The progenitor of the Tornay family received surrounding lands from king Bela IV after the Mongol invasion in 1241. Turňa Castle probably stood in the mid-thirteenth century, although the first mention of it dates back to 1357. It is related with the royal permission to expand the castle, which was then the capital of the county and the administrative heart of the region. The last of the Tornayas died in 1406, as a result of which the castle passed to King Sigismund of Luxembourg, who three years later changed Turňa for another stronghold with Stepan from Branč. In the years 1440-1458 the castle was occupied by the army of Jan Jiskra, from whom it was bought by the Archbishop of Esztergom. In 1476 the castle was bought by Imre Zapolya. Turňa remained in the hands of his family until 1531, later, by marriage alliance, it passed on to the Bebek family. The largest extension of the castle, which was part of the anti-Turkish fortress system, is associated with the name of Francis Bebek. It was made in the years 1540-1550, but in 1567 the Bebeks died out. The Turks besieged the castle only a century later, in 1652, but without success. It wasn’t until Thókóly’s uprising in 1678-1685 that Turňa changed sides four times. At the end of the fighting, the imperial army significantly destroyed the fortifications of the castle, although it functioned until the nineteenth century. It was abandoned only in 1848, after an accidental fire.
The castle initially consisted of a four-sided tower located at the highest point of the hill, connected on the south side with a small circumference of massive defensive walls with rounded corners, which separated a narrow courtyard. The tower had dimensions of 8.3 x 7.7 meters and a wall thickness of about 2.5 meters. Its north-west corner was directed towards the access road to the castle, probably for more effective protection against possible missles.
The extension from the second half of the 14th century increased the castle by a new perimeter of the defensive walls and a residential building on the south-eastern side of the elongated courtyard. Building had 16×11 meters in size and two eastern corners in the form of slightly protruding, rounded buttresses. In the first half of the fifteenth century, it was enlarged by a new wing on the north-east side, which probably filled part of the zwinger area between the main castle wall and the outer wall.
In the years 1540-1550 on the south and east a second ring of defensive walls was built, reinforced with a semi-circular southern tower and two horseshoe eastern towers. As a result, the castle’s size increased to about 60 x 20 meters. The gate on the north side was reinforced with a large cannon bastion adapted for firearms. Its walls, up to 5 meters thick, were equipped with gun stands, and the crown was topped with a porch with shooting holes for handarms.
The outer defensive walls and the great southern tower look best from the village located below the hill. The path to the castle, coinciding with the former access road, leads to ruins from the opposite side. There survived the north-west bastion. In addition, you can see the great southern tower and two smaller in the east. These fortifications are the best preserved part of the castle. To the east of the bastion you can see large fragments of two economic buildings. The upper, inner part of the castle is dominated by the remains of the main four-sided tower and the eastern wall of the palace, about 7 meters high. The courtyard stretching between these two buildings is largely overgrown with bushes. Small pieces of walls and foundations have been preserved on the nearby buildings. The same applies to the inner ring of the walls.
Bóna M., Plaček M., Encyklopedie slovenských hradů, Praha 2007.
Wasielewski A., Zamki i zamczyska Słowacji, Białystok 2008.