Zborov castle was built in the 14th century as a strongpoint defending the northern frontier of the Kingdom of Hungary and guardeda commercial route to Poland. The first written account of the castle dates from 1347. The original gothic castle was composed of a courtyard and was embattled by a defensive wall and atower. It also sported apalace with a chapel. Between the fourteenth andthe middle of the sixteenth century the castle switched hands among three noble families – Cudar, Rozgonyi and Tarczay. In all probability it was the Cudar family who built an additional courtyard strengthened by two fortified towers.
A major overhaul of the gothic core came in the second half of the 16th century when the castle belonged to the Serédy family. The family modified and strengthened the castle to an unprecedented level making it one of the biggest and best defended residences in all of Upper Hungary.
Moreover the second courtyard was rebuilt and expanded. Another courtyard was guarded by two fortified towers and an ingenious entry gate with a drawbridge. The old medieval fortifications were improved by the Serédys according to the more advanced period Italian military architecture. The castle was further gradually transformed into a comfortable nobleman’s residence fulfilling all the demanding needs of renaissance aristocracy.
The Rákóczi family, who took the building in their possession during the seventeenth century, only preserved the castle and brought no new innovations.
The famous marriage between Francis I. Rákóczi and his spouse Helena Zrínyi in 1666 took place at Zborov castle. Francis died ten years after the marriage and Helena’s new partner became the infamous Emmerich Thököly. It was during the uprising led by count Thököly in 1684 when the castle was stormed and put to fire by the imperial forces under the command of General Schultz despite a strong resistance of the defenders led by Helena Zrínyi herself.
The castle is still listed as operational in an inventory from the period of Francis II. Rákóczi’s uprising in 1704. After the destruction of the castle the Rákóczi family moved to a nearby manor house in the village of Zborov. The church of Saint Sophia, which belonged to the manor house, still remains in the village.
The castle ruin was further damaged by fighting between the Russian and the Austrian army during the First World War. The area around the castle hill was declared areservation in 1926 which made it the oldest protected sites in Slovakia.
The castle ruin, called according to the nearby noble estate also Makovica. The ruin is also accessiblevia a road passing through the village of Dlhá Lúka and then a hike trail from Bardejovské Kúpele (Bardejov Spa).
The castle is fully accessible and is currently undergoing reconstruction by the Civic association for the preservation of Zborov castle.References:
From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times. Due to its location on a pass that separates the mountains Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major source of defense in Dalmatia, especially against the Ottoman advance, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.
Since Duke Mislav of the Duchy of Croatia made Klis Fortress the seat of his throne in the middle of the 9th century, the fortress served as the seat of many Croatia"s rulers. The reign of his successor, Duke Trpimir I, the founder of the Croatian royal House of Trpimirović, is significant for spreading Christianity in the Duchy of Croatia. He largely expanded the Klis Fortress, and in Rižinice, in the valley under the fortress, he built a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Croatia. During the reign of the first Croatian king, Tomislav, Klis and Biograd na Moru were his chief residences.
In March 1242 at Klis Fortress, Tatars who were a constituent segment of the Mongol army under the leadership of Kadan suffered a major defeat while in pursuit of the Hungarian army led by King Béla IV. After their defeat by Croatian forces, the Mongols retreated, and Béla IV rewarded many Croatian towns and nobles with 'substantial riches'. During the Late Middle Ages, the fortress was governed by Croatian nobility, amongst whom Paul I Šubić of Bribir was the most significant. During his reign, the House of Šubić controlled most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia. Excluding the brief possession by the forces of Bosnian King, Tvrtko I, the fortress remained in Hungaro-Croatian hands for the next several hundred years, until the 16th century.
Klis Fortress is probably best known for its defense against the Ottoman invasion of Europe in the early 16th century. Croatian captain Petar Kružić led the defense of the fortress against a Turkish invasion and siege that lasted for more than two and a half decades. During this defense, as Kružić and his soldiers fought without allies against the Turks, the military faction of Uskoks was formed, which later became famous as an elite Croatian militant sect. Ultimately, the defenders were defeated and the fortress was occupied by the Ottomans in 1537. After more than a century under Ottoman rule, in 1669, Klis Fortress was besieged and seized by the Republic of Venice, thus moving the border between Christian and Muslim Europe further east and helping to contribute to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Venetians restored and enlarged the fortress, but it was taken by the Austrians after Napoleon extinguished the republic itself in 1797. Today, Klis Fortress contains a museum where visitors to this historic military structure can see an array of arms, armor, and traditional uniforms.