Čičava – castle


   In 1270, the Hungarian King Stefan V for the merits in the fight against the Czechs, gave the land in Čičava to his master of the horse Rajnold, who built the castle which was the center of the knight’s domain and the frontier watchtower, controlling the road through the Ondava Valley to Poland (the so-called Porta Polonica). Another information about Čičava comes from 1316, when magister Petr rewarded the commander of the castle garrison Nicholas Perese for effective defense during the anti-royal revolts of the Omodejovce family.
    The first major extension of the castle took place at the end of the 14th century. At that time, the estate was managed by Rajnold’s descendants, members of the powerful Rozgonyi family. In 1493 the castle was divided between two families and in the following centuries
the stronghold changed its owners many times. During the anti-Habsburg uprisings, the castle was repeatedly invaded and destroyed by the troops of Rákóczi and Thököly. When in 1711 the imperial troops recaptured it from the hands of the rebels, general Laucken ordered to demolish the fortifications and from that time the castle remaines in ruin.


   The oldest part of the castle, located at the highest point of the hill, was a cylindrical tower, located in the northern part of the irregular perimeter of the walls. It had at least four floors and was equipped with a spur reinforcing its structure and designed to slide down missiles fired at it. For this reason, the spur was facing the access road. The walls of the tower were very thick, because while its outer diameter in the ground floor was 11 meters, the length of the interior diameter was only 5.5 meters. Also, the perimeter walls were quite thick, reaching 1.5 – 2 meters wide. In the 16th century, they were additionally thickened on the eastern side, reaching 3 – 3.5 meters. The tower served as a bergfried, flanking the entrance gate to the inner courtyard at its foot. The oldest residential building was probably located in its south-eastern part of the castle. Only its low basement with barrel vault has survived.
   At the end of the fourteenth century or the beginning of the fifteenth century, residential buildings were enlarged, adding on the north side of the older palace a further three rooms with vaults, meeting in the north-eastern corner with the irregular tower erected at that time, which  shape was adapted exactly to the form of a rock. North of the upper castle was located a 60-meter long outer bailey, reinforced with a defensive wall and two towers. One flanked the gate’s passage on the south – eastern side of the outer bailey, the other was formed at the farthest northern end, like a massive shield wall, protecting the castle from possible fire. On the west and north, at front of the outer bailey, a ditch was dug and an earth rampart was built. In the 16th century, on the eastern side of the upper castle, on the slope in front of the perimeter of the walls, a semicircular cannon tower was erected.

Current state

   The ruins of the castle are visible from afar thanks to the clearing of trees in their nearest distance. To the present times, fragments of defensive walls, remains of the eastern range of the upper castle and the eastern part of the outer bailey walls have survived. Admission to the ruins area is free.

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Bóna M., Plaček M., Encyklopedie slovenských hradů, Praha 2007.
Sypek A., Sypek.R., Zamki i obiekty warowne Słowacji Wschodniej, Warszawa 2005.
Wasielewski A., Zamki i zamczyska Słowacji, Białystok 2008.