Lánzsér (Landsee) is part of the village called Sopronkeresztúr, it is in Austria now. It used to be the most important Hungarian castle guarding the western border of the Kingdom. Today, the castle is the biggest ruined castle in Central Europe with its 300-meter-long walls. It is worth a visit!
The castle was built in 1173 by the Erchinger family, on a 627-meter-high hill. According to another theory, the castle was built by Miklós, son of Bárz from the Szák Clan, a nobleman who had been with the Hungarian King András II on his Crusade. He had the fort built in the fashion of castles he saw in the Holy Land.
The stone tower’s western wall is 10 meters wide and the tower dates back to the 13th century. The late Gothic structure is surrounded by four circles of walls and two circles of moats. The outer wall is fortified by many bastions.
King Béla IV inherited the castle from the Miklós family in 1250 but the king passed it on to Lőrinc of Aba in 1263. It was the first time when the castle was mentioned as “Castrum Laanser”. The descendants of Lőrinc were the Athina family who owned it in the 15th century. The last member of the family wanted to avoid that the castle would go back to the king so he sold it to the Garay family in 1425. Yet, the Count of Nagymarton didn’t accept the Garay family’s ownership.
We can find the castle in the hands of the Fraknói family in 1435. The Hungarian king wanted to place the Garay family back into their property but the Count of Nagymarton sold the castle to the Austrian Duke Albert VI in 1445 who gave this important fort to Emperor Frederick II.
When Lord Garay Jób died in 1482, King Matthias Corvinus gave the castle as a gift to Ulrik Grafenecker. Then, it was Zsigmond Weisspriach who gained it in 1506, he was the Chief Comes of Sopron.
Teufel Erasmus (the infamous “Ördög Rézmán” as the Hungarians called him) bought it from him in 1548. The new owner was captured by the Turks in the Battle of Palást in 1552 and shortly after he was beheaded in Istanbul. You can read more about the Battle of Palást on my page:
There was a period between 1508-1524 that we call the “Debate over Lánzsér” when a widow called Gertraud didn’t want to cede the castle to the Hungarian King Ulászló II and she hired mercenaries. Their captain was called Magos Ferenc. (Note, I am using the Eastern name order for Hungarian names where family names come first.) These soldiers were neatly robbing the area of Sopron. Then, the king finally sent Trenka György, the Captain of Sopron against the “robber lady”.
The castle was not besieged, though, because the widow was captured by the captain. Lady Gertraud von Hohenwart spent three years in the dungeons before getting her freedom back. At last, King Louis II and the Austrian Duke Ferdinand agreed to create a committee so as to investigate the debate. As a result of this, Lánzsér Castle was given to János Weißpriach.
Oláh Miklós, the Bishop of Esztergom bought the fort in 1553 and he gave it to his nephew, Császár Miklós in 1561. The settlement under the castle was an agricultural small town, with 21 houses in 1640. Lord Dersffy Ferenc got the place by marriage and his daughter, Orsolya got married to Prince Eszterházy Miklós in 1612.
Prince Bethlen’s army was easily repulsed in 1620 so the treasure of the Eszterházy family was saved. We find it in the hands of the Eszterházy family in 1624. We must remark, that the Eszterházy family has founded their future wealth with this above-mentioned marriage. They were the rebuilders of the castle who enlarged it until 1668. The gunpowder tower exploded in the castle in 1707 and a major fire caused further damage in 1790, too.
Here is a short video about the castle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rh5BgBsTGsk
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