The history of Slanec Castle begins sometime after 1270. Documents from this year, describing the Slanec feudal lands, make no mention of a castle. The initiators of its construction were most likely to have been the Slanec branch members of the Aba Royal House (during that time, the castle hill and its surroundings were held by Peter, son of Cham). The first written mention of the castle reads “sub castro Zalanch”(“under the Zalanch castle”) and originates in a document dated 9th of August 1281 from the Hungarian king Ladislav IV., who in this year besieged the castle held by the rebellious paladin Finta (son of David of the Aba house). The King was successful and paladin Finta was defeated. The castle, however, remained in the hands of the Aba house’s Slanec branch for another 50 years.
In the year 1330, Peter Szalanci traded the Slanec castle for the Šariš villages with Viliam Drugeth, who was paladin of the Hungarian kingdom between the years 1334 and 1342. After Viliam’s death in 1342 the castle fell into the hands of his brother Mikulas Drugeth (the royal judge and Lord of Turocs). In the year 1379, the castle was found to be in the ownership of his great-granddaughter Anna Drugeth who was married to Ladislav Telegdy. In the year 1390 the castle belonged to Anna Telegdy (granddaughter of Anna Drugeth), who was married to Ladislav Lossonczy. By 1440, the castle was owned by Jan Lossonczy.
After this year, when the Hungarian kingdom was torn down with internal struggles between Queen Alžbeta and Vladislav I., it is probable that Jan Jiskra of Brandys (the Czech war captain) captured and badly damaged the castle. In the year 1490 (during the rule of Vladislav II.), the castle was repaired by its owner Ladislav Lossonczy (the royal treasurer). In the year 1520, during the ownership of Ladislav’s son Zigmund Lossonczy the castle had two captains – Jan and Andrej Dolani Cherny. Until 1601 the castle switched owners a lot of times within the Lossonczy family (Anton and Štefan Lossonczy, Štefan’s widow Anna Pekry, her daughter Anna married in 1568 to Croatian ban Krištof Ungnád and in 1589 to Žigmund Forgách of Gymes). Žigmund was the Lord of Nograd and after his wife’s death in 1601, King Rudolf gave him Slanec Castle as a gift.
During the first anti-Hapsburg rebellion, the castle garrison capitulated to the rebellion leader Count Štefan Bocskay. In year 1607 after the peace treaty of Vienna and the death of Bocskay, Slanec Castle was returned to Žigmund Forgách. After his death in 1621, the castle became the property of his widow Katarina Palffy. She, in return, four years later gave the castle and most of her holdings as a pledge to the Transylvanian Count Gabriel Bethlen. In 1644, the city of Košice was captured by the rebel leader Juraj I. Rakoczi (another Transylvanian Count), who later besieged, captured and burned Slanec Castle. Its Lord Žigmund Forgách was taken prisoner. In the year 1678, the castle was once again captured by a rebel leader. This time it was Imrich Thököly with his kuruc army. The following year he was defeated by the imperial General Count Leslie, but not before setting the castle on fire. Badly damaged, Slanec castle was (for the most part) destroyed following a royal imperial decree of the Emperor Leopold. From then on, the castle Slanec became an uninhabited ruin.
In 1815 Count Jozef Forgách (descendant of the original owner) had the main castle tower repaired and placed there a small collection of his family’s heirlooms. During World War II, the tower was badly damaged und burned out by the retreating German army.
In 2010, the Slanec village became the new owner of Slanec Castle. In 2012, together with the civic association “Zachráňme hrad Slanec”, the Slanec castle rescue project began. After 333 years there is hope for the castle once again. During the first year the castle access road was fixed and a static passport was made. The castle was measured geodetically and architectural-historical research began. In 2013, a cableway to transport material started and work began on the wall stabilization. Most importantly, the damaged parts of the structure (caverns) were filled in and the roof put back on the castle tower (donjon). During 2014, the project continued with the chapel wall stabilization, together with securing the west bastion and in 2015 the parkan wall too. In addition to this work, there is archeological research ongoing on the castle premises.
Beneath the castle, there is a park from the first half of the 19th century and which functions as the main entry gate to the castle itself. The park is interesting from a historical and also botanical aspect. It serves as a relaxation zone, a place of learning and a cultural site.
There is also a very interesting cross-border nature trail to be explored between Slanec Castle and the Hungarian castle Füzér together a long-distance bike trail Alžbeta, international bike trail Following the Rakoczi footsteps, cross-border bike trail around the hill Veľky Milič and the famous Gothic road. In the village, you can find an information center welcoming all visitors and tourists. It seconds as a museum of local history, where the natural and cultural heritage of the village and castle are presented in the form of permanent or temporary exhibitions.
The civic association “Zachráňme hrad Slanec”
The civic association “Zachráňme hrad Slanec” was founded in 2011.
Its main purpose is the propagation and restoration of the national historic landmark of Slanec Castle as well as documenting the building remnants of Slanec manor and hunting mansion at Kerekhegyi (Okrúhly vrch) together with the remains of Count Forgach’s crypt. The association’s effort is to renew the historical connection between castles Slanec and Füzér in the direction of Slanska Huta and the Izra Lake which also encompasses the historical site of the Slanska Huta glassworks and pre-World War II military bunkers.
For news and more information about our activity, please visit www.hradslanec.sk. You are welcome to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish to help with the castle restoration, please feel free to contribute any sum to the civic association’s bank account (IBAN: SK82 0200 0000 0031 2141 3657).