Csesznek Castle

Csesznek Castle


Location: Veszprém county Map

Constructed: 1263 by Baron Jakab Cseszneky


History of Csesznek Castle

Csesznek Castle is situated in Veszprém county of North- West Hungary. It was constructed in 1263 by the orders of Baron Jakab Cseszneky, a personal sword bearer of the King Bela IV. Csesznek Castle became a Royal Castle in 1326, but in 1392 it was donated by King Sigismund to a noble family of Garai. In 1482 after House of Garai died out it was transferred to Szapolyai family by the royal decree of King Matthias Corvinus. Most of actions that Csesznek Castle saw was during 16th century when Csábi, Szelestey and Wathay families owned the citadel. Armies of Ottoman Turks besieged the castle repeatedly, but failed to take it. Only in 1594 they finally successes, but just four years later it was retaken by the Hungarian troops. In 1635 Csesznek Castle was bought by Dániel Esterházy and his family kept it till 1945, when new Communist government nationalized their property.
Today Csesznek Castle is open to the public. It often holds festivals and open- air events. The castle is surrounded by forests and fields. There was a small Jewish settlement that since disappeared during turbulent time of the 20th century, but their graves are still in place and can be read fairly easily.


The fortress dates back to the great post-Tartar era of the 1241-42 Tartar invasion. The first castle was built around 1263 by the royal sword bearer (ensifer regis) of the Bána genus, Jakab Cseszneki, on a rock peak excellent for defense. The first mention of the castle is preserved in a charter of 1281, according to which the sons of James could share the castle together. In 1315 the Csák took the castle, but in 1323 Lampert was returned to the estate by Mihály Cseszneki and his son János Cseszneki, but they sold it to the Csák clan for Pázmándfalu and 100 silver denars. King Charles Robert annexed the wild land to the royal estates. In 1392, Sigismund of Luxembourg handed over the castle of Csesznek together with the thirty-one villages belonging to his estate to the noble family of Garai, for their southern estates. The castle remained in the possession of the Garai family until 1482, when the son branch became extinct. In 1483, King Matthias donated it to his treasurer, István Szapolyai. It was occupied by Ferdinand I in 1527, so it fell into foreign hands. Csesznek and his estate were given to Pál Bakics, who owned it until his death in 1537. For a short time the castle was also in the hands of Bálint Török, then in 1540 it was given to István Csaby, who was the chief captain of Eger. Later it fell into the hands of the Csaby – Wathay families.

By the middle of the 16th century, the conquering Turks invaded Transdanubia, where Csesznek - led by Captain Lőrinc Wathay - defended the country as a border fortress. His life was extinguished by a tragic accident, in 1573 he wanted to fire a cannon filled with old gunpowder into his joy drunken with wine, which the sniper standing next to him was reluctant to do. Captain Lawrence, snatching the torch from his hand, lit the wick before the cannon exploded with a huge explosion, killing them both. After the fall of Győr in 1594, the castle fell into Turkish hands, but was already recaptured in 1598. A 16–17. At the turn of the 19th century, the castle was owned by the Count Cseszneky family. In 1605 he surrendered to the troops of István Bocskai, and in 1619 the leaders of Gábor Bethlen, György Haller and Péter Fekete, occupied the castle. Based on the peace of Nikolsburg in 1622, it again became a royal estate. During the Rákóczi War of Independence, there was an ammunition and food depot in the castle, but it was also a gathering place for prisoners of war. In 1708 it was besieged in vain by the imperial armies, but in 1709 they succeeded in taking it.

With the passage of the war, the role of the castle changed, the rugged stone castle was transformed by the Counts of Esterházy into a baroque castle providing comfortable housing. According to contemporary sources, the aristocratic family moved in 1780, but the slave staff still used the premises, which were made utterly uninhabitable by an earthquake thirty years later and then by fire. During the excavation in 1967–69, information was collected about the 13th-century condition of the castle, despite the fact that the ruins found correspond roughly to the 16th-century condition.

In 1947, exterior footage of the castle in Somewhere in Europe was shot here.

Hungary's first via ferrata routes were established near the castle in the summer of 2013. The "Ostromló's Road" is C, ie medium-strength and 120 meters long, the D-difficulty "Castle Panorama Road" is 180 meters long, while the most difficult (E grade) Zoltán Tálos Memorial Road is 70 meters long.

The castle will be renovated from 2017 as part of the National Castle Program.

The foundation walls of the old 13th-century castle lay below the southwestern part of the upper castle. According to the traces revealed, the rectangular structure was significantly smaller than the upper castle, which was divided into smaller rooms by transverse walls. This castle was completely demolished in the 14th century. The early 15th century castle was built on new foundations. Its floor plan formed a pentagon connected to a rectangle with an inner courtyard in the middle. On the south side there were lower outbuildings, the other walls hid the residential buildings of the castle. On the south side also stood a small tower with a semicircular floor plan. The northwestern entrance was probably protected by a drawbridge bridge, the Garai-Cillei crested eyebrow has survived to this day. Some beautifully carved stone fragments of the upper castle are preserved in the Hungarian National Museum; from these historians conclude that the former appearance of the castle reflected the wealth of the builder Garai palatine.