District of Topoľčany, Municipality of Oponice
One of the castles supervising the valley of river Nitra with important medieval communications was the Oponice Castle. Its ruins above the village of the same name will attract our attention even today when looking on indented massif of Tribeč Mountains from the valley. The construction of stone castle in Oponice was commissioned by brother of Matthew Csák - Master Csák. In deeds the castle is mentioned for the first time in 1300 when it was administrated by castle manager of Csák - count Valentine.
After the death of Matthew Csák without heirs in 1321 local Matthew’s castles were occupied by royal army commanded by Master Nicholas from Gutkeled family, on the orders of the king.
Some former castle managers of Matthew, since they could see vainness of their resistance, surrendered without fighting. That was also the case of Oponice. Change of castle’s possession came in 1392, when castle dominion was acquired by three daughters of Nicholas of Čeklís and their husbands, from which Peter, son of Thomas of Stráže, became the only owner of the castle and belonging villages - Oponice, Lehôtka and Polianka, on the basis of distribution of property in 1395. Peter was founder of Apponyi family, members of which have predicate after the castle - de Apon, from 1411. Already in the second half of the 15th century Apponyis had aristocratic curia in Veľké Oponice that at safe times was used as their permanent residence and castle served mainly to deposit family valuables but also as refuge at times of threat. Robbery of castle negligently guarded by subjects of Anna Ludanická from nearby Ludanice in 1514 gives evidence that they did not stay in castle permanently. Quickly growing Turkish threat and bad condition of damaged castle had brought Benedict Apponyi in 1542 to decision to reconstruct the castle. Following disputes with co-owners of the castle evidently slowed down the whole reconstruction because in 1566 the widow after Benedict, owning bigger part of the castle, had to pawn her part to John Apponyi for lack of money on fortifying works. The castle, as mentioned by Matthias Bel, offered excellent protection of owners and neighbours at time of Turkish riots however the village with church, burnt down by Turks, succumbed to plundering. In the first half of the 17th century most of the castle remained without maintenance and destiny of the building falling into ruin was completed with fire in 1645. Despite that, the castle later served as refuge to kuruc insurgents so after occupation at the beginning of the 18th century it was demolished by imperial armies.
At the beginning of the 21st century the citizen association OZ APPONIANA was established, trying to save and maintain castle’s ruins for future generations.
Source: Peter Sater - OZ APPONIANA