Palanok Castle

Palanok Castle, the main historical landmark of Mukachevo, can be seen just a few kilometers from the city. An extinct volcano with a height of 68 meters serves as its foundation-pedestal. Palanok has seen a lot during its existence, and now it is a photogenic masterpiece of fortification art of the Middle Ages with almost a thousand-year history.

They say that Mukachevo got its name thanks to the castle: as if the inhabitants of Transcarpathia “in agony” filled the hill on which the fortress grew at the crossroads of trade and military routes.

Замок Паланок

The hill, of course, is not artificial, but of natural volcanic origin, but in the 9th-13th centuries, when the first wooden fortifications appeared here, local residents really suffered a lot from nomads who came from the East. However, neither the Polovtsian Khan Kutescu, who besieged the wooden fortress for 50 days in 1089, nor Khan Batia, whose 60,000-strong horde broke its teeth twice at Palanok in 1241, managed to conquer the Mukachevo Castle. When, in the 13th century, instead of the oak palanquin palanquin (which, by the way, gave the castle its name), stone walls grew, the inhabitants were obliged to cut down every tree or bush on the hill, so that the enemy could not approach the fortress by surprise.

Photo and video of Palanok Castle

A brief overview

🗺 Location N48°25’55″ E22°41’13″
🏛 First mention XI century
🗾 Area 13,930 m2
🧭 Distance from Mukachevo Near
🚙 Road for Auto and on foot
🏕 Stand with a tent No
🏡 Housing nearby Mukachevo
☕ Cafes and shops Mukachevo

Historical facts

In 1396, Mukachevo fell to Prince Fedor Koryatovych of Podil. The new owner rebuilt the castle, surrounded it with a moat and turned it into his residence. And under the old tower, the prince ordered to dig a well in the rock. We had to dig 85 meters to the water! Over time, this event has become overgrown with mythical details. It is said that the impure himself helped Koryatovych in the construction of the well – for a bag of gold promised by the prince. When it came time to settle, the prince gave away a small bag: they said, but we did not agree on the size! The evil devil jumped into the well and still sometimes makes noise there, gets angry… And they also say that a huge secret passage leads from the well to the Latoritsy River. According to legend, once in order to check the existence of a secret passage, a duck with painted feathers was thrown into the well. After some time, the duck swam alive and unharmed in the Latoritsa River, a few kilometers from the castle.

A bronze statue of the legendary lord now stands in the castle yard. People believe that she can grant wishes: you only need to hold the prince’s finger, polished by thousands of hands.

Even during the reign of Fyodor Koryatovych, Palanok was impressively impregnable: walls five meters thick, a large permanent garrison, 164 guns, 60 barrels of gunpowder, food reserves in case of a long siege. And during the time of the Transylvanian princes Rakotsi, the castle became almost the most fortified fortress in Central Europe. At that time, the castle was surrounded by as many as eight lines of defense.

Palanok was most famous in the world by two women – Sofia Bathory and Ilona Zrini – mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, who ruled the castle and were at odds with each other.

Ilona went down in history as a brave defender of the fortification. Incredibly, for three years, from 1685 to 1688, the fragile owner of the castle, Ilona Zrini, the widow of Ferenc I Rakocza, fought against the huge army of the Austrian Emperor Leopold I, who besieged the fortress. Turkish Sultan Mahmet IV, impressed by her courage, awarded the princess with a special certificate for courage. This is the only case in history when a woman was awarded this award! Now the wise princess, together with her son Ferenc II Rakoczy, look at the city again from the central bastion: in 2006, their sculptures were installed here.

Sophia Bathory brought the castle a mystical, terrifying glory. The woman could not live without human blood and not only killed for it, but also took blood baths, sacrificing 13-year-old virgin girls. She believed that in this way she could become immortal and forever young.

Maybe this is a big exaggeration, but no one disputes that Sophia was extremely cruel. It is said that in the dungeons of the Mukachevo Castle in those days there were special torture rooms, the walls of which were polished with human bodies. Palanok was for some time a stronghold of the anti-Habsburg struggle of the Smokers (that was the name of the rebels against the Habsburg Empire, who were led by the son of Zrini Ferenc II Rakoczy), and the capital of Transylvania (1705). In those days, there was even a mint here. For a long time (1782-1897), Mukachevo Castle housed an Austrian political prison. From December 1805 to March 1806, the most important treasure of Hungary – the Hungarian Holy Crown – was hidden from the Napoleonic troops in the castle walls. In Soviet times, the castle was a school for mechanics, a school for heads of collective farms and even a vocational school. From 1960 to the present day, a historical museum is located here, and the former barracks of the garrison housed a picture gallery, an art salon and cozy cafes. Be sure to get acquainted with all three terraces – parts of the fortress: the lower, middle and upper castles.

Palanok Castle is located on Pidzamkova street. Minibus No. 3 goes from the center of Mukachevo to the castle. On weekends, the castle is full of tourists, so it is better to come here early in the morning, when there are not so many people. An unforgettable panorama of the awakening city opens from the bastions at this time.

Palanok Castle is a legend

According to one of them, the well, which is located in the courtyard of the castle, serves as a secret entrance to the system of secret passages leading to the banks of the Latoritsa River.

It is mentioned that Prince Koryatovych (14th-15th centuries) reconstructed the castle and turned it into a well-fortified fortress. And it was he who decided to create a system of secret passages.

A folk legend tells that digging the necessary well turned out to be not so simple. During the work, a problem arose, the dug well was so deep that the walls were constantly collapsing, and it was impossible to get to it.

The prince had already lost hope and was no longer counting on a positive result, at that moment the devil appeared in front of him and offered to help. But of course his services could not be free, for that he wanted a bag of gold. The prince would have agreed to a larger amount, but the treasury was empty and it was simply nothing to pay the unclean.

The prince did not despair and decided to consult with his assistants. One of them offered an excellent option – a bag of gold, the size of which is extremely inaccurate, it can contain both 100 and 10 coins. The prince liked the idea very much, he took out the last two coins from his pocket, threw them into a bag and gave them to the devil.

The impure almost burned with indignation, but he could not do anything. The contract was concluded, and the conditions will have to be fulfilled one way or another. He twisted himself several times and jumped into the well, shouting goodbye “I will fulfill my promise, but you will never be able to drink water from the well.” Since then and every day, strange, scary sounds come from the well, according to legend, the offended demon still sits in it and scares people who want to draw water.

Palanok Castle tour

After visiting the fortress, you will immediately feel the special energy of this place, every object is steeped in history, every corner hides many legends. The excursion will help you learn in detail about the incredible history, get to know famous historical figures and the chronology of the castle’s events. An experienced tour guide will help you immerse yourself in the atmosphere of that time.

Having climbed to the top of the castle, you will be able to enjoy the dizzying views, listen to the colorful music of local musicians, and hear the prayer coming from the ancient chapel. Which will bring you a lot of unforgettable sensations. As a souvenir, be sure to take a picture in a medieval costume and make a wish while holding Fyodor Koratovich’s finger. Here you can refresh yourself in a cozy cafe. In the castle dungeon, you should visit the tasting room and buy souvenirs in the shop.

Palanok Castle interesting facts – the exact date of the castle’s founding is unknown. According to one of the versions of the “Hungarian Chronicle”, the stone fortification existed already in the 11th century and it withstood multiple attacks by the Mongol-Tatars.

Ticket price – 40 hryvnias for adults, 30 hryvnias for students and 20 hryvnias for children under 12 years old

Working hours: daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m

Where is Palanok Castle

Palanok Mukachevo Castle is located on Pidzamkovy Street. How to get there: from the center of Mukachevo Edit bus number 3. On weekends, the castle is full of tourists, so it is better to come here early in the morning, when there are not so many people. An unforgettable panorama of the city opens up from the bastions at this time.

How to get to Palanok Castle

 Walking route

🔰 Start From the parking lot (through Kurutsiv lane)
🚶 Walking distance 110 m
🕐 Approximate time 2 minutes
⬆ Rise Mostly without ups and downs

On the map

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from 395 ₴/day
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street Peace 66, Mukachevo
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from 500 ₴/night
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from 650 ₴/night

Where to eat deliciously

Restaurant "Decent Gazda"
Mukachevo, street Erdeli, 36A
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Leisure nearby

Винний погріб «Кельтський двір»
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St. Dukhnovycha, 89, Mukachevo
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Bicycle rental "Velofan" in Uzhgorod
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