Vál (Photo: Szöllösi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu)

The village of Vál is located in Fejér county, Martonvásar district, in Hungary. It is famous for its Gothic tower. It was once surrounded by an Ottoman palisade castle. The name Vál appears in 1269 as Waall. It is probably a Hungarian name derived from a personal name. According to the first known documentary evidence, the deanship of Váli belonged to the bishop of Veszprém and was donated to the Ercs monastery by the palatine Tamás before 1186. The Mongol-Tatar invasion destroyed Val as well. King Béla IV returned the tithe of Vál to the bishop of Veszprém.

Vál (Photo: Szöllösi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu)

Until the end of the 15th century, the nobility of Vál was descended from the former castle servants. Meanwhile, a priest of Vál is mentioned twice (1351 and 1432), which proves that a church already existed in the village in the middle of the 14th century.

Vál in 1931 (www.varlexikon.hu)

At the end of the 15th century, there was a significant change in the ownership of the land: in the Matthias era, the two main landowning families in the village were the wealthy Somiak and Endrédi Somogyi families, who were also related to each other. The Somiaks also had an aristocratic mansion in Vál, Somi Józsa was a Bán (duke) of Temes between 1494 and 1508.

Vál: the “pagan castle” (Photo: Civertan)

At the beginning of the 16th century another important family, the Sárkány of Ákosháza, settled in Vál. The late medieval history of the manor, which was not without its complicated property rights, came to an end in 1541 when King Ferdinand I donated Vál to the town of Székesfehérvár. Fehérvár in turn became the property of the Turks in 1543.

Vál in the Ottoman age (Drawing: Kőnig Frigyes) via www.varlexikon.hu

Research shows that the church was built in several phases. In the earliest period, there was a single nave building from the turn of the 12th and 13th centuries. In the second period (late 15th century), the church was enlarged to a three-nave building, and the lower part of the tower was probably built at the same time. The tower was raised at the end of the Middle Ages and, according to researchers, at the beginning of the 16th century, after the Sárkány family of Ákosháza acquired the property. The windows from this period have been preserved.

Vál (Photo: Civertan)

After the fall of Székesfehérvár in 1543, the Turks settled in the area, and in 1550 they built a palisade castle in Vál using the Gothic church. The eastern end of the building was demolished to form a trapezoidal square fortress, reinforced with buttresses at the corners. The church tower was turned into a gate tower with an extension to the north. Vál was part of the Ottoman district of Buda.

Vál (Photo: Szöllösi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu)

In the years 1552-1553 50 soldiers on horseback and mercenaries served in the castle of Vál. The commander of the cavalry was Ali Kashim Agha. In 1556 the warriors of Győr castle attacked the Turkish palisade in Vál and set the village on fire. In 1564 the Hungarian Borderland warriors attacked Vál, and on the Turkish side, Ahmed-oglu Hussein was particularly distinguished and was rewarded with a Timarian land.

Vál (Photo: Szöllösi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu)

On 17 May 1576, a herd of cattle was driven from Vál by the Hajdú soldiers of Komárom and Tata. In their pursuit, Agha Besli of Vál was trapped: some of the Turks were slaughtered and the Agha was wounded. The Pasha of Buda complained about the raid.

Vál (Photo: Szöllösi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu)

Vál was part of the Ottoman Occupied Lands of Hungary in vain because in 1579 Jakosits Ferenc, the vice-captain of Győr castle, received half of Vál and several other villages. According to the Turkish “defters” (tax lists) of 1580 and 1581, there were 60 tax-paying houses in Vál, paying 30,000 pieces of ache (silver coins). The Turkish tax censuses of 1562, 1580, and 1590 also mention Vál as a town. In 1580, Ali bin Ilyas was the commander of the palisade of Vál.

Vál (Photo: Szöllösi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu)

Nádasdy Ferenc ordered the Hungarian raid commanders of Győr and Tata to spare the villages of Érd, Vál, and Adony palisade castles during the raids. These raids took place regularly between 1569 and 1589. The geographer Mehmed Asik Asik visited Hungary in 1594 and mentioned the fortress of Vál as the key to the main road from Győr and Tata to Dzsankurtaran (Adony), which belonged to the Buda district of “Lower Hungary”.

Vál, Turkish copper items found on site (Photo: Szöllösi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu)

At the beginning of the 15 Years’ War, the landlords resettled the population of Vál. By the 17th century, the majority of Vál’s inhabitants were Rác (Serbs settled by Turkish allies from the southern Slavs). In April 1596, the Hungarian Borderland warriors of Esztergom Castle routed the Turks in Vál. In March 1599, a strong Crimean Tartar raiding party was ambushed and when the Hungarians heard that a bastion of Vál had collapsed, they suddenly attacked the ramparts of Vál and conquered it.

Look at the area around Buda in 1490 and after 1699, note the destruction

However, Vál exchanged hands again. Between 1628 and 1629, the Turkish guard numbered 77 men. On 27 September 1647, Agha Amhát, a cavalry commander, approached Batthyány Ádám about the ransom of a Turkish prisoner.

The seal of Vál, 18th century

In August 1661 the Hungarian hussars and Hajdú soldiers led by Eszterházy and Batthyány attacked again and captured the walls of Vál palisade. Sábán Agha was the commander of the palisade at the time: he had 500 Turkish guards. The palisade fell and in the last part of the siege about 60 Turks fled from the Hungarians to the tower. The besiegers set fire to the tower and the Turks jumped from the tower and lost their lives.

Vál (Photo: Szöllösi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu)

The Turkish traveler Evlia Chelebi described it as “the castle of Vál. I have never seen it before. It is a fortress in a rugged valley with a high brick tower. It has 150 soldiers, a bazaar, and an inn. It has no baths. During the Transylvanian campaign, Zerin-oglu [Zrínyi Miklós / Nikola Zrinski, 1663] attacked this town and set fire to the square tower of the central fortress, and three hundred Muslim worshippers were burnt inside. Ismail Pasha rebuilt the fortress and made it stronger. It has beautiful gardens and vineyards…”

Vál (Photo: Civertan)

In October 1667 Vál was attacked by roving horsemen from Tapolca led by Tokoli János from Sümeg. In August 1683 the Christian troops burnt down Vál together with Vác and Zsámbék. The Turks did not return to Vál after that and the settlement was abandoned. About 40 years later, Pap János said that it was Tata castle’s soldiers who destroyed the Vál palisade.

Vál (Photo: Civertan)

After the expulsion of the Turks, the building fell into ruins and was partially rebuilt by the Reformed in 1693 and used as a house of prayer. In 1714 the Catholics took it back and in 1722 the church was completely rebuilt and reconstructed: the southern aisle and the Turkish buildings were demolished and only the nave was restored. The actual restoration of the tower took place in 1753 and was completed on 11 August. On that day, the double cross was placed on the tower, with a tin container on its sphere, together with relics, sacred images, and documents.

Vál (Photo: Szöllösi Gábor www.varlexikon.hu)

The medieval church was demolished by Ürményi József between 1819 and 1824, but the tower was preserved as a bell tower “as a significant monument of the Hungarian past”. The tower took on its present form in 1827 when it received new bells, a clock, and a cross.

Vál (Photo: Lovas Andrea)

In 1973 Csukás Györgyi and in 1986 Hatházi Gábor carried out excavations in Vál. Although the excavations revealed the central parts of the palisade, no moat or ditch could be found as only a small area could be excavated, so the size and structure of the fortress are unknown.

Source: https://varlexikon.hu/val

Vál (Photo: Civertan)

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Here are a few more pictures of Vál: