The castle was built for the protection of the locals in the 15th century to the order of Archbishop Istvan Varday, chancellor of Matthias Corvinus. The ruins of the castle now play a major role in the town’s cultural life. The wars of the 16th-17th century and the economic change in Europe had a negative effect on the economic development of Hungary. During this era with the protection of the stone castle Kisvarda – the center of Szabolcs County – survived several siege.
Since this area is far from the mountains, bricks made of clay were used for the construction. The inner residential block was surrounded by an outside fortress made of piles, which gave place to a garrison, the stables and the stores. The whole area of the fortress was surrounded with a moat and swamps, protecting it from raid attacks. Its significance comes from its geographical location, as it was in the battle zone of the Kingdom of Hungary, the Turkish Empire and the independent Transylvanian Principality.
At the outbreak of the Rakoczi insurrection, the nobles of Szabolcs County were seeking protection between the walls of the castle. During the insurrection it served as a center for supply, reinforcement and prison for POWs. Rakoczi himself visited the castle four times, and took part of his last preview of troops here in January 1711.
The ruins of the castle were surrounded with a park in the 19th century, where several festivals were held. In the last few years, the building became the home of the Festival of the Over the Frontier Hungarian Theaters. The Bathhouse of Kisvárda stands next to the castle, providing recreational opportunities.