Fortress of Mongatz aka Palanok Castle aka Mukachevo Castle. Who built it?

The Palanok Castle or Mukachevo Castle or Fortress of Mongatz is a historic castle in the city of Mukacheve in the western Ukrainian province of Zakarpattia. The Palanok Castle is delicately preserved, and is located on a former 68 metre high volcanic hill. The castle complex consists of three parts: the high, middle, and low castle.
Palanok Castle.jpg

I failed to find any texts talking about the history of this structure. The earliest printed text I was able to locate is dated with 1687 and contains nothing useful.

There is no accurate data on the circumstances of the construction of the castle. Archaeological research shows that the area was already inhabited in the Neolithic era, and that in the Bronze and Iron Ages there was a fortress on the site of today's castle. At the time of the conquest, a fortress built from piles stood at the top of today's castle hill.
  • St. Stephen (c. 975-1038 AD) attributed special importance to the castle, strengthened his walls, and King Ladislaus continued his work and built a stone wall.
  • Anonymus, Béla III of Hungary's clerk, author of the The Deeds of the Hungarians mentions that when the seven leaders and their tribes were crossing the Verecke Pass and the mountains below it, they became very tired and determined to rest at this place.
    • As the countryside was at great cost (work), the settlement was called Munkács.
    • According to another legend, the name of the castle and the city stems from the Slavic word for "suffering", because the construction of the castle and the application of the stones to it required much work and suffering.
  • In 1086 Munkács was attacked by the Pechenegs; they besieged the castle for five days, but were unable to capture it.
  • The rapid development of the city concluded during the reign of Béla III of Hungary.
    • In 1190, for example, the Tartars scattered the villages of the county of Bereg and Ung.
  • In 1241, the 60,000 strong army of Batu Khan entered Hungary through the Verecke Pass.
    • The city was demolished, but the castle was not occupied.
  • After the retreat of the Tartars, in 1242 Béla IV of Hungary gave instructions to build new castles, to reinforce existing ones.
    • During the 13th century, Munkács Castle became one of the largest and best protected fortresses in Hungary.
  • Charles Robert appreciated his significance to the ever-stronger Poland and Russia, and therefore he took possession of Italian masters to reconstruct and strengthen. Louis I of Hungary (1342-1382) continued his construction.
  • In 1352 another Tartar army arrived under the castle, but his garrison not only resisted his attack, but broke out from behind the walls, wrecking the enemy, captivating and executing Atlamos Khan.
  • Tódor Korjatovics, played a significant role in the history of the castle, and he was associated with relatives in the royal court of Hungary.
    • One of his sisters was King Sigismund's mother.
    • In 1396, Sigismund donated the castle and the associated domination to him.
KD: Once again, we get a lot of bla-bla-bla. We don't even know why it was called Mongatz. The only construction relevant part is this.
  • There is no accurate data on the circumstances of the construction of the castle.
The narrative says that the Palanok Castle is located on a former 68 metre high volcanic hill. This 223 foot hill is what attracted my attention. We have a bunch of them star fortresses out there, but this one was built on a "hill" below, that's just remarkable. Horses and manual labor can truly do miracles.

View of Munkacs built on top of a rocky hill.
Fortress besieged by Holy Roman Empire.

I am not sure how artists could depict the same hill so drastically different. On the left side of the above image we have a well known flag flown over some unknown star shaped fortress. They had those all over the place, didn't they?

View of Munkacs built on top of a rocky hill.

If you know what the below says, please indulge us with your translation.


Judging by the image below, the complex might have been a bit bigger than we think.

Images of the City and Castle of Mongatz.


KD: Figured this Fortress of Mongatz was an interesting structure to share. If you are able to locate any info on who might have built it, please post your findings.
  • Anyone know what this "Mongatz" could mean?
A quote from the book "Castles of Podkarpackie Rus". Translation - DeepL.
  • Mukachevo Castle - development of building in XIII-XVII centuries.

"There is no reliable historical data on the time when the castle appeared on the lonely mountain near Mukachevo. Archeologists suppose that on the Castle Mountain already in the IX century. There was an ancient Slavic hill fort, and it would be surprising if it did not exist at such a strategically advantageous location.

The nomadic Ugrian tribes, who passed through at the end of the ninth century. through Podkarpackie Rus, destroyed Slavic fortified centers on their way. With the formation of the Hungarian kingdom and the expansion of its borders to the Carpathian foothills in the X-XI centuries, a fortification again appears on the hill near Mukachevo. King László (1077-1095) fortified it with stone walls as an outpost against frequent raids of the Polovtsians. As the Hungarian chronicle testifies, in 1086. Mukachevo castle withstood a five-day siege and assault of khan Kutesk, who devastated the region, but could not take the castle. Such raids continued more than once, but the nomads never seized the castle. Batyi's hordes, which passed through Podkarpackie Russia in 1241, did not try to take the castle. After their withdrawal from the territory of the Hungarian kingdom, Mukachevo castle was significantly strengthened in case of a new invasion of the Tatar-Mongols.

At the end of the XIII - beginning of the XIV centuries. Due to the weakening of the royal power, Mukachevo Castle is seized by the magnate Aba Omodei, who led a feudal front against King Charles Robert of the Anjou dynasty. After its defeat, the castle once again becomes the property of the king. Charles Robert was well aware of the role castles play in the defense of state borders, and it is not surprising that he paid much attention to strengthening Mukachevo castle. The royal family interests and military-strategic position contributed to the fact that Mukachevo castle became an important defence centre of the whole north-eastern part of the kingdom. The castle has been reconstructed according to the latest achievements in castle architecture. At that time Romanesque style prevailed in castle construction, according to which the main element of the castle was a square donjon tower. The same tower was built in Mukachevo castle in the south-eastern part of the upper terrace of Castle Hill. The tower was a rectangular structure in the middle of a courtyard surrounded by solid walls on all four sides. Stone or wooden steps led to the tower, apparently along the east side of the hill, which could be taken down if necessary. This fortress housed only a guard, which was subordinate to the jupan. The charter, dated 1321, mentions the first commandant of the fortress Tomash - the nadjupan of Berezh and Ugochana jupas. The castle was under the full maintenance of the town and the dominion.

In the second half of XIV century, after the death of King Charles Robert, Mukachevo Castle becomes the property of Queen Elizabeth.
A new period in the history of Mukachevo castle began with the arrival in our region of the Podolsk Duke Theodore Koryatovich (Theodore Koryatovich), son of the Grand Duke of Novgorod and Michael Koryat of the Lithuanian dynasty Gedaminovich.

Prince Teodor Koriatowicz came to our region at the end of XIV century, after his possessions in Podolia were seized by the Lithuanian Duke Vitovt. Theodor Koriatowicz asked for help from his ally and relative, King Zsigmond of Hungary, but the latter could not help him militarily, and offered Koriatowicz to stay in Hungary. In 1396. King Zsigmond gives Prince Koriatowicz the Mukachevo and Makowice domains as a lien (temporary) possession. The prince chose Mukachevo castle as his residence.

Teodor Koriatovich proved himself as an active worker in our region. He left a good trace in the history of Mukachevo, Mukachevo Castle and Monastery. Before the 15th century. The main structure of Mukachevo castle - donzhon tower, which later was named "Old", had a purely defensive function. In the fourteenth century. New trends in castle architecture are appearing - the viewpoint of the functional basis of the donjon tower is gradually changing, which causes the expansion of its functions. In the fourteenth century. The idea of building a protective structure that would perform both protective and residential functions at the same time arises. Apparently, Teodor Koriatovich was familiar with the new trends in castle architecture. And the lesson taught him by the Lithuanian prince Vitovt was still fresh in his memory. Therefore, it is not surprising that after he settled in the castle, a radical reconstruction of the existing fortification begins. It was at the end of XIV - beginning of XV century. - it is at this time that the castle is being reconstructed. But Prince Teodor Koriatowicz did not think only about the military side of the restructuring process, he also took care of the housing for the princely family and the servants. For this purpose a stone two-storeyed structure was added to the donjon. And to strengthen the defensive capacity of the castle, Theodore Coriatowicz in 1401. He ordered to surround the castle courtyard with a dry moat and a stone protecting wall, the width of which was 5 metres and the height up to 10 metres. As a result of the reconstruction, the chateau took the shape of a rectangle jutting out in a southeasterly direction and slightly sloping in its plan. A cylindrical tower, 9 metres in diameter, was erected at each corner of the defence wall. and 2.5 m thick walls. Three towers have survived to our time - the south-east tower, under which stairs leading to the Upper Castle are located, the south-west tower, which was connected to the large stone water tanks, and the north-west tower, which was later connected to the west wing of the large castle building. The northeast tower has not survived."

Do you need the whole chapter translated?
Do you need the whole chapter translated?
Appreciate it, no I do not. There is plenty of info above. I wish we knew where we could reference it. If there are any specific publications mentioned by name in your book, I’d appreciate those. Interested in the period ending in 1703.

Those are some entertaining drawings, especially the 1300-1500 one. I’m wondering if the artist got a chance to read the accompanying text. What happened to 1077 through 1300?

The translation above is talking about cylindrical towers. That’s pretty interesting, because I did see those the other day, but thought it was a mistake of sorts. Here they are.


I wish we knew where we could reference it.
Here's a link to a book you can buy. I'm not the seller. There's a brief description and a table of contents. I tried for a long time but I failed to put this link into translator, so if you have Google Chrome then translation won't be a problem.
This is a link to an archive with scans from the book. There's also a text file in Russian.
All I can do at the moment on your subject.
If you know what the below says, please indulge us with your translation.
I don't get to use my German as much as I would like and I always have problems with some of the unusual letters in the old writing, such as how the double 's' looks so much like an 'f', but here's my effort.

Isst ein uberaus fesstes Schloss in Ober-Ungarn an den Polniche Grautze (grenze?) hat auch an Lebens Mitteln grosse bequemlichkeit und Wolfale zu voraus haffige Weinnachs (Weinvachs?), dieses Mongats gehoret vor Alters an die Konige von Ungarn, kam aher in der Siebenburgisshen Furssten gewalt unt beharrete sso lang darraine biss A1567. Lazarg Schwendi es dem Siebenburgisshe Hospodar abgenomen, Nach diessem isst es jedoch wieder in Siebenburgisshe gewalt geratten, und als Graff Tekely des Furssten Ragorn nachgelassene Wittib geheurathet isst solche Yestung in sseine des Tekely gewalt geffallen und war ssein besster und letzter ort da er seinen schatz und gemahlin hatte, doch A1688 ward er nach einer 2 jahrigen Bloquade mit accord eingenomen, Die Malcontenten hatten es auch inne, mussten es aber A1722, durch accord abtretten.

Its an overall strong/tight castle in upper Hungary on the Polish border and has great comfort in food/supplies and welfare (not sure of the words at the end of this sentence but might indicate wine barrels or cellar). This Mongrats belonged from old days to the Kings of Hungary, but came during the Princes of the Seven towns/cities (Furstentum von Siebenburgen)(Wiki gives us Furst Johann Sigismund as example) under seige so long until A1567. Lazarg Schwendi took it from the Siebenburgishe. After this it was retaken with violence by the Siebenburgishe, it was left to Graff Tekely by Furst (prince) Ragorn. The area fell into such violence that the fortress was the last best place for Tekely to place his treasure and paintings. Still in A1688 after a 2 year siege it was taken by accord/agreement. The malcontents had to by accord/agreement return/release/evacuate it by A1722.
<...> Weinnachs (Weinvachs?) <...>
Yes, you're right.
«Endlich ist zu mercken, daß etliche den Winter über ihre Weinhoiter mit Stroly oder Schilff zudecken, oder auch unter den Schnee verfdarren, damit sie nicht erfrieren mdogen, welches zwar, wenn es im Frühling keinen Frost mehr giebt, eine nukliche Sache; wann aber im Frühling gedachter massen ein Frost einfället, dem weil indeffen die Winger offt gange Flecken im Weins Weinnachs sehr schädlich ist: <...>»
«Finally, it should be noted that some people cover their vineyards with straw or reeds in winter, or even hide them under the snow so that they do not freeze to death, which is quite natural when there is no frost in spring; but when frosts come in the spring, which is very damaging, as the vines often develop spots: <...>»
"Allgemeines biblisches lexicon, in welchem nebst denen namen, das wesen ..." — Daniel Schneider [1731]

If the translation is inaccurate, please correct it.
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Not sure if this is the right thread for this but since it involves an unknown fortress in the area it couldn't hurt.

Are you aware of the Kronika Wielkopolska? It was a chronicle supposedly compiled based on written works of the time period on the real history of Poland in the late 1200's. It essentially details the Lech/Lechia Empire and ties to the Rus. A polish historian has written extensively on it - Janusz Bieszk. European Scythia was essentially replaced by a Confederacy of Sueves which then turned into the Lechia Empire. At its height it conquered much of the Western world. By the end of its reign it held the territory that still models the boundaries of modern day Poland.



If you're interested it could be a great solution to a lot of the problems we encounter but here's some more basic info:

Did not mean to derail with this just wanted to present the info to you in some way that could be a solution to so many of your questions.
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