Photo: Szöllősi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu

Korpona (Krupina, Karpfen) is located in the Upper lands/Horná Zem/Felvidék, in Slovakia. The town is 27 km to the south of Zólyom (Zvolen). Its name may have come from the Saxons or the Carpiani people. The settlement lay on the route known as “via magna”, connecting the Baltic Sea with the Adriatic.

The Hungarian Hontpázmány clan founded the village in the 11th century and many Germans arrived there soon who had been privileged for their military deeds by King Saint István. King András II invited Saxon miners in the 13th century from Transylvania. It was first mentioned in 1238 as Corpona.

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu

The Mongolian invasion devastated the settlement in 1241. King Béla IV gave more privileges to the surviving inhabitants in 1244. The small town was allowed to hold a market in 1393.

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu

It was surrounded by a wall in the 15th century and after the attack of Giskra’s Czech Hussites in 1440, the church was also fortified. The Hussites owned the town for 20 years and only King Matthias could take it back.

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu

The “Korpona law”, based on the Magdeburg rights, was the basis for many towns in northern Hungary. The deposits of gold and silver ran out in the 14th century and thereafter the town’s economy was based on handicraft and agriculture. A small stone tower was built on the hill next to the town in 1546.

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu

The locals called it a “haversack castle” because the garrison used to take their food every week in sacks when they changed the guards. They built a second fortification in front of the town’s gate in 1564 which was pulled down in 1905. The Turks besieged it in 1582 but could not take it. The town was the center of Hont County during the 17th century because of the permanent Turkish peril.

Rhédey Ferenc, the general of Prince Bocskai took the place in 1604. The Diet of 1605 took place in Korpona where Bocskai called together the representatives of 22 Hungarian Counties and the delegates of the free royal towns of Northern Hungary. The envoys of Transylvania also took part in it. Bocskai made sure to call 7,000 Hussars and 10,000 Hajdu troops for the sake of safety, too. The verdicts of this Diet significantly influenced the legal order of Hungary until 1848.

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu

These were the next: They decided that religion should be freely practiced and the king would be not allowed to make war in Hungary without the agreement of the Diet. They re-established the function of the Palatine. They ruled that the Holy Crown of Hungary must be kept only in Hungary, guarded by people who had to be native Hungarians. Instead of the Chamber of Vienna, the old Treasury institution was re-installed. The Jesuits were deprived of all their rights in Hungary.

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu

They were not allowed to own any properties there, either. Only Hungarians were allowed to be appointed to have offices in Hungary, regardless of their religion. Only Hungarian soldiers were permitted to guard the castles of the Borderland. The king was supposed to live in Hungary, otherwise, the Palatine would reign on his behalf. People could not be judged without holding a court case.

The Turks sacked the city in 1626 but the defenders could beat them back in 1647. The defenders withstood two more sieges in 1678. Prince Thököly took it in 1682 and the troops of General Ocskay took it in 1703. The rebel Kuruc troops of Andrássy György put the town on fire in 1708 before the Imperial army could take it back.

The Haversack Castle Photo: Szöllősi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu

You can read the story of a Hungarian-Turk duel in my book “33 Castles, Battles, Legends”:

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My books "33 Castles, Battles, Legends" and "The Ring of Kékkő Castle"
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Here are many pictures of Korpona: