BETWEEN A CENTURY OF MEMORIES
Csesznek is a small village with a population of more than 500 people, located in the Old-Bakony, next to highway 82. Its appearance is made magical by the special harmony of valleys, plateaus, mountains and streams. But the village with excellent geographical features has a central ``character``. And this is none other than the giant castle over Csesznek. The fortress built on the limestone rock of Dachstein, has been a key player in the central landscape of Bakony for at least 750 years.
…There are places that make a special and lasting impression on a person from the first moment. When I saw Csesznek Castle from the national road for the first time in my life, it had such an impact even on my childish mind that I couldn’t forget it anymore… – Flóris Rómer
We do not know the foundation of the settlement of Csesznek and the exact construction date of the fortifications. According to our assumptions, the fortress was one of the new participants in the ``wave of castle construction`` after the Tatar invasion. During this period, the Csesznek Castle could have been a much smaller fortification, probably consisting of a large tower and some fortifications.
THE BEGINNINGSThe first written mention of the castle dates from the 13th century. According to sources, its builder and first owner was Jakab Cseszneki. Later - during the time of Róbert Károly - it became the royal Castle of Csesznek, which was then donated by our King Sigismund to the Garai family.
The Garai family rebuilt the castle in Gothic style and it then became a prestigious knight's castle. Over time, the fortress changed hands several times. It was also owned by János Szapolyai, Bálint Török and Pál Bakics.
TURKISH RISE, RÁKÓCZI’S WAR OF INDEPENDENCEDuring the period of Turkish subjugation, after the fall of Veszprém, it became a fortress. During this period, the most outstanding castle captain was Lőrinc Wathay, whose son, Ferenc Wathay, is an important figure in medieval Hungarian literature.
After the suppression of the Ottoman Empire, Csesznek became a key supply hub for the Kurucs in the Rákóczi’s War of Independence. Moreover, the walls of the castle were besieged even then, but the Hungarian braves heroically and successfully defended their base against the Labanc armies.
FROM HEYDAY TO DECAYThe last and perhaps most prominent heyday the castle was in the 18th century, during the time of the Esterházys. It was then that the building complex gained its greatest extent and Baroque style features. Since the old castle could not meet the growing needs of the famous noble family, the Esterházys moved to their castle in Réde and left the castle alone. The fate of the castle was ``sealed`` when an earthquake caused serious damage in 1810, and a few years later, its roof was completely burned down due to a lightning strike. After that, the local population used the castle as a quarry, as a result of which the lower castle was almost completely washed away.
The archaeological research of the castle began in 1967 and a significant part of the fortification has now been excavated. Nowadays, it is one of the symbols and most important tourist attractions of Csesznek and the surrounding area. It is constantly beautified and supplemented with new elements, in order to provide pleasant relaxation to all visitors.