Photo: Pudelek

Léva (Levice, Lewenz) was a Hungarian castle of the famous Lord Thury György and it is located in the Upper lands/Horná Zem/Felvidék, in Slovakia. It is in the valley of the Garam River, just 34 km from Selmecbánya (Banská Štiavnica, Schemnitz). You can read a legend about the white geese of Léva Castle on my page:


Photo: Civertan

Here is a nice film about it, unfortunately only in the Hungarian language:


The castle was first mentioned in 1347 as “Leua”. The castle was built above a strong Celtic fort. It is also said to have been an important center of the Hunnish Empire of King Attila in the 5th century A.D. There are the remains of a 12th-century castle and a church on a hill called Baratka, next to the city.

Léva used to be a royal castle, owned by the Hungarian king. It was built in the 13th century. King Ottokár II was trying to take it by siege in 1270 but he couldn’t. Later it went to Csák Máté and the king could take it back only in 1321 when it became Bars County’s administrative center.

The castle witnessed how King Károly Róbert was beheading Sebe, the daughter of Felicián Zách. (The noble who had tried to assassinate him and injured his queen.) This frontier castle was heroically defended in 1544 by Balassa Menyhért against the Turks but the captain was accused of treason and escaped to Transylvania. You can read more about Lord Balassa here:


Photo: Pe Jo

Its other famous captain had been the legendary Thury György, the duelist, and in 1560 it was held by Dobó István, the hero of Eger Castle. Dobó had a palace built under the castle.

Photo: Pe Jo

Prince Bocskai István of Transylvania laid a siege on the castle but could not take it so he burnt the city in 1605. Prince Bethlen proved to be more successful and took it during his campaign. The castle opened its gate to the huge Ottoman army appearing in front of it in 1663.

Photo: Pe Jo

However, General De Souches took it back in 1664 and died in doing so. It was taken and retaken periodically, in 1678 and 1685 by the rebel aristocrat Prince Imre Thököly. It had changed hands three more times during the War of Independence of Prince Rakoczi Ferenc’s struggles in the early 18th century and was finally utterly destroyed by General Heister in 1709.

Léva in 1938 (Picture: tiff)

The point is that its town had suffered beyond imagination. There is a beautiful exhibition inside it now.

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My books "33 Castles, Battles, Legends" and "The Ring of Kékkő Castle"
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Here are a few more pictures of Léva Castle: