Palanok Castle (Замок Паланок)

Palanok Castle


Location: Mukachevo, Zakarpattia Oblast (Province) Map

Constructed: 14th century


Description of Palanok Castle or Mukachevo Castle

Palanok Castle is a medieval castle situated on a hill overlooking Mukachevo, Zakarpattia Oblast in Ukraine. It was constructed in the 14th century. Palanok Castle or Mukachevo Castle is a medieval fortress in the town of Mukachevo in Western Ukraine in a province (oblast) of Zakarpattia. It stands on the strategic mountain of volcanic origin at an elevation of 68 meters and covering a total area of 13930 sq meters. The fortress consists of three parts: high castle, middle castle and low castle. There is no exact date for its foundation, but it is first mentioned in the documents from the 11th century. New Palanok citadel was erected in the 14th century by the orders of the Hungarian noble family Aba who erected several castles to defend the kingdom of Hungary.
Between 1396 and 1414 Palanok Castle was owned by Fyodor Koriatovych who recieved it from the Hungarian king Sigismund. He fortified the castle and turned into one of the most protected forts in the region. He further increased its size and turning it into a residence. A 85 meter deep well was cut in to the rock to supply the garrison of the castle with drinking water.
During the 15th and 16th centuries Palanok Castle changed hands between various rulers. They conducted further work to strengthen its foritifications. Its walls were protected by 14 towers. Upper Castle housed a large palace that served as a residence for the castle owners. In 1633 Palanok Castle (Mukachevo Castle) was acquired by Transylvanian Prince George I Rakoczi by the right of inheritance. He turned into the capital of his principality. After his death in 1648, his widow Zsuzsanna Lorantfi [en] expanded Palanok adding the middle and the lower terraces as well as outer defense ring. In 1649 citadel was visited by the ambassadors of famous Ukrainian/ Russian leader Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky during his liberation war with Poland. Here his representatives negotiated joint actions with Gyorgy Rakoczy II againt Polish rulers.
This royal family owned Palanok Castle (Mukachevo Castle) until 1711 when after the defeat of the uprising in accordance of Satmarsk peace treaty all the possessions of the family were confiscated by the Habsburg royal dynasty who subsequently transferred it to their vassals Schonborn lords. The citadel lost its military purpose, but it was preserved and turned into a political prison of the Holy Roman Empire (1782- 1896) and later Austrian Empire. During this century Palanok Castle housed over 20,000 prisoners. In July 1847 castle prison was visited by the Hungarian poet Sandor Petofi.
In 1986 the prison was closed and Panok Castle was largely abandoned and it soon feel in disrepair. It was briefly used as a garrison by the soldiers of Czechoslovak Republic and later Hungarian armed forces during World War II. After the war the former Sub- Carpathian Rus along with Palanok Caslte became part of the Ukrainian SSR. Since 1960 the Historical Museum is located within walls of the fort. In 1998 a monument dedicated to Prince Fyodor Koriatovych by sculptor Basil Olashina was erected in the castle courtyard. Local superstition claim that you need to leave coins on the bottom of the statue and touch the thumb or index finger of the statue for good luck.