Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699


Érsekújvár in 1940 (Source: Pogany Peter)

Érsekújvár (Nove Zamky, Neuhäus(e)l) is located in the Upper lands/Horná Zem/Felvidék, it is in Slovakia. A fortress was built, against the Ottoman Turks, on the site of an older settlement in the years 1545-46 and between 1573–81. It was the Archbishop of Esztergom, Oláh Miklós, who had the palisade fort rebuilt. Archbishop means “Érsek” in Hungarian while “újvár” stands for “new castle”.

The Franciscan Monastery (Photo: Pogany Peter)

You can read more about Oláh Miklós here:

Érsekújvár in 1605

In the beginning, it was also called “Oláhújvár”, after its builder. The town developed around the fortress. The huge new fortress was one of the most modern fortresses in Europe when it was built, a prime example of the star fortress which was considered to be adapted to the advance in artillery in the preceding centuries.

A Plaque commemorating Bercsényi Miklós (Photo: Pogany Peter)

It was Cardinal Pázmány Péter who had the archbishop’s palace built here in 1620 in order to fight Protestantism. He consecrated there the Franciscan church and monastery. Érsekújvár had a well-fortified and modern castle and thus was considered a strategic place near the Bohemian border.

A plaque commemorating Forgách Ádám, captain of Érsekújvár (Photo: Bojars)

 The Ottomans failed to conquer it six times. However, they occupied it for shorter periods: between 1566–1595 and 1605–1606). They were able to take it in 1663, too. It was made the center of a Turkish vilayet in Upper Hungary. The saying “Strong as a Turk in front of Érsekújvár”, which means working with determination and stability, reflects the memory of the conquest determination of the Turks. In 1685 it was reconquered by the imperial troops of Charles V, Duke of Lorraine.

The site where Ocskay was beheaded in 1710 (Photo: Pogány Péter)

Six years later, it received town privileges from the archbishop of Esztergom. The town also played an important role in many anti-Habsburg uprisings in the northern parts of Royal Hungary in the 17th century. Emperor Charles VI had it razed in 1724–1725, to prevent potential further insurrections which would use the fortress as their base.

Érsekújvár in 1685

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The statue of Archbishop Széchényi György (Photo: Pogány Péter)


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