Erzsebet Bathory, born 1560, belonged to one of the most remarkable Hungarian royal family lineage, in which polish King Stephan Bathory or Prince Gabriel Bathory were members. In no less significant status, as a military advisor for Emperor Rudolph the second of Hapsburg, was her husband Ferenc Nadasdy, to whom she was married to in age of 15. She gave birth to five children, daughters Anna, Catherine and son Paul have reached adultness, Andrew, and Orsloya died in babyhood. Her husband died during year 1604 because of implications from war injuries.
Erzsebet lived in a time of wars for power and religious believes and her life, afterwards as a widow owning enormous wealth, was not easy. Hungary was divided in two empires, Hapsburgs and Osmanian realms, capitol city of Hungary was Bratislava. Slovakia and a part of Poland belonged into so called Upper Hungary, princedom of Seven castles was located in territory on east, which was ruled by a seven-castle prince and polish king Zikmund Bathory, and later his nephew Gabriel. Until the beginning of a Fifteen-year-old war with Turks in 1591 were relationships between Hapsburgs and Osmanian realm basically peaceful. Erzsebet`s husband Ferenc Nadasdy had also enacted a major part in history of Hungarian politics when war against Turks was unleashed. However, the original plan was a failure, the country was plundered by a constant war, the displacement of Turks was not successful, and Sevena-cestle was disorganized. A civil war begun during last war years (1604-1606) when Istvan Bocskai fought not only for ending of war conflict with Turks, but also for freedom of protestant belief, generally against Hapsburgs efforts for re-catholicization of the country. Both ends in year 1606, however the whole territory remains in an internal battle between followers of Hapsburgs and Hungarian royalty.
Legend about Erzsebet Bathory was introduced to the world as a cruel countess, which murdered virgins, to bath in their blood in order to preserve eternal youth. Not only that - she tortured innocent girls with burning candle, overheated iron or poured cold water on them during freezing weather with help of some of her servants.
Complains on her, reached the ear of the ruler, who ordered palatine Juraj Thurzo to investigate this matter. Thurzo himself had leaded to disclosure of these alleged crimes and promised his friend Ferenc that he will protect his family in case of his eventual death. At the beginning, he tried to protect at the date enormous wealth of Nadasdy family and Erzsebet was forced to sign a testament on behalf of her children. After some time Thurzo reappeared unannounced on her manor in Cachtice, where he caught her during committing of mentioned crimes. He immediately ordered investigation, but it ended as fast as it started. Many witness testified at court, but the court with Erzsebet never took place. Her convicted servants ended up on a place of execution, Erzsebet was locked down into some "investigational arrest", interned into the tower of Cachtice castle where she died after four years in year 1614 without ever knowing her sentence.
Who was really Erzsebet Bathory? Was she really a "bloody countess", as some historians name her? Or was she a very well educated woman mastering several languages and seriously interested natural healer? Graceful person of fine taste and at the same time so rich, that she irritated many royal women with her original robes tailored for her in far Italy? Sadistic murderess, or a victim of former relationships full of dark intrigues, which were sewed by someone powerful, lusting for her fabulous fortune? Cruel merciless mistress or a vulnerable, lonely widow, perhaps both?
From the castle of Cachtice, which had a reputation of unconquerable mansion in all Middle East Europe, only ruins remained. Chateau of Cachtice under the keep disappeared entirely. There is only a small museum in a small village, owning the only portrait of former monarch of the whole region, Erzsebet. Not even her age is possible to determine from the portrait of very questionable quality. She voluptuously looks upon us with sad eyes, face of melancholy, strictly closed lips demonstrate, that she was an energetic woman, meanwhile her big eyes are revealing her boldness and sense of romance…