Ipolydamásd is in northern Hungary, not far from the Ipoly and the Danube rivers. It is famous for its castle from the Ottoman age, however, you can barely find its traces. Yet, these were the small forts that saved western Europe from the Ottoman Empire so we have to pay due respect to them and to their unknown keepers.

The village was first mentioned in 1262 as Damas. The castle was there in 1361 according to the sources it was a hunting residence of the king. We know that King Louis the Great issued a document in the castle in 1372. We also know the names of ten captains of Damasd between 1361 and 1503. King Louis II gave the castle to the Prior of Esztergom in 1523. The castle must have been destroyed by the Ottomans around 1543-44. But it was just the first destruction.

The area got depopulated due to the Turk raids and the settlement was not mentioned after 1570 in the Ottoman tax records. The Bey of Esztergom had a palisade castle built on the northern part of the village in 1581 against the Hungarian warriors’ raids. This palisade fort was built right on the ruins of the previous hunting castle.

The Ottomans had the fort emptied and put it on fire in 1594 because of the Hungarian army’s success in the area. After the Treaty of Zsitvatorok in 1606, the Hungarians rebuilt the castle to protect the valley of the Ipoly River. The fort was reinforced between 1610-1620 and in the next years. There were 50 cavalrymen and 100 infantrymen guarding it in the 1630s.

The castle of Damásd (Photo: Civertan)

However, during the truce, the Ottomans took it by force in 1641 so Palatine Eszterházy Miklós sent an angry letter of complaint to the Pasha of Buda about it. The Pasha gave in and had the fort emptied but put it on fire just after it. The Hungarians owned it until 1646 but when its captain, Bercsényi László was away, the Turks of Vác castle ambushed and took it in his absence. The attackers killed everyone in the castle and around it and ruined the fort to the ground.

Photo: Livvyfan

It was never rebuilt after that. There was a plague in 1690 when everybody died and Slovakian settlers were called there from the area of Privigye. In my opinion, all fortifications of the 1,000-mile-long Hungarian-Croatian Borderland should be reconstructed and opened to the public because this unique structure has been functioning for a very long time and witnessed generations of valiant people’s deeds.

The place of the former bridge of the Ipoly River at Damásd (Photo: Connect)

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