The castle of Magyarózd has been sitting in the hill above the village with the same name for about four centuries. I grew up not far from it, but as a child I never thought of visiting it.
The first time I became interested in it was when I revisited my old home town with my own children. I wanted to show them interesting sights close to where I grew up. What could be more interesting to a young American child than an old castle, in ruins?
At the time we explored the inside the castle, as well as the outside. In some places it was dangerous to walk inside, since much of the floor has collapsed in a few rooms. The kids had a blast, though they were too young to understand the significance of it, so close to where I grew up.
I revisited the castle and the village of Ozd on my last trip to my hometown of Ludus.
The Village of Magyarózd
The road to the village itself is picturesque, at the end of a narrow dirt road. As soon as we left Marosludas (Ludus), we found ourselves in the countryside. We didn’t see another car going in either direction.
We drove through rolling hills. A few old-fashioned wells seemed to stand guard as lonely sentinels.
As soon as we entered the village, a young man driving a horse-drawn carriage waved to us.
“He was once my student,” my dad told me. He was a teacher in this tiny village for a few years.
As small as it still is, Ozd is one of the oldest villages in the region, dating from the 1200s. The first written document talking about a church in Ozd dates from 1227. I learned this fact from reading The Description of Sekler Land (A Székelyföld leírása) by Orbán Balázs. By 1332 all the official documents of the time included notes about this settlement.
The village had a castle in the 1500s, but the one that still stands dates from later. Lőrincz Pekri, one of the *kuruc generals had it built around 1695.
*A kuruc was a soldier fighting in the army of Ferenc Rákoczy II, leader of the Hungarian uprising against the Habsburg Empire in 1703-1711.
Once during the war, while Petri was home, the enemy troops besieged the castle. He barely made it out alive, while only handful of his men stayed behind to protect the castle, before leaving themselves. Finding it empty, the enemy troops set the castle on fire. Most of it burned down, but the four bastions survived.
Home to the First Hungarian Poetess
During this time, the castle was home to the first Hungarian female writer and poet, Kata Szidónia Petrőczi (1659-1708), Pekri’s wife. She came from a family of high rank in Transylvania. Her father, baron István Petrőczy, participated in the rebellion against the Habsburgs as well, and she had strong patriotic beliefs.
After marrying Pekri, she lived in this castle, raising their four daughters. She was often alone, while her husband was off, fighting in battles.
Though she wrote both poetry and prose, her poems are the ones that stood the test of time. One of the first representatives of the Baroque style poetry in Hungary, she left an impressive body of work. She wrote about love and sorrow, and the beauty of nature, but in her later years her poems became more and more religious.
She left quite a few manuscripts of her poems in the castle of Ozd, when she had to flee her home. They were found later on, and published in 1874, along with the biography of the author.
In 1732 the castle became the property of Radák Ádám, who restored it after the fire. During the next centuries the castle changed hands a few times, until communism ended private property in Romania.
The last owner of the castle was Countess Ilona Teleki, who had to flee the country in 1944, when the Russian and Romanian troops marched in. In communist times the castle was the property of the Romanian state.
The Castle in Modern Times
During the communist era, the state used parts of the castle for a few different things over the years. It became an agricultural association at first. Later on it housed a kindergarten, a school, cultural center and community center. It even became a temporary home to a few teachers for a short time in the 1970’s. But, it was mostly left to deteriorate.
After the fall of communism, the Romanian state allowed the heirs of the former nobel families to reclaim their property. The current heir, Ilona Teleki’s daughter, received the castle and the surrounding estate. Since she lives abroad, she had no use for it, and donated it to the Bonus Pastor Foundation. The Foundation intended to use it as a Therapy rehabilitation Center for addictions. They did some major renovations, including redoing the roof.
I am not sure what is going on with the center, I have not seen any signs of them during my visit.
For now the castle still sits alone and abandoned on the hill overlooking the village.