The proud Castle of Krasznahorka
The song that mourns the honour of the castle on a hill, which became the symbol of Hungarian irredentism, is known by many, but its author Countess Eleonóra Zichy is less known.
Countess Zichy – Mrs. Gyula Andrássy Jr. – composed the song on the occasion of Ferenc Rákóczi II’s reburial in 1906, when the whole country had a “Rákóczi fever”. Naturally, Krasznahorka was already a part of the Kuruc nostalgia.
Although the castle was built by the Csetneki and Máriássy families in the 13th century, the fortress of Upper Hungary owes its present form to the Andrássy family, who owned it since the 16th century. The Andrássy family converted it into a renaissance fortress first, and a representative palace later. During the Rákóczi war of independence, until 1710, it stood up against the imperial army. It burnt down in 2012; unfortunately, it was not the first time: fire devastated it due to a stroke of lightning in 1817. As the Andrássy family did not want to leave the building lie waste completely, they installed a home museum here. This collection, Gyula Andrássy’s weapon collection, was destroyed in 2012. The fortress has started regaining its original form recently. The main goal is to restore the state of the castle to the conditions before the great renovation of the 20th century.
White woman in the black city
Several stories have been linked to the city of Lőcse, but the story of the white woman of Lőcse is the most famous one. During the Rákóczi war of independence, Lőcse resisted to the siege of the imperial troops for a long time, but they hardly had the possibility to win. The Castellan István Andrássy must have seen this too, and this thought weighed on his mind increasingly. But who was this white woman? Mrs. János Korponay nee Julianna Géczy, the woman who stole the castle key from under her lover’s pillow. You don’t have to think a lot to find out who this man was, do you? It is questionable if she really gave the castle over, but it is a fact that she corresponded with imperial connections. She was executed for high treason in 1714. We will never know what happened exactly, but her legend survives. The painting illustrating a female figure in white, on the gate of the castle wall of Lőcse, is regarded as her image. The woman is keeping one hand on the keyhole, waving invitingly with the other one. Lőcse was founded by the Saxons, its walls were built in the 13th century, and then its still-visible ramparts were formed in the 16th century. Interestingly, the pillory of the city still stands next to the gothic City Hall. The medieval pillory was made out of iron bars and was decorated with lilies and hearts paradoxically. Allegedly, this form of public humbling was mostly applied against women, who walked about at night without a male escort.
Bajmóc, the ghost castle
A legend attests that a ghost visits the castle. It says that the chatelaine was caught in the act of committing infidelity and her husband forced her to face a terrible test of truth. He demanded her to jump off the tower of the castle and if she were innocent, she would stay alive, but in case she was culpable, she would deserve death. Justice fist, right?
The woman took their tiny little baby with her and jumped into the abyss with it. The rest is already known; many people believed to hear and see the ghost of the poor mother holding her weeping child at dark nights since then.
According to sources, the Castle of Bajmóc was established by the sons of Kázmér belonging to the Hont-Pázmány clan in the valley of River Nitra. The rampart originally consisted of a round bastion tower and a steep wall surrounding it, which was enough to protect the buildings inside the castle back then. The castle had to fear for the attacks of an enemy like Máté Csák, whom you may know as a powerful oligarch. He occupied Bajmóc in 1297. Later, the fortress was taken over by the emperor-loyalist Pálffy family, thus it was saved from being destroyed.
The castle preserved its medieval form until 1889, when it was converted into an imposing castle to the model of French castle interiors.
Pozsony had a fortress even before the Hungarian conquest, and the Czech occupied it only for a short period after King Stephen I’s death. The heroic deed of Kund the diver is connected to the castle. He drilled and sank the ships being at anchor on the Danube during the siege led by Henry III. Empress Maria Theresa also loved to spend her time here. The water system of the castle is Farkas Kempelen’s work. The castle burnt down in 1811, afterwards it was operated as a barrack and it did not regain its former significance. The castle was reconstructed finally in the 20th century, and nowadays it gives home to the Slovakian National Museum.
Magyarország vármegyéi és városai: Magyarország monografiája. Szerk. Borovszky Samu – Sziklay János. Budapest: Országos Monografia Társaság
Translated by Zita Aknai