The village of Felsővály (Vysné Valice) is in the Upper lands/Horná Zem/Felvidék, it can be found in Slovakia. It is located at the end of the Vály Valley and it is said to be the language border between Slovakians and Hungarians, presently. One part of my family is from this place and I have spent all my summers there as a child.
This is the nicest place on Earth, for me. Felsővály is not very far from Fülek (Filakovo) castle that used to be an important Borderland castle during the Ottoman wars. You can read more about the 1,000-mile-long Borderland that separated West Europe and the Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years here:
On the other side of the hill called Lyukaskő, there is the Balog Valley with the castle of Balog. Originally, the name of Vály village was Bikszög. This hidden village is at the end of the road, surrounded by hills where there is a small ground castle on a stone ridge, the locals call it Desko castle. It was abandoned in the 13th century. Its role could have been to give shelter against the possible raids. Here is a film in the Hungarian language about the area, go to 2:17 and you will see more about the village: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0w1phJo8sVY
The Hungarians settled in this valley early, right after Chief Árpád’s home taking. Its inhabitants have always been some kind of “boundary-guards” who were guarding the boundary of the country, they may have belonged to the “Gömörőrök” (Gömör guards) community, defending their County of Gömör, as well. These soldiers, similar to the Székelys in Transylvania, didn’t have to pay taxes because they were providing military services. It was known as a village of nobles in the 13th century, mentioned first in 1247.
Felsővály is famous for its fortified church which served as a shelter against the Ottoman raiders. The fortified church with its towers also looks like the churches in Transylvania. It was built in the 15th century but its present form was constructed in 1622. The wooden bell tower was also built in the 17th century. The wooden, painted ceiling of the church is worth seeing. The church used to be a Catholic one, devoted to Holy Mary but during the Turkish age, the villagers became Protestants.
The church shows the signs of late-Gothic style as well; its size is bigger than similar churches’. It is surrounded by thick walls and a bastion. The inhabitants had suffered from the Bohemian Hussites’ raids in the 15th century and later from the Turks.
There was a battle against the Hussites in the 15th century, near the village, the church was said to be fortified during that period. We can see the following families as owners of lands between 1516 and 1568: the Ember, Fuló, Kálas, Kálmánczy, Lőkös, Nagy, Vályi and Vincze families. The Katona and Bodon families were also among them, my close relatives. In fact, they are all related to me. My family was deported from that area in 1946 so I was born in Budapest in 1966. But I will never forget them.
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Here are a few pictures of the village of Felsővály: