Felsőlendva (Slovenian: Grad, earlier Gornja Lendava, German: Oberlindau) is a village that can be found in Slovenia in the area that used to be called Muravidék in the Hungarian language. It is close to the Austrian and Hungarian border. Its castle is the biggest one in Slovenia and it is located 300 meters from the church of the village which boasts a statue of King Saint István (Stephan) and it is built on the top of a steep hill. The late-medieval wall of the castle encloses a half-acre-big area.
The first fortification dates back to the 11th century and according to the hearsay the castle had belonged to the Templar knights. The Hungarian King Béla III gave the area in 1183 to the monastery of Szentgotthárd. Later, the lands around the castle were given to the Comes of Vas County, Miklós in 1208 by the Hungarian King Endre II. At this time, the place was mentioned as “Lyndwa”.
As for Comes Miklós, he was the ancestor of the Dárói family. The castle was besieged by the Czech in 1271 and the Bohemian King Ottokar II owned it until 1275. Lord Gutkeled Amadé, the Comes of Vas County bought the castle from Dárói Salamon and the king (László V) agreed to the business in 1275 and accepted his ownership. The descendants of Amádé Gutkeled were the Felsőlendvai family who has owned the property until the family got extinct.
Then, the place was given to Kont Miklós (the ancestor of the Újlaki family) in 1358 but the king made a barter with him, giving him Újlak castle in exchange for Lendva Castle. Finally, the castle was given by King Lajos (Louis) I of Hungary to Palatine Szécsi Miklós in 1365 in exchange for the area around Miskolc.
At that time, Lendva Castle had 73 villages serving its needs. It was mentioned as an agricultural town in 1478, as “opidum Lyndwa” and as “oppidum Felsewlyndwa” in 1499. The Szécsi family has owned it during the late-medieval period and eventually, they have become the greatest landlords of Vas County. They had been continuously enlarging and reinforcing the castle. Also, they have contributed to the spread of the Protestant faith in the Mura Area in the 16th century.
During the 16th century, the castle has been several times taken and retaken by uprising peasants (1515, 1549), by anti-Habsburg rebels in 1605 and 1616.
The Ottomans sacked it in 1685 and in 1688. Later, after 1684, Lendva Castle was in the hands of the Nádasdy and the Almássy family. During the ownership of the Nádasdy family, in the 17th century, the castle was rebuilt and turned into a great castle-palace. The chapel of the castle dates back to this period but its tower was only finished in 1751.
The castle was taken by the rebel „kuruc” troops of Prince Rákóczi Ferenc in 1704. The renovation of the castle has been steadily going on since 2006 and there were some nice exhibitions in it in 2017. There are also some luxurious hotel rooms in the castle, a modern conference hall and couples organize weddings there as well. There is an enormous, three-story-deep extensive cellar system under the cliff of the castle where huge, ancient wine-barrels had been kept according to reports from the 19th century.
Here is a video about the castle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zJ101kgnEY
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