Nagyszalánc (in Slovak Slanec) is a village in Slovakia. It is located 20 km southeast of Kassa (Kaschau, Košice), in the central part of the Eperjes-Tokaj Hills, at an altitude of 345 meters. The ruins of the castle of Szalánc (Hrad Slanec) stand on the Szalánc Hills on the outskirts of Nagyszalánc. The castle was built before the Mongolian Invasion of Hungary (1241), the first documentary mention dates back to 1230 – “Castrum Salis” (Salt Castle).
It was built by Csama Péter, son of Csama of Aba, the ancestor of the Szalánci family. This small fortress protected the local salt storage. In 1270 King László IV donated the castle of “Zelench” to Master Reinhold. It was then acquired by the Palatine Aba Finta. In 1281, Finta rebelled against King László IV, who broke the power of the former Palatine with an army and took his castle. This was the first known siege of Szalánc.
The documents of the time record many bloody events from the heat of the battle – Pércsy Dénes received a heavy stone blow, Hédervary Péter Bán (duke) was taken from the battlefield half dead, Galgóczi Miklós, the chief comes of Bána, received a fatal wound in the face, and Kinizsy Günther was bleeding from wounds received from stone blows. The castle was conquered by the king’s troops. In 1282, King László IV rewarded his faithful followers for their heroic conduct in the battle “sub-castro Pótok et sub-castro Zalanch” (under the castle of Patak and Szalánc). In 1299 the castle and the manor belonged to the Szalánczi family, also of the Aba family.
Szalánczi Péter, together with the sons of Aba Amadé, was on the side of Csák Máté against King Károly Róbert in 1311 in the struggle for succession after the extinction of the Árpád House. He joined the siege of Kassa (Koschau, Košice) with the relief troops sent by Csák Máté to help the sons of Aba Amadé.
After the defeat in the battle of Rozgony in 1330, King Róbert Károly used his authority to force Comes Szalánczi Péter to exchange the castle with Drugeth Vilmos for his much less valuable property in Sáros county. Vilmos died in 1342 and his younger brother Drugeth I Miklós inherited the castle. The Drugeths built the old tower.
After he died in 1346, his brother Miklós inherited the estate in the absence of an heir. In 1379 the great-granddaughter of Drugeth, Drugeth Anna, wife of Telegdy László, was the owner. In 1390 the then owner, Telegdy Anna (granddaughter of Drugeth Anna) married the Croatian Bán (Duke) Losonci László. Thus the castle of Szalánc became the property of the Croatian Bán Losonczy László.
At the beginning of the 15th century, Bán László’s sons, Dénes and Zsigmond, were the lords of the manor. In 1414, the lords of the castle imprisoned the serfs Simon and Jakab of Olnodi Czudar Benedek. In another one, dated 1424, the gatekeepers of Szalánc who served Losonczy Dénes protested against the violation of the borders by Ujfalusi Miklós, László, and Jakab, who had cut down trees beyond their borders.
In 1440 the troops of the Bohemian mercenary commander Giskra, who supported King László V, occupied Szalánc, which was then in the possession of Losonczy János, a pro-Ulászló man. The castle was heavily damaged. There are no known records about the castle from the following decades.
In 1493, King Ulászló II appointed Losonczy László as Voivode of Transylvania and the reconstruction of the castle could begin. It was certainly completed in the time of László’s son Zsigmond. In 1520, according to the custom of the time, the castle had two governors, Cseri János and András (Chery) of Dollyán.
In 1552, Losonczy István, appointed captain of Temesvár, imprisoned Báthory Klára in the castle of Szalánc, because she and her lover had killed her husband, the sick Losonczy Antal. Báthory Klára was released from prison only after the heroic death of Losonczy István on July 27, 1552, when she declared before the Chapter of Szepes that she would not sue the widow of the fallen hero, Pekry Anna, or her daughter for keeping her prisoner.
The daughter of Losonczy István, Anna, married Ungnád Kristóf and thus Szalánc became his property. Ungnád died in 1586 and his widow, the beautiful Losonczy Anna, became the wife of Forgách Zsigmond in 1589. After the death of Losonczy Anna in 1601, King Rudolf officially gave Szalánc to Forgách Zsigmond. Thus Szalánc became the property of the Forgách family, who owned it until 1944.
In 1605 the troops of Bocskai István conquered Szalánc together with Kassa, which was returned to Forgách Zsigmond in 1607. In 1606, Forgách became a county magistrate, and in 1618 he became a palatine. In 1625 his widow pledged the castle of Szalánc together with several other estates to Prince Bethlen Gábor of Transylvania.
In 1644 Prince Rákóczi I György conquered Szalánc during his campaign in Upper Hungary. According to a letter from Forgách Ádám to King Ferdinand III, Rákóczi’s troops plundered and burned the castle. However, the owners soon repaired the castle.
According to the contemporary writer Parchits Kristóf, in 1678 the armies of Prince Thököly Imre and Boham Ferenc occupied the town of Korpona, the castles of Gács, Bozók, Kékkő, Divény, Szaráncz, Putnok and Torna. In 1679, the Szaláncz guards burned down and abandoned the castle when they heard that the imperial general Leslie Jakab was approaching. Leslie had it destroyed together with the castle of Torna by order of the emperor. In 1697 the defeated Kuruc troops fled to the walls of Füzér and Szalánc and plundered the area. However, the county troops drove them away.
In 1815 Count Forgách József had the old tower repaired and the family treasures were kept there until 1944. The walls were never restored and the tower was damaged again during the Second World War.
In 1910, 693 of its 856 inhabitants were Hungarians and 149 Slovaks. In 2011 1180 of its 1382 inhabitants were Slovak, 54 Roma, 11 Hungarian, and 5 Czech. In 2010 the castle became the property of the village of Nagyszalánc. The conservation of the ruins started in 2012 in cooperation with the Save Szalánc Castle Civic Association. They repaired the access road, conducted a static and geodetic survey of the castle, and began an architectural-historical study of the ruins.
In 2013: an industrial elevator was built to transport construction materials, work began on reinforcing the walls, replacing the collapsed caverns and parts of the tower crown (the tower’s covering was planned for 2014), and the first phase of archaeological excavations began.
Around 2018 the castle underwent minor repairs but remained open to visitors. A nature trail connects Szalánc with Füzér Castle. In the village, there is an information center and a museum of local history with permanent and temporary exhibitions presenting the natural, cultural, and historical heritage.
The Gothic Trail also includes Szalánc: The Gothic Trail (Slovak: Gotická cesta) is a thematic cultural and educational route in Slovakia, in the area of Szepesség (Zipt, Spiš) and Gömör (Gemer). The route, which is almost 650 km long, connects the most important sacral monuments of the region and passes through 33 settlements (9 towns and 24 villages).
In 2018 paper maps in Slovak and 2019 in Hungarian were published and distributed free of charge to churches and tourist information offices; from 2020 an interactive electronic map is also available. According to the head of the civic association managing the route, the number of Hungarian tourists visiting the churches exceeds the number of Slovaks at certain times of the year.
Source: the Hungarian Wikipédia, and Várlexikon https://varlexikon.hu/szalanc
Dear Readers, I can only make this content available through small donations or by selling my books or T-shirts:
Please, feel free to support me with a coffee here:
You can check out my books on Amazon or Draft2Digital, they are available in hardcover, paperback, or ebook: