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Nevytsky Castle
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member UKRDOUG
N 48° 40.846 E 022° 24.516
34U E 603684 N 5392926
Quick Description: Nevytsky Castle guards a pass through the Carpathian Mountains alongside the Uzh River.
Location: Ukraine
Date Posted: 1/11/2012 6:49:23 AM
Waymark Code: WMDG09
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Blue Man
Views: 8

Long Description:
There are several legends about the founding of the Nevytsky Castle. The most popular claims it was built by the mythical Bad Maiden who reinforced the walls with milk and eggs. King Matthias Corvin, the legend goes, finally dethroned her.

An ancient small wooden fortress fortified with ramparts and ditches would have existed in this strategic east-west pass through the Carpathian Mountains as early as the 12th century. It would have been destroyed as the Mongolian horde led by Batu Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan, ravaged the region in 1241.

Nevytsky Castle then became embroiled in the chaos of the turbulent years of the Hungarian Kingdom that saw the end of the 450-year reign of the Arpad dynasty (855-1301), the resulting eight-year Interregnum (1301-1308), and the final establishment of the Anjou dynasty.

The Arpad dynasty officially came to an end because the last of the direct-line of Arpads, Ladislaus IV, died heirless. But the dynasty was doomed to end anyway due to the internecine fighting of the Arpads themselves and the Hungarian nobles. Shortly after the birth of Ladislaus in 1262, civil war had broken out between his father Stephen V and his grandfather Bela IV. The elder king controlled the castle at Sarospatak where Ladislaus and his mother were staying. The father and son finally came to terms in 1265, and Ladislaus returned to his father’s court. Bela IV then set the stage for the emergence of the Anjou dynasty when he arranged for his grandson Ladislaus to marry Elisabeth of Anjou, the daughter of Charles I of Naples.

Bela IV died in 1270 and Stephen V became sole king of Hungary and Ladislaus married Elisabeth shortly afterwards at the age of eight. But the Ban (Governor) of Croatia, Joachim Gut-Keled, kidnapped Ladislaus two years later. Stephen V attempted to rescue his son but became ill and died unexpectedly. Joachim immediately had the young boy crowned King of Hungary. Joachim had himself and his allies in control of the court. They conspired to split the possessions of Ladislaus’ cousin, Prince Bela of Machva. They promised to restore Henrik Koszegi who had been exiled by Stephen V in exchange for him murdering Prince Bela. King Otto II of Bohemia, the brother-in-law of Prince Bela, declared war on Hungary as a result.

By 1274, when Ladislaus was entering adolescence, his mother was able to gain enough power to overthrow Joachim, but he fled and kidnapped Ladislaus again. This time the nobleman Peter Csak rescued the young king. Joachim then kidnapped Ladislaus’ brother Andrew and demanded that the kingdom be divided between the two boys. The Hungarian Kingdom would be thrown into constant chaos with one house trying to overthrow another until the Anjou dynasty would restore order.

In 1277, the 15-year-old king was declared old enough to rule without a regent. He began to build alliances to remain in power. He allied with King Rudolph I of Germany and together they defeated Otto the following year.

But the young king lacked wisdom. He began to socialize with the pagan Cumans living within his kingdom. Ladislaus' mother was the daughter of a Cuman chief who had been forced out of his land by the encroaching Mongols and had settled in Hungary. Ladislaus began to dress like the Cumans and took many Cuman women as his concubines while ignoring his Anjou Catholic wife. The papal legate summoned an assembly and ordered Ladislaus to restrict the Cumans from roaming within Hungary and settle them in limited regions. Ladislaus refused and was excommunicated. Ladislaus escaped from the court and hid amongst the Cuman and with their help imprisoned the legate.

He was soon captured by the Voevode (Governor) of Transylvania Finta Aba and was forced to reconcile with the papal legate. Part of the deal for Ladislaus' release was the granting of Nevytsky Castle to the Aba family in 1279. Finta began to build the stone castle whose ruins can be seen today. The castle passed to his brother Omodey upon his death. The Aba family began to grow as a significant power in Northwestern Hungary with their base in Kassa (modern Kosice, Slovakia).

Ladislaus was never able to centralize power in his kingdom, which was wracked with fighting amongst the oligarchs. In 1281 he made enemies of the Aba family by removing them from power in Transylvania and installing the Koszegi family in their place. In 1286 he had his wife arrested and began living with his Cuman mistress. A year later he stormed into the Convent of the Blessed Virgin Mary where his sister was serving as a nun and forced her to marry. Archbishop Lodomer, with the help of Ivan Koszegi, finally excommunicated the king and asked the Pope to declare a crusade against him. But his demise was when he betrayed his Muslim Cuman friends by appointing a former Muslim who converted to Christianity as his Palatine (Prime Minister). Cuman assassins took his life in 1290 while he was still heirless.

The crown then passed to a distant Arpad relative Andrew III. Lodomer and Koszegi had attempted to crown him even before Ladislaus was killed, but he was arrested and turned over to Duke Albert I of Austria. Andrew III escaped from Vienna, married a Polish princess, and was crowned King of Hungary.

Andrew’s brothers declared their father was a bastard and thus his rule was then questioned. Many others began to make claims for the thrown. King Rudolph I of Germany felt that Hungary belonged to the Holy Roman Empire and declared his son Duke Albert of Austria as king. The Anjou Queen Mary of Naples, the sister of Ladislaus, laid her claim to the throne. She transferred her claim to her son Charles Martel of Anjou and then upon his death to her grandson Charles Robert. Andrew was never able to establish control over Hungary and Charles Robert began his invasion in 1300. The last of the Arpad kings died without an heir in January 1301 of a mortal disease.

The kingdom was thrown into eight years of chaos known as the Interregnum. Two powerful oligarchs, Omodey Aba and Matthew Csak, approached King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia of accepting the crown for his son Wenceslaus III who was declared king at the end of summer 1301. But with Charles Robert growing stronger, both oligarchs switched sides in 1303. Wenceslaus panicked and asked his father for help. His father invaded with a large army but soon saw the situation was hopeless and took his son and the Hungarian crown back to Bohemia. Wenceslaus abdicated upon the death of his father in 1305 and transferred the crown to Duke Otto III of Bavaria. With only one Hungarian family backing Otto, he was arrested himself in 1307 and abdicated the following year. That left Charles Robert alone vying for the crown. A papal legate convinced Matthew Csak to throw his support behind Charles Robert who was then crowned King of Hungary in 1308.

Charles Robert proved to be a strong leader and refused to be controlled by the oligarchs. So in 1311, Matthew Csak attacked the royal castle in Buda, but Charles Robert forced him back. Then the citizens of Kassa (Kosice) rose up and murdered Omodey Aba who remained an ally of Charles Robert. Charles Robert saw this as an opportunity to weaken another powerful family and took the side of the citizens. The sons of Omodey then joined with Matthew Csak. During the ensuing battles, Charles Robert was able to take several of the Aba castles, but was not successful in taking control of Nevytsky Castle, which remained under control of the Aba family for another six years. In 1317 the last of the Aba clan, Laszlo, led one last rebellion against Charles Robert. This time Nevytsky Castle was taken and became property of the Hungarian crown. By 1323 Charles Robert was fully in control of Hungary.

In 1332 Charles I gave Nevytsky Castle to John Druget who was the lord of the castle in Uzhgorod. John’s brother, Philip, had accompanied Charles Robert when he left his home in Naples to claim the Hungarian crown. Philip had served as his Palatine from 1321 until his death in 1327. John Druget would succeed his brother as Palatine from 1328 until his death in 1334. But John only lived in Nevytsky Castle for one year having returned to Naples due to poor health.

William Druget became Palatine at the death of his father John in 1334 and the Druget family holdings soon became the largest in 14th century Hungary. He was rewarded greatly for leading the army of King Charles I to assist the Polish monarch Casimir III.

King Louis I of Hungary confiscated all the holdings of the Druget family upon the death of William in 1342. Nicolas Druget, the brother of William, quickly restored favor with the king and Nevytsky Castle was restored to the Druget family in 1343. The Drugets would hold onto this estate until Prince Ferenc Rakoczi II of Transylvania who revolted against the Austrian-Hungarian Empire finally destroyed it in 1644. The Drugets would remain in their castle in Uzhgorod 12 miles away until the last Druget died heirless in 1691.

The castle derived its name in the 19th century when it became a popular place for weddings to be held.

Below Nevytsky Castle flows the Uzh River past the village of Kamianets (Stone Fortress). The mountains in the background form the border with Slovakia. Just before those mountains lies the former estate of Nikita Khrushchev, Soviet dictator from 1953-1964.
Accessibility: Full access

Condition: Partly ruined

Admission Charge?: no

Website: Not listed

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