Zborov – castle Makovica


   In the second half of the thirteenth century, in the Šariš county, two royal estates called Makovica were created, and in them two castles: Zborov and the now non-existent Bodon. Zborov was built relatively late; it was founded in the early fourteenth century, as a royal frontier defensive castle and at the same time the center of the aforementioned estate. On behalf of the king, it was managed by castellans, who during the time of Louis I of Hungary were Bebeks. The first mention of the castle from 1347 is connected with their name. In 1364, king Louis donated Zborov to Peter Cudar for loyal service. Thanks to joining subsequent villages to their property, Peter‘s descendants quickly created the largest latifundium in the entire county, occupying the majority of northern Šariš. They ruled the castle and surrounding lands until the family expired in 1470. This date coincides with the break in the splendor of the estate: first, the surrounding villages were ravaged by the Polish army, going to Hungary against Matthias Corvinus, then, in the years 1490-1492, they were affected by the fratricidal war for the Hungarian throne, between Władysław, the Czech king, and Jan Olbracht, king of Poland. The marches of Polish troops brought ruin to the villages and towns belonging to Zborov.
After several changes of owners at the end of the fifteenth and the first half of the sixteenth century, Zborov became in 1548 the property of the Seredyi family, which received it as compensation for the support of Ferdinand Habsburg in the war with John Zapolya. Seredyis were in constant conflict with the townspeople of nearby Bardejov, who sent numerous complaints to Vienna about the castle owners’ actions. However, in such cases, the emperor almost always took the side of the magnates, who did not regret the penny for the expansion of the castle, which during the Turkish pressure was of considerable importance. The old gothic castle was surrounded by a double ring of defensive walls, and all the sensitive points, which were easier to approach, were strengthened by cannon towers. The Seredyi government in Zborov lasted very short. The last of the family, Gaspar, died on the road to Bardejov in 1566.
In 1571, the owner of the castle was famed Hungarian magnate Andrew Balassa, who married the widow of Gaspar. After three years, the castle was taken over by Balasas son-in-law, Cracow castellan Andrew from Ostroróg. In 1601, his son, John from Ostroróg, sold the castle together with all the assets to Sigismund Rákóczi. It remained in the hands of Rakoczi until 1676, when the widow of Francis I Rakoczi, Helena Zrinyi, remarried nobleman, Imre Thókóly. It turned out to be the cause of the castle’s ruin. After the battle of Vienna, the uprising, headed by the new owner of Zborov, began to fall. In the autumn of 1684, when the kuruc rebels retreated to the east, the imperial general Schultz smashed their camp at Prešov and later turned around and besieged Zborov. Helena commanded it defense. After a short siege, the castle was conquered and destroyed on the personal order of emperor Leopold I. From that day the castle remains in ruin.


   Zborov, along with Šariš, was the best-developed and most powerful castle in the whole county. It consisted of three clearly distinct parts: the oldest upper castle, covering the top part of the hill, and two outer wards which were created in the second half of the fifteenth century and in the sixteenth century.
The first visible element of the castle was the foregate in the southern part of the castle, extended before the main line of walls. It came to it on the drawbridge over the moat. Behind the gate stretches the lower ward, also called the third bailey. The entrance to further parts of the castle was located on the opposite north side. The road led to it between the outer defensive wall and the wall and towers of the second ward. In order to improve control over the entering to the castle, the lower ward was divided by transverse walls. It could be overcome only along the west range of the wall, under the fire from the strongest towers. A thick outer defensive wall surrounded the castle around, giving it an irregular shape. In the western part, where access to the castle was easier, the wall was reinforced with two towers. The first, polygonal, was in the line of the walls, the second, round, was slightly larger and extended beyond their line. In this part of the castle there were also economic buildings for various purposes. They were added to the inner faces of the defensive wall. A further route to the heart of the castle led through another gate, placed in the transverse wall.
The second ward (middle castle) was located inside the lower one. It had an extremely defensive character. Equally solid and well-preserved defensive walls were reinforced with four towers, three of which were located on the section between the gates in the lower part of the castle. A single, horseshoe tower was located on the north-eastern side.
After the reconstruction in the 15th century, the upper castle served as residential and representative functions. In the middle there was a small courtyard around which other buildings stood. Most of the objects of the upper castle come from the fourteenth century and were rebuilt in the sixteenth century. The main residential house on the north side was a three-story, spacious and the largest building in the castle. Main castle tower was located in the south corner and the gatehouse opposite. The main tower probably also had a residential function due to its large size.

Current statey

   The castle has been preserved in the form of a legible ruin from the period of its magnificence in the 16th century. The walls and towers of the lower and middle castle survived in the best condition, in slightly worse are buildings of the upper castle. In recent years, renovation and security works have been carried out at the castle.

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Bóna M., Plaček M., Encyklopedie slovenských hradů, Praha 2007.
Wasielewski A., Zamki i zamczyska Słowacji, Białystok 2008.