Photo: Civertan

Devecser is in Hungary, in Veszprém County, it is north of Lake Balaton. In the Middle Ages, there were five villages in the area of today’s Devecser: Devecser, Kisdevecser, Szék, Meggyes, and Patony. These villages expanded in the 12th and 13th centuries. There is an Esterházy castle in the town.

Black: private castles White: royal castles
(Picture: Soma Matolcsi)

King Kun László gave the place to Comes Devecseri Márton in 1274. (Please, note that I use the Eastern name order for Hungarians where family names come first.) The Devecseri family began to use the Csóron name from the 14th century on. By the end of the 15th century, the Csóron family had got hold of the whole area nearby. It was Csóron Márton who had his stately home built after 1470 there.

The COA of Devecser

Later, the village was taken away from the family but they got it back in exchange for their deeds in the fights against the uprising peasants of Dózsa György in 1514. The peasants were told to have destroyed the family`s stately home in Devecser. Unfortunately, this large peasant war had mortally weakened the country just a few years before the Ottoman attack in 1526.

While the Ottomans occupied vast parts of Central and Eastern Europe, the region north of Lake Balaton remained in the Kingdom of Hungary, it was a captaincy between Lake Balaton and the Drava River. This section of the 1,000-mile-long Military Borderland was directly between the Ottomans’ main path towards Vienna so it was constantly harassed, even during the rare periods when officially there was peace between the Turks and the Habsburgs. The so-called “small war” was raging ceaselessly in the Borderland from the first appearance of Ottoman riders at the end of the 15th century until the first part of the 18th century.

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor

Due to the Ottoman peril, the stately home in Devecser was reinforced and a moat and a wall with a tower were built around it. It was not created to withhold the more advanced artillery of the age but it was strong enough to beat back the Sultan`s raiding cavalry unit in 1532 when he tried to march against Vienna.

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor

The Turks had tried to take the Castle of Devecser many times. With the fall of Veszprém castle in 1552, the population of 15 nearby villages fled. Whoever stayed, was in danger of getting enslaved. According to the letter of Chóron János in June 1552, the Turks had herded away 92 people from the village of Olaszfalu next to Ugod Castle („circa castrum meum Ugod”). The Ottomans temporarily took the Castle of Devecser on the northern bank of Lake Balaton and destroyed 15 villages in the meantime on 14 July 1552. We also know that the Hussars of Devecser took part in the retaking of Hegyesd Castle in 1562 though the Hungarians took Devecser back in 1566.

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor

The Csóron clan was discontinued in 1584 so Devecser went to the mighty Nádasdy family who didn`t care much about repairing the small fort. The Esterházy family obtained it in 1625 and they turned the castle into a palace. The Esterházy family used to be loyal to the Habsburgs so Devecser Castle was not doomed and avoided destruction, unlike most Borderland castles after the fall of  Rákóczi’s War of Independence in 1711.

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor

The garden of the Palace looked like this after the sludge disaster of 2010:

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor

You can find Devecser castle on the map here:

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Here are more pictures of Devecser: