Photo: Szöllősi Gábor

Nagykövesd (Veľký Kamenec) is located in the Upper Lands / Felvidék / Horná Zem, in Slovakia, 15 km from Királyhelmec (Kráľovský Chlmec). It is next to the present Hungarian border, near Ukraine. The castle is situated on the Eastern slope of the Bodrogköz Region’s highest hill. 

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor

The earliest mention of the place is from 1283 when it belonged to Mátyás of the Rátold Clan. Assumedly, the castle was already built at that time.  The place was owned by the Baksa Clan in 1287. The descendants of the Baksa Clan were the Soós and the Szerdahelyi families who were the owners in the 14th century. According to the documents, its castle was standing in 1323. The name “Nagykövesd” appeared in writing first in 1358.

It was in the hands of the Szerdahelyi family in the 15th century when it was taken by the Bohemian Hussites in 1451 but King Matthias Corvinus liberated it a few years later. Then it was given to the Pálóczi, and in 1504 to the Perényi family. However, the Szerdahelyi family has maintained its claim to their ancient property.  Like so many castles, Nagykövesd castle became the target of a contest between the followers of King Habsburg Ferdinand and King Szapolyai during the Dual Kingship.

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor

The castle was taken by Némethy Ferenc in 1556 who was the supporter of King Szapolyai’s son. (I am using the Eastern name order for Hungarian names.) Telekessy Imre, Chief Captain of Upper Hungary, a loyal lord to King Ferdinand, took it back in 1558 by siege. Hungarians killed Hungarians. The castle’s ownership from time to time returned to the Baksa family’s descendants, more or less from the end of the 16th century until 1672. Bocskai Miklós was its owner for a while in 1609.

Then, the owner Soós György – like many of his fellow aristocrats in Upper Hungary – was accused of taking part in the Wesselényi conspiracy against the Habsburg king in 1672. This time the Habsburgs accused almost everybody in Royal Hungary of treason who was wealthier a bit to take their lands. So the castle was besieged and its roof was exploded in 1673 by General Coob. The widow of Soós György got the castle back in 1690. Then, the Klobusitzky family and partly Szirmay Antal owned it in the 18th century. 

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor

The Fischer family appeared as its part-owner in the 1800s. The Fischer family used the stones of the castle to build up their stately home which is on the western slope of the castle’s hill. Today, it is a school. From the castle hill, the visitors can enjoy the scenic view over the valley of the Ronya River. So far there have been no archeological excavations in the old fort.

Source: Bogoly János: “Kövekbe zárt régmúlt”  

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor

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Here are more pictures of Nagykövesd: