Castles and fortifications in Slovakia

Cerveny Kamen Castle

Červený Kameň Castle was built in the 13th century as part of the chain of the Kingdom of Hungary’s frontier defense castles ranging from Pressburg to Žilina. Although the Fugger family built the massive fortress in the first half of the 16th century on the site of an original royal castle, its history is connected with the Pálffy noble family. This important Hungarian aristocratic family gr ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Častá, Slovakia

Zvolen Castle

Zvolen Castle is a medieval well-preserved castle located on a hill near the center of Zvolen. The original seat of the region was above the confluence of Slatina and Hron rivers on a steep cliff in a castle from the 12th century, known today as Pustý hrad (meaning 'Deserted castle'). Its difficult access had consequence in relocation of the seat to the new-built Zvolen castle, which was ordered by Louis I the Great as a ...
Founded: 1360-1382 | Location: Zvolen, Slovakia

Smolenice Castle

Smolenice Castle was built in the 15th century, but it was destroyed during Rákóczi's War of Independence and Napoleanic wars. In 1777, Count János Pálffy from Pezinok inherited Smolenice but did not reside in the castle due to its poor condition and lack of money for rebuilding it. The castle was rebuilt in the 20th century by order of Count József Pálffy. The architect Jozef Hubert designed the new castle by using ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Smolenice, Slovakia

Bytca Castle

Bytča Castle was originally built as a water castle by Pongrác Szentmiklósi in the 13th century and rebuilt between 1571 and 1574 in Renaissance style by Ferenc Thurzó. The Italian architect Ján Kilian of Milan was invited to oversee the construction. George Thurzo continued his father’s activities and due to him the Wedding Palace was built in 1601, which was meant to serve for the ...
Founded: 1571-1574 | Location: Bytča, Slovakia

Budatín Castle

Budatín castle was built as a guarding castle in the second half of the 13th century near the confluence of the Kysuca and the Váh, where tolls were collected. At the beginning of the 14th century, originally royal fortress passed into the hands of Matthew III Csák and the castle, especially towers were fortified, and inside the fortress a new palace was built. Since 1487, the new owner of the castle was Gašpar Suňo ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Zilina, Slovakia

Komárno Fortress

Komárno castle became the main supporting point of the defensive system constructed against the Turks, after they occupied Buda and Esztergom in the years 1541-1543. The fortress of Komárno is the one of the largest bastion fortifications in Central Europe. It was built in 1546-1557 to the grounds of the 13th century castle.
Founded: 1541-1543 | Location: Komárno, Slovakia

Lupca Castle

The Ľupča castle is the highest located castle building in the Hron area (Pohronie). The castle is built on the north side of a relatively narrow fold of the Hron which is closed by the slopes of the Slovak Ore Mountains from the south and by the slopes of the Low Tatras from the north. The oldest part of the castle is built on the isolated rock on the last hill of the Low Tatras jag with an altitude of 375m above sea l ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Slovenská Ľupča, Slovakia

Pezinok Castle

Pezinok Castle was originally a Gothic castle built at the turn of 13th and 14th centuries by Counts from Svätý Jur and Pezinok. After their death the castle had different owners (baron Krušič, count Illesházy, Pálffy family). In 1875 a lightning caused extensive damage to its nothern part, which fell apart and a new building was built at this place. In 1931 the town purchased the castle and sold it to Slovak Vintne ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Pezinok, Slovakia

Halic Castle

The first record of the castle in Halič dates from the year 1450. In the years 1450-51 it belonged to the Jiskras, later to János Hunyady before becoming inhabited by King Matthias Corvinus in 1462. In the first half of the 16th century it was in property of Istvan Losonczy from Lučenec. The castle was reconstructed, without royal permission, by him and was damaged in 1544 during a siege. After the death ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Halič, Slovakia

Víglas Castle

The history of the Vígľaš Castle reaches to the early medieval times when Slavic fortifications were built on these very same hillsides overlooking the Slatina River. In addition,the monastery, most likely run by the Templar Knighthood, also was in operation. Soon thereafter, the property became the possession of the Johanit Order (later called the Maltese Knights) and King Karol Robert of Anjou. In 131 ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Vígľaš, Slovakia

Borsa Castle

Borša Castle was built after the Tatar invasion (13th century) by the king Belo IV. Its history is not known very good, we only know, that castle was owned by many families (Perin, Polonyi, Lorantffy, Rakoczi and others). The most well-known owner was Francis II Rákóczi, the leader of the Hungarian uprising against the Habsburgs in 1703-11. At the end of 16th or the beginning of 17th century was on it ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Borsa, Slovakia

Hlohovec Castle

The dominant building in the Hlohovec is a Renaissance-Baroque castle built in 1720. The castle is built on the place of a pre-existing Slavic settlement and a medieval castle from the 13th century. In the castle area is the Empire theatre built in 1802, a riding school from the 18th century, and a Baroque garden pavilion.
Founded: 1720 | Location: Hlohovec, Slovakia

Ilava Castle

Ilavský castle dates from the turn of the 11th - 12th century. It was probably founded by Knights Templars and later it served as a monastery. The first document of the castle dates from 1446. The state administration established a state prison in the castle, which, in a new form, has remained there until the present day. There was also a concentration camp during World War II.
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Ilava, Slovakia

Hertník Castle

The history of Hertník castle dates from the first half of the 16th century when the Hertnik domain became a property of the Forgac family from Jelenec (Gymes). Baron Simon Forgac received Hertnik in 1553 from Ferdinand I for his military merits in the Turkish wars. The castle was built to the site of older fortications and it was a four-tower duplex building with a rectangle plan. A big courtyard was bounded by wa ...
Founded: 1553-1563 | Location: Hertník, Slovakia

Leopoldov Fortress

The town of Leopoldov was founded in 1664-1669 as a fortress against the Ottoman Turks on the initiative of Emperor Leopold I (hence the name). It was granted town status in 1669. The fortress has served as a state prison since 1855. During the Communist Czechoslovakia, the Communist government used the prison for holding and liquidating political prisoners, particularly in the 1950s. The conditions were harsh for prison ...
Founded: 1664-1669 | Location: Leopoldov, Slovakia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Cesis Castle

German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.

In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).

In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.

Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.