Maybe you haven´t heard about it, but Slovakia is one of the countries with the highest amount of the castles of all the world. There are more than one hundred of them over here and each one of them is related in its fascinated way with exuberant history of our country. Their beauty and uniqueness witnesses also the fact, that many of the Hollywood big movies were shot in these magic places. Among them those, which today have remained only ruins, but also others, that astonish with almost perfect conditions, nevertheless of many cruel battles and attacks that had to endure in the past. And each one tells its own part of the story of the era of hundreds years ago.
To make a survey of the slovak castles is a very impressive and attractive way how to become more familiar with our country, its history, traditions, and also with our beautiful nature. To visit these sites with their peculiar magic is like to read a breathtaking historic book full of adventurous stories. Stories, which shaped throughout long centuries a unique soul and spirit of Slovakia.
Where to begin our historical survey thus? Whether you start from eastern or western Slovakia, you can´t make a mistake. You´ll find exceptional and precious gems all over the country, expressing cultural, architectural and historical heritage of this region.
The biggest : If you want to see in person one of the biggest castles in Central Europe (with its circa four hectares), you have to visit definitely Spišský hrad – The Spiš Castle, which soared proudly on the hill many years as a political, economical and cultural centre of all region of Spiš. Its gripping story unfolds from 12th centuryand in spite ofvast fire in 1780, a trip to Spiš Castl is beyond question worth your time. Being here, don´t miss Museum of Spiš, underground panopticon or gothic chapel di Saint Elisabeth. The place, where have been shot scenes of the movies The Dragonheart, The Lion in Winter, The Last Legion, is since 1993 enrolled in list of the monuments of the UNESCO World Heritage.
Full of fairy-tales: The Bojnice castle, also with origins from 12the century, used to be residence and possession of the most famed and powerful noble families of the hungarian monarchy and even of the kings. The great restoration in 17th century has imprinted to the edifice a new romantic impression of the french castles on the Loire river. Today Bojnice castle is one of the most visited in all the country, also thanks to many legend and stories, famous annual festival of witches and vampires, a large beautiful garden adherent to castle and popular Zoo Bojnice in neighbourhood.
The most beautiful: One of the biggest architectural treasures of the Northern Slovakia is without doubts Oravský hrad – The Orava Castle, built as an eagle´s nest on a reef on the river Orava, dominating over the village Oravský Podzámok with its unique location. The citadel with its highest point of the castle is impressively situated 112 metres above the river. The castle from 13th century was of big importance in defending the strategic trade route between Poland and Hungary – The Amber Route. Fortress had to face up numerous attacks from the Turks. All this thrilling history is today expressed in intriguing expositions of The Orava Museum – one of the oldest museums of Slovakia. If you like adventures, we strongly recommend you to make a reservation for unforgettable night visit of the castle!
The most representative: Bratislavský hrad – The Bratislava Castle – a typical quadrangular structure with its four towers, which draws the peculiar sky-line of the capital of Slovakia, stands on strategical place above the Danube river. Actually part of the Old Town of Bratislava, castle is one of the most sought after and the easiest accessible attractions of the city. As its history unfolds since 907, Bratislava Castle recalls many events of the highest importance of our country. In the past house of Maria Theresa, today place of the summits of the leaders of European Union. Seen from considerable distance, the cozy castle has become one of the symbols of Bratislava, one of the first ´thing´ you can see arriving from abroad. During your visit don´t miss exposition of The National Museum or pleasurable walk on the terraces above the city and the river.
The touch of Romans: Trenčiansky hrad – The Trenčín Castle is located on the settlement, linking with the Bronze Age. Majestic dominant over the homonymous city and all the region of Považie is one of the biggest castles of Central Europe. In the past seat of the king and nobled families, today famous for its latin inscriptions (from 179 BC) right in the walls of the castle, testifying the victory of the roman legion in the battle with Germans. Definitely the most famous tenant of the castle was feudalist Mathias Csak of Trenčín – ´The Lord of the river Váh and the mountains Tatra´, who enlarged his ´house´ in a considerable way. Besides the tower of Mathias you should see also the historical prison, bastion and famous ´Well of Love´, recalling the legend about Turk Omar and his beautiful Fatima.
The meet-point of the kings: Ľubovniansky hrad – The Ľubovňa Castle. The edifice from 13th century is situated in Eastern Slovakia, above the homonymous city and being there, you´ll find yourself only 15 kilometres from borders with Polonia. In its era it was a place of many meetings of the european monarchs. Still remains famous for a reunion between the hungarian sovereign Sigismund of Luxembourg and the polish king Vladislav II and also as a prison of famed aristocrat, adventurer and king of Madagascar Moric Benovsky. Today the castle, standing on the hill 711 metres in high, offers various historical events, exhibitions, exposition of the arms, crown jewels. Particularity of area is an enormous linden tree with perimeter of 450 centimetres and heigth of 25 metres. Under the walls of the castle you´ll find a spectacular open-air museum of the folk architecture – Ľubovniansky skanzen.
We can go on and on in naming many other interesting slovak castles – fascinating places which are telling ravishing stories of our little big country: The Smolenice Castle – a hidden gem in the mountains of Little Carpathians, The Banská Štiavnica Castle with its miner´s museum, The Devín Castle – a national symbol, meet-point of our patriots, writers and poets, etc… If you really love history and adventures and would like to plunge yourself more into the atmosphere beyond the walls of castles, there is a perfect way of break-out for you! Some of the slovak castles and chateaus offers possibility of accommodation – an unforgettable holiday, where you can turn back in time hundreds of years…
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