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HISTORY TALKS...

Demandice’s mystifying origins

DEMANDICE lies to the south-east of Levice, in the western part of Ipeľská pahorkatina in Nitra Region. The first written mention of the municipality dates back to 1291, and the town’s chief land owners are mentioned in this historical document – the aristocratic family of Démendis. It was not uncommon for land owners to bear the name of the municipality in which they lived. It is not clear, however, whether the Deméndis family took their name from the municipality, or if the municipality was named after them.

DEMANDICE lies to the south-east of Levice, in the western part of Ipeľská pahorkatina in Nitra Region. The first written mention of the municipality dates back to 1291, and the town’s chief land owners are mentioned in this historical document – the aristocratic family of Démendis. It was not uncommon for land owners to bear the name of the municipality in which they lived. It is not clear, however, whether the Deméndis family took their name from the municipality, or if the municipality was named after them.

To further complicate matters, the Démendis family tree includes a religious dignitary named Ladislav, who was a royal doctor. During a recent reconstruction, an old Gothic window was found in the town’s 14th century church, which contains a portrait depicting two brothers, Saints Cosmas and Damian. The brothers were patron saints of doctors, and the Latin form of the name Demandice is Damian. So it is up to you to decide which came first.

But wait, there is more! At the time of the Ottoman invasions in the 16th and 17th centuries, the village straddled the border of Ottoman and Hungarian territory. Neither of the warring sides was able to hold onto it for very long, and thus it changed hands several times. The result was that Demandice was forced to pay taxes to both the Ottomans and the Great-Hungarian Empire. This situation, combined with ongoing danger in the area, became so unbearable that Demandice’s inhabitants fled to safer areas. Between 1663 and 1664, the municipality was totally deserted.

This postcard from the 1930s depicts an inn owned by a man named Keviczký. The band of musicians playing to the right of the door suggests that this picture may have been taken during a holiday.

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