Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699


Photo: Szöllősi Gábor

Komár or Komárváros can be found in Hungary and it played an important role in the history of Zala County as well as on the Borderland. It was a smaller castle, 18 km from the strategic fort of Kanizsa. The place was first mentioned in 1019 and it had belonged to the Monastery of Zalavár. The small town was the first center of Zala County but the Mongols destroyed it in 1241.

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor

King Béla IV brought there new settlers in 1263. The settlement became an agricultural town in 1449. The Dominican Order established a monastery in the town which was still in use in 1524. The Marcaly and the Rozgonyi families built their castle in 1540, it was called Kiskomár.

The coat of arms of Zalakomár

The castle went to the king’s hand after 1565 who paid 21 soldiers in it. It was the valiant Lord Thury György who began to increase the number of its garrison in 1568. We know of their complaint from 1573 because of not being paid and about the neglected state of the castle. Its captain, Paradeiser, demanded money and food for the soldiers in 1599, assumably in vain.

It was on the Borderland so their situation wasn’t safe: they paid taxes to the Turks and to the Monastery of Zalavár in 1568 at the same time. After 1600 when Kanizsa fell, the city was only existing as it was defended by Kiskomár castle. Even Kiskomár was abandoned in 1600 so the Turks could take it. Yet, it was taken back next year. We know that its captain, Farkas Benő asked for 100 infantrymen in 1604 because of the enemy. Sadly, the castle was kept in such a poor condition that its guards fled in 1619.

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor

The city was the center of the county’s Reformed church in 1618. Their pastor’s name in 1628 was Pálfy János, he was a bishop of the  Reformed Church. One day, the Ottomans stole 600 cattle in 1630 so only that much food was left in the castle that was enough for three days. We know that Lord Batthyányi Ádám of Komár was pleading to the king to give him 120 riders and 210 Hajdú soldiers.

Once, the Turks attacked the castle at night, four days before the Christmas of 1637. There were nearly one thousand attackers and they destroyed the fence of the outer castle 25-steps-long. The Ottomans could approach the wall because the moat got frozen over. Then, they attacked the wooden palisade, next to the beerhouse at the mill, three times during the night and tried to cut the gate through. The enemy finally managed to cut the palisade through but they were beaten back.

Hussar weapons and armor

The castle remained in a very poor condition thoughBessenyei István, its captain, had the gate mended. A whole section of the palisade fell into the moat in 1645 and it required a very hard job to restore it with earth-work.

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor

The enemy attacked the castle of Komár again in August 1651: they had been destroying the gates and the bastions with howitzers from dawn to afternoon. The water of the moat was drained and because of the mill and other noises, the defenders couldn’t hear each other’s words so the Turks could make a surprise attack. Fortunately, the warriors led by captain Pethő László could stop them but many buildings were burned down along with the settlement around the castle. 

Bessenyei István was its captain in 1640 but the plague of 1644 killed 600 people and it chased everybody away from the place. Batthyányi sent 100 Germans to reinforce the castle in 1651 and the next year 150 Hungarian hussars and 240 infantrymen were sent there from Egerszeg. The castle was pulled down in 1681 and lost its military importance. We know that the Ottoman landlord of the neighboring area was Ali Begh in 1690.

Hungarian Hussars from the 16th century

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The plan of Komár castle from 1559 by Turco (Photo: Szöllősi Gábor