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:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.