Hollókő castle is in north-Hungary and it had had a busy history before the age of the Ottoman wars.
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The Kacsics family began building it after the Mongol invasion in 1241 but part of it may have been built before that time. The first mention of the castle is from 1310. Later it belonged to the Csák family but the king gifted it to the Kacsics family again, in 1313.
Yet, the garrison was loyal to the Csák family and defended it with success, led by Mikus, son of Péter.
The king, Anjou Charles, couldn’t take it in 1320, either. He could get it only after the death of Lord Csák Máté, in 1327. Its captain became Szécsényi Tamás who improved the fort. The castle witnessed the wars against the mercenaries of the Czech Giskra who signed a truce with the Hungarian king in 1442 in Hollókő. The castle went to the Guthi and the Losonczi family in 1455.
When the Ottomans took the castle of Nógrád in 1544, Hollókő (“Raven-stone”) suddenly became a border castle. The few defenders of the fort tried to prevent the Turkish raids. Its captain was Kapitan György who had a famous duel in 1550 with the Agha of Szanda castle, Bey Hubiar in the fields of Buják. Pasha Ali of Buda was taking the forts of Nógrád county one by one in 1552 and he took Hollókő, too. Actually, it was taken easily as the castle was abandoned because of the hostility between its captains, Imre and Zsáki András. The two brothers couldn’t agree about the leadership, unfortunately.
According to the pay list of 1556, Hollókő’s captain was Agha Mohamed with his 21 mercenaries (18 infantrymen and 3 artillerymen). There were 24 Ottomans in it in 1558-59. The chief-captain of Eger castle, the famous Prépostvári Balázs took the fort back by negotiations in 1593.
A survey in 1596 said the castle was in a very bad condition so the Diet of 1608 ordered its reinforcement. There was just very little repair carried out, though. According to the records of 1652 and 1655, there were only 20 defenders in it. The Ottomans regained it in 1663 for twenty more years. Berki Mátyás and Nagy Orbán captains ceded the castle to the enemy. In that time, there were often two captains in each Hungarian castle.
King Sobieski’s troops liberated it in 1683. King Leopold I. ordered the destruction of this castle, similarly to many of its brothers, but his order was carried out willy-nilly only in 1711. Against all odds, this castle remained the most intact castle of the county where we can discover many elements from the pre-Ottoman age, too. Now the castle and its village are part of the Word-heritage program of UNESCO.
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Here are a few pictures of Hollókő: