Once upon a time the count of Transylvania George Rákóczi passed through the region of Upper Šaris in order to visit his old comrade in arms Gaspar Serédy who resided in a castle. Serédy prepared a pompous banquet for his friend during which he showed off his imposing residence.

As the banquet merrily proceeded and the wine of Tokaj flowed in streams Rákóczi proposed to buy the castle from Serédy. The nobleman resolutely declined almost all proposals. However he eventually budged under one condition.

The condition required Rákóczi to supply Serédy with 30 000 Transylvanian golden ducats of contemporary year with Serédy’s resemblance stamped on the averse of the coins. Rákóczi had one year to fulfill the task. The lord of the castle smirked with guile as he knew that such a task was impossible. Even in ten years one could not mint so many ducats in Transylvania. Yet Rákóczi agreed with the offer and the two gentlemen shook hands.

After the Transylvanian count left Serédy carried on with his care-free life. The nobleman entertained his guests with the story about Rákóczi and the castle sale farce. Despite the insane condition Rákóczi was so infatuated with the castle that he actually managed to return back with the required amount of ducats. 

Rákóczi came back exactly one year later since the agreement, to a place where the Serédy Monument now stands. The count ordered his servant to bring the ducats in front of Serédy. The latter carefully examined the money and when he counted them all, he realized with horror that he just lost his beloved castle. Serédy turned around to look at the castle for one more time, dropped a tear and fell dead to the ground.

Thus the legend goes. 

The monument near Dlhá Lúka is located on the same spot where Serédy died. However, in reality, the man did not die because of the castle deal sincethe building itself was sold 35 years after his death.

The castle of Zborov was built in the fourteenth 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 sixteenth 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 a reservation in 1926 which made it the oldest protected sites in Slovakia.

The castle ruin, called according to the nearby noble estate also Makovica, is located near the village of Zborov, 10 km north from Bardejov. 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.



Translated by:
Mgr. Samuel Beňa, M.A.


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