One of the "products" of the Tatar invasion is the medieval castle of Somoska. We may not need to talk about the strategic importance of the border fortress system in the northern counties in Hungary. Fortunately, the once key castle of this system is now only struggling with the weather.

The castle formed a unit with the Salgo castle and the Zagyvafő castle, and these three fortifications were meant to defend the country from the armies attacking from the north.

Although the castle belongs to Somoska, which is in Hungary, officially, it belongs to Slovakia.

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The name of the castle in Slovak is "Šomoška Hrad" and "Somoskő vára" in Hungarian.

Overview

Somoska Castle Details
Country Slovakia, Hungary
Location Somoska
Address Šomoška, 985 58 Šiatorská Bukovinka, Slovakia
Distance from Bratislava 3 hours / 280 km
Opening hours 09:00 - 17:00
Admissions EUR 0.5-2
Time you need to visit 1 hour
Attractions nearby Salgó Castle, Black slag cones
Website somoska-hrad

Photos

Somoska Castle
Somoska Hrad

Map - Where is Somoska Castle?

You will find the castle not far from Salgótarján (which is the closest major city in Hungary), driving north in the direction of Somoskőújfalu. You have to look for the Somoska Wildlife Park, where you can park your car and head up from the Somoska hiking centre. Somoska is almost halfway between Kosice and Bratislava.

  • Address: Šomoška, ​​985 58 Šiatorská Bukovinka, Slovakia
  • Distance from Budapest: 1.5 hours / 125 km
  • Distance from Salgótarján: 20 minutes / 13 km
  • Distance from Kosice: 2,5 hours / 180 km
  • Distance from Bratislava: 3 hours / 280 km
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Tip: If you park on the Hungarian side, you do not have to pay for parking.

Opening hours

The castle can be visited at different hours on weekdays and weekends. It is open from 9 am to 4 pm on weekdays and from 9 am to 6 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

  • Weekdays: 09:00 to 17:00
  • Weekends: 09:00 to 18:00
In winter, check the opening hours, as the doors may close 1-2 hours earlier.

Prices

The official currency of Slovakia is the euro, but it is also possible to pay in Hungarian forints when buying a ticket. There is no way to buy a ticket online.

  • Adult ticket: 1.5 euros
  • Child ticket: 0.5 euros

Contacts

You can find the official page of Somoska Castle here, but you can also contact them on their Facebook page.

More about the Castle

If you look at the castle's floor plan, which is similar to a contemporary triangle, it consists of 6 main parts. The courtyard and the adjoining Gothic palace were in the middle of the castle, the extension of which was the cylindrical tower, the bastion and the entrance tower.

Blueprint of the castle

In addition, the castle had a dungeon suitable for storing cannons and a bastion where these cannons could be placed. The circular cistern on the ground floor provided water for the castle's inhabitants. The original triangular floor plan was extended during the Renaissance with additional buildings.

The castle, after losing its important defensive role, suffered significant damage. After Slovakia became an independent state, the buildings were unfortunately not dealt with much care.

However, the main walls of the castle and the main bastion can still be seen today, and here you can find the best points if you want to take photos of the surrounding forests.

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The castle tour does not take more than 1 hour (usually 40-45 minutes).

History of the castle

Like the other members of the northern border fortress system, the construction of Somoska Castle began in the 13th century, when the Eastern armies began to move and focused on the geopolitically important situation of Hungary.

Charles I of Hungary, after reclaiming the castle, donated it to the Széchenyi family, who lived here until the 15th century. After they left the site, the Losonczys moved into the fortress and eventually won their position against the Turks.

In 1554, the nearby Fiľakovo Castle and Salgo Castle fell into Turkish hands, but Somoska defied the attacks for over 20 years. In 1576, on the other hand, the defenders of the castle flew away, and Ali Fiľakovo took control of Somoska Castle.

During the Rákóczi War (Hungarian independence war), the buildings suffered significant damage, and the continuous destruction of the castle began.

Specialists recognised the importance of the place around 1970, and from then on they began to pay more attention to the preservation of the building, under which the castle was given a roof.

It is also interesting that the only border revision in Hungary's history, which took place in 1924, belongs to the history of Somoska. Dr Géza Krepuska, the founder of modern Hungarian ear medicine, was the one who managed to convince an English officer that Somoska should remain part of our country, as they were settlements inhabited by Hungarians.

Attractions nearby

#1 Basalt Organs (Hungary)

The hexagonal basalt columns at the foot of the castle are known all over the world. These solidified lava plumes resemble a waterfall due to their robust and regular wall-like shape. This is how the locals refer to them, and in addition to visiting the castle, it is strongly recommended to visit them.

Unfortunately, there is only a small amount of basalt columns today. Basalt is a durable raw material for building houses and paving streets. As a result, locals liked to use these stones to strengthen their own houses, and the streets of Vienna were said to be paved with them as well.

#2 Salgo Castle (Hungary)

You can see the castle of Salgó from the castle of Somoska. The distance between the two is 6 km by car, which you can do in just 10 minutes. You can visit both castles if you are already in the area. Salgó Castle is located next to Salgóbánya in Hungary.

#3 Zagyvaróna Slag Cones (Hungary)

The slag that looks like a volcano at first glance did not originate thousands of years ago, it will not spew fire and will not cause an earthquake. The most likely thing that will happen is that you will have a pleasant walk and a fantastic view.

There are two slag cones just 10 minutes from Salgótarján, formed 30 years ago due to the coal mining in the area.s

Hiking in the area

Not far from the castle, you can find the Medves Plateau on the Hungarian side, where you can meet wild boars and the probability of encountering bears is not zero either. If you want to go hiking and admire the surrounding mountains, arrive a little earlier. In clear weather, the view of the Cserhát mountain is unparalleled!