Nyírbátor is in Hungary, in Szabolcs county. It is located in the Northern Great Plain region of eastern Hungary. This city is known for its 15th- and 16th-century ecclesiastic and secular architectural heritage and for the Báthori family. The place was first mentioned in 1272 in a document of King László IV. This letter said that the king had his archers from Hodász settled on the land of “Bator”. Seven years later, it was gifted to Bereck, son of András who belonged to the Adonymonostror line of the Gut-Keled Clan. They were the ancestors of the Báthori family. The town became the administrative center of their estates and also the family’s burial site.
Here is an animation video of Nyírbátor castle, the work of Fodor Zsolt:
The family used to own the town until the death of Báthori Gábor, Prince of Transylvania in 1613. They were controlling their huge domains from Bátor castle. (Note, I use the Eastern name order for Hungarian names where family names come first.)
The small stronghold was enlarged and improved in the second part of the 15th century. Numerous heritage buildings have remained from the town’s heyday. The best known is what is now the Reformed Church. Built between 1488 and 1511, it is one of the most beautiful Gothic structures in Hungary. The late Renaissance-style belfry next to it is the largest wooden bell tower in the country.
Franciscan monks built their monastery church around 1480 in a late Gothic style. Its altars and its pulpit are among the most beautifully carved Baroque works in the country. Standing near the church, there is the building that now houses the Báthori István Museum. Originally a Baroque Minorite monastery, it was built on the site of an earlier monastery.
The town was of great significance in Hungarian history during the 16th century. During the Dual Kingship, in 1549, the legates of King Ferdinand I and of Queen Isabella agreed there to return Transylvania to the Kingdom of Hungary. It was the so-called Treaty of Nyírbátor. During the decades that followed, there was a lasting dispute as to whom the town belonged since the local aristocrats were more inclined to recognize the sovereignty of the ruling prince of Transylvania.
The elected and not crowned King János Zsigmond, the son of Queen Isabella and late King Szapolyai János, took the town back from the Habsburgs in 1564, along with other castles. At this time, the castle was fortified with a palisade and a moat, too. Nyírbátor was the place where Countess Báthori Erzsébet was born in 1560 who was later accused of terrible crimes. You can read more about her here:
Later, the town and the castle went to the Rákóczi family in 1648. Due to the Ottoman wars, by the 18th century, the town had become impoverished. The castle was in very bad condition. The Habsburgs wanted to seize it in 1711 but Prince Rákóczi Ferenc II and his elder sister, Countess Aspremont pledged it to Lord Bánffy György. The Bánffy family owned it until 1747, then it was bought by the Károlyi family.
In the museum, you can find a very nice exhibition about the Báthory family.
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