Kereki, Fehérkő castle

Photo: Civertan

Kereki castle is 7 km to the south of Lake Balaton in Hungary. It was also called Fehérkő or Katonavár: a real Borderland castle that was often the target of Ottoman raids. (The word “katona” stands for “soldier”.) The first mention of the place is from 1193 when King Béla III reaffirmed that it had belonged to the Johannite knights. Later, it was mentioned as  “villa Kerekquui” in 1229. 

Photo: Kocsis Kadosa

Kereki was built in the 14th century, its first known captain was called Czikó in 1336. King Zsigmond gave it to the Marczali family in 1402 in exchange for their deeds against the Ottomans. Nevertheless, Lord Marcalli later rebelled against him so the castle had to be taken back by force in 1403.

Photo: Ádám Attila

Lord Marcali Miklós was pardoned and he had the walls mended in 1408. The castle’s next owner was the Báthory family in 1474. After the death of King Matthias Corvinus, the intruding Habsburg troops took the castle of Kereki in 1494.

Photo: Ádám Attila

General Kinizsi Pál and Báthory István took it back the next year with the help of the Black Army. Lord Perneszi Ferenc bought the ruined castle in 1530 and had it rebuilt. He couldn’t enjoy it for a long time because the small castle had to be exploded in 1543 in fear of Ottoman peril.

The ruined fort was under Ottoman rule for a short time after this. According to an Ottoman tax list from 1564, there were 12 houses in the settlements that paid taxes. Then, the place belonged to the Hungarian borderland castle of Tihany between 1598-99. The village was destroyed and depopulated in the early 17th century. The castle had belonged to the Perneszi family again since the middle of the 17th century (1665) but Perneszi Zsigmond sold it to the wife of Babocsai Ferenc in 1695.

Photo: Ádám Attila

The stones of the castle were used for materials for the church in the 19th century and a local stately home.

Photo: Ádám Attila

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Here are more pictures of Kereki Castle: