UKRDOUG Castle Tours - Palanok Castle (Mukachave)
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Palanok Castle (Mukachave) - After finding this cache, make sure you visit the castle complex. I have included the coordinates for the castle parking lot and my favorite view of the castle. Don't forget to look for cache GC22PX8 at the castle while you are there.
Palanok Castle (Mukachave)
This is the premier castle in Zarcarpatia region and the second most famous castle in all of Ukraine. It sits atop a 68 meter high volcanic hill in three sections built between the 14th – 17th centuries over the ruins of a castle dating back to the 2nd century.
The oldest foundation stones were laid by the Hungarian Arpad Dynasty just before their 450-year reign came to an end. King Andrew III died in 1301 without a male heir and the Hungarian Kingdom was thrown into turmoil. The French Anjou Dynasty, related on the matrilineal side of Hungarian King Stephen V, stepped into the chaos and ruled over Hungary and thus control of the castle fell to them.
In 1396 the Podilsky Prince Fyodor Koriatovych, grandson of the first Grand Duchy of Lithuania Gediminas, purchased the city of Mukachave and turned the Palanok Castle into his residence and the most fortified castle in the region. The three story palace halls of the top level were built during his reign.
Palanok Castle was the residence of George Rakoczi I when he was elected the Hungarian Prince of Transylvania in 1630. He was an ardent Calvinist and successfully struggled hard to introduce reforms into the Transylvania church. Upon his death his widow, Susanna Lorantffy began construction of the middle and lower levels of the castle. It was during this time the great Calvinist teacher John Amos Comenius, considered the father of modern education, was protected within the walls of Palanok Castle during the Counter Reformation.
George Rakoczi II succeeded his father in 1648 and formed an alliance with the Cossack hetman Bogdan Khmelnitsky and the Swedish Monarch Charles X Gustav. They invaded Poland in 1657 taking Krakow and then Warsaw. His forces were then abandoned by his allies and the Poles defeated the Transylvanian forces. The Hungarian Diet, controlled by the Turkish Porte, deposed George II for undertaking an unauthorized war, but he was reinstated the following year when Hungary was again in control of the Diet. The Turks invaded Hungary in 1660 and George II died of his wounds at the Battle of Gyalu. The castle fell to his widow Sophia Bathory. She had become a Calvinist upon her marriage to George II, but converted back to Catholicism upon his death and waged a bloody Counter-Reformation.
Francis I Rakoczi became Prince of Transylvania in 1652 but lost his kingdom after the Turkish invasion of 1660 and withdrew to his Castle Palanok. He converted to Roman Catholicism under the influence of his mother Sophia. In 1666 he married the Croatian Princess Jelena Zrinska and with other Hungarian royals, became involved in the intrigues of the Zrinsky-Zakopan conspiracy where Jelena’s father, Croatian Count Petar Zrinski, attempted to win independence for Croatia from the Habsburg Empire. All the leaders of the conspiracy were executed except Francis I because of his mother’s actions in the Counter-Reformation.
Francis I died in 1676 and Castle Palanok fell to his widow Jelena and their months old son Francis II Rakoczi. Jelena married Imre Thokoly, the new Prince of Transylvania, in 1682 and together they continued their resistance against the Habsburg Empire. Austrian forces laid siege to Palanok Castle for three years (1685-1688). Jelena finally surrendered under the condition that all the inhabitants of the castle would be spared.
Austrian Emperor Leopold I then raised Francis II in Vienna and restored him to Castle Palanok when he reached adulthood. He soon became the richest landlord in Hungary. In 1700 Spain attempted to win its independence from Austria and Francis II was sent a letter asking him to join the rebellion. The letter was intercepted and Francis II was arrested and sentenced to be executed, but he escaped to Poland. When the War of the Spanish Succession began in 1703, he returned to Mukachave and led the Kuruc Rebellion to win independence for Hungary. The war would last until 1711 when Francis II’s horse stumbled and he was thrown to the ground unconscious. Thinking he was dead, his troops fled and several leaders transferred their allegiance back to Austria. Francis II again fled to Poland and Castle Palanok became the property of the Habsburgs until their demise after World War I.
In 1782, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II decreed the castle to become a political prison. Over 20,000 prisoners were held there until it was closed in 1896. Upon the fall of the Austrian Empire at the conclusion of World War I, the ruins of Castle Palanok became the property of the newly formed Czechoslovak Republic. Hitler restored the region to Hungarian control in 1938 and it served as a barracks for the Hungarian troops during World War II. When the Soviet army arrived in the region, they also used it as an army barracks. After World War II, the Soviets turned it into a vocational school and then finally began its restoration as a museum.
Jnvg!!! Qbrf gung zntargvp orybat gurer???