslovak state took the castle away from the Pálffy family in 1945. If you visit the place, you won’t find any Hungarian information boards or texts, unfortunately.

The COA of the Pálffy family

Source: partly from Forum Hungaricum

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Photo: Ruman Laci

Here are more pictures of Detrekő castle:

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