Photo: VargaA

Csővár is located in Hungary, some 20 km from Vác to the east, in the hills of the Cserhát. It was built after the Mongol invasion of 1241-42 by the Zsidó family. It was ruined in the 14th century by the oligarch, Csák Máté, and was rebuilt only a hundred years later. The castle has an inner part with a tower, a palace, and a great cistern. The outer castle consists of stone walls, bastions, and a big ditch between the inner and outer castle.
Here is a nice video about the ruins:


The Mézyai family used it for plundering the area in the 15th century, together with the Bohemian Hussites. We can read the name of Csővár first in 1459 in a document. The Hussites pillaged the village of Cső in 1460 and a Hungarian robber-knight, Szadai Sébold joined them; he seized Csővár at that time. When the troops of King Matthias were coming in June 1460, the marauders left the castle.

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu

Csői Miklós became its new owner. Csői Miklós murdered his own brother and King Matthias took away Csővár from him in January 1470. The king gifted it to the Nézsai family. Later, Csővár was pledged to Parlagi György in 1474. When Parlagi died in 1486, the castle became the property of the illegitimate son of King Matthias, Corvin János. The king wanted to make him the wealthiest aristocrat in Hungary, and that was the reason why he gave him many possessions. Yet, Baron Ráskai Balázs took it from him in 1496. He was the one who had the castle turned into a comfortable Renaissance fortification.

Reconstruction of Csővár (Photo: Szöllősi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu)

After the taking of Buda in 1541, the castles of Nógrád county were endangered so Lord Bebek Ferenc, the current owner of Csővár reinforced the castle and made it stronger against the modern firearms. Still, the castle didn’t represent a serious power in the chain of Borderland castles. The castle may have looked like this:



Photo: Szöllősi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu

It was the valiant but infamous Lord Bebek Ferenc who seized the castle around 1523 whose ownership was confirmed by King Ferdinand in 1544. When Nógrád castle fell in 1544, two years later the castle of Szanda castle was taken as well, and the defenders of Csővár got between two hostile forts. We know about its terrible situation from a letter that the captain of Csővár had written to King Habsburg Ferdinand in 1550. In 1552, the castle was overrun by a smaller Ottoman unit and it was taken by the conquerors: the Hungarian garrison gave it up without a fight.

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu

The Turks had lived there for a couple of decades, then the castle was put on fire and they abandoned it. We don’t know the details. The castle got neglected after this because the Borderland was moved further to the north. We know, that the Bebek family lost their properties in 1556 because they were no more loyal to Ferdinand. It was how Csővár became the property of Captain Bosnyák Tamás of Fülek castle. Beware, the Christian rulers awarded castles and lands to their faithful subjects regardless of the location of the domain. Many castles were occupied by the Turks but the monarchs ignored this “small” fact.

Photo: Szöllősi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu

Csóvár was retaken by the Christians in 1594, during the Long War. We know, that the village remained populated during the Age of Ottoman Occupation, according to the lists made in 1695. You can read more about the 1,000-mile-long Hungarian-Croatian-Transylvanian Borderland that used to separate the western part of Europe from the Ottoman Empire between the 1400s and 1699:


The lands of Csővár were owned by the Balassa and the Koháry families as well. The Károlyi family got it in 1731. They bartered it with the Prónay family who owned it until the mid-20th century. Sadly, the walls were pulled down between 1735 and 1740 as the Prónay family used the stones for building their stately home. A hunting hut was erected on the ruins in 1835. Smaller archeological and reconstructional works were done only in 1954, and in 1958-1961. Now, Csővár can be visited without admission.

Csővár Photo: Lánczi Imre

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Here are more pictures of Csővár castle: