Above the ancient Transcarpathian town of Khust, there is a lonely steep mountain, the top of which is crowned with the hulls of Khust Castle towers that rise there like castellations of a giant crown. For more than two centuries, the castle has been no more than ruins. To see them, one has to take a steep dimb, but then his efforts will be rewarded: from the castle hill, he will get a fascinating view of the city. In the 1 llh century, this place was the borderline of the Hungarian kingdom. From here and down to the Carpathians, the res nullis – «nobody’s land» – stretched, swarming with dangerous people. By the order of the Hungarian king, they constructed a castle here, which was to protect the border and, in addition, the very important road that was used to bring salt from the nearby salt mines. Salt was a valuable commodity in the Middle Ages.

khust-castleThe height of the Zamkova (Castle) hill is 150 meters, and it was no easy task to build a stone castle there. For more than a hundred years (from 1090 to 1191), farmers from surrounding villages took stones onto the mountain and glued them with a mortar made of milk and cheese. Under the protection of the castle, there appeared a trading quarter, which soon became a prosperous town.

khust-castle01Khust Castle was the main stronghold not only for Khust, but also for the whole region. In 1594, the nomadic horde of 80,000 failed to capture it, and it managed to survive the numerous Turkish invasions of the 17th century. However, the tragic accident turned the castle into ruins: during a thunderstorm in 1766, the lightning struck in the powder depot. The castle was damaged so heavily by the explosion, that the authorities decided not to restore it.