Photo: Kocsis Kadosa

Galambóc (Голубац/Golubac, Taubenberg, Gögerdsinlik) is a settlement in Serbia. Galambóc was built by the Serbs in the 1200s on the right bank of the Danube River. The city was on a very important strategic position on the southern border of the Kingdom of Hungary that it was the center of conflicts between the Byzantinians and Bulgarians, Hungarians and Serbians and Turks.

Photo: BuhaM

It used to belong to the Byzantine Empire in the 11th century but in the maps showing the 13th century we can find it as part of the Hungarian Dukedom (Bánság) of Kucsó and later part of the Dukedom of Macsó.

Photo: BuhaM

It was King Robert Károly in 1334 who took Galambóc firmly in his hand, making it a borderland castle. Galambóc used to be part of the first chain of castles that guarded Hungary against the Turks from the 14th century on.

The southern borderland of Hungary

It was located at the Irongate where the Danube flows through. The fort’s history in the 15th century is worth mentioning because without it we wouldn’t understand the history of the 16-17th centuries.

Photo: BuhaM

 The Turks took it first in 1391 but the aristocrat Perényi Péter managed to take it back. King Zsigmond gained the castle by diplomacy but before he could get it, the Serbian captain handed the fort over to the Turks for 12,000 pieces of gold in 1428.

This year King Zsigmond besieged it, his army was led by the Comes of Temes County, Rozgonyi István. He had 20,000 troops and was helped by 200 Italian artillerymen and there were the troops of the Voivode of Wallachia to aid him as well as a Polish-Litvanian cavalry unit, led by Czarny Zawis. Yet, it was not enough against the mighty Ottoman army.

Photo: BuhaM

When Sultan Murad arrived with the Turk reinforcement, the king could barely flee. There is a legend about this which says that it was the wife of a Hungarian lord called Rozgonyi who arrived on her boat to save the king from death. She was called Szentgyörgyi Cecilia (Lady of Rozgonyi István, lived 1398-1434) but we also have to pay tribute to those Polish and Litvanian soldiers who all died in the meantime while covering the king`s escape. The king gave three villages to the Rozgonyi family for this deed in Tolna County in 1430. Next time, King Matthias Corvinus was laying a siege on it in 1458 but could not take it.

Photo: BuhaM

King Matthias Corvinus had to quit the siege of Galambóc Castle in 1458 because he had troubles at home…Look at the great animation video of the castle made by Fodor Zsolt and read the rest of the story:

Photo: Angelo Mastrogiacomo

The famous general of King Matthias, Kinizsi Pál took it in 1481:

During the fall of 1481, while Galambóc was held by the Ottoman Empire, Temesi Comes Kinizsi Pál undertook an expedition against the Turks in the Temes area. On November 2, 1481, he turned his army of 32,000 men south towards the Danube. He met the enemy and a fierce battle developed. At Galambóc, a thousand Ottoman cavalry were killed or taken prisoner, 24 ships were sunk, and İskender Bey, the pasha of Ottoman-held Szendrő (Smederevo), and leader of the Ottoman army was beheaded at the gate by one of Kinizsi’s men. The Ottomans were forced to retreat and leave the fortress behind. Kinizsi’s foray was only a raid, however, and shortly after he returned to Temes.

Photo: Miomir Magdevski

The Turks, who had suffered heavily but did not lose any land, retook Galambóc and quickly improved its fortifications. For more details look at the Battle of Breadfield (Kenyérmező) in which the Ottomans received a major defeat. Galambóc remained in Turkish hands until the taking of Belgrad (Nándorfehérvár) in 1688 when the Ottoman garrison abandoned the castle.

Photo: Erik Cleves Kristensen

In fact, the Ottomans owned it until 1878. Here is a video about the castle in English, too:

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Photo: Isaac Trevize

Although the castle has just been renovated, you will find pictures from the previous period as well: