Medieval castles in Slovakia

Saris Castle Ruins

Šariš Castle is one of the oldest castles and biggest in Slovakia. It was permanently settled from the Neolithic to the 4th century AD, then from the 10th to the 12th century, and finally a new castle was built in the 13th century. This castle burned down in 1678.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Veľký Šariš, Slovakia

Bratislava Castle

Bratislava Castle has been a dominant feature of the city for centuries and it is the national monument of Slovakia. The castle, like today's city, has been inhabited for thousands of years, because it is strategically located in the center of Europe at a passage between the Carpathians and the Alps and at an important ford used to cross the Danube river. Early History The people of the Boleráz culture were the first k ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Bratislava, Slovakia

Devín Castle

Devín Castle is a national cultural monument of Slovakia and one of the oldest fortifications in the country. Owing to its strategic position, the cliff (altitude of 212 meters) at the confluence of the Danube and Morava rivers was an ideal place for a fort. Its owner could control the important trade route along the Danube as well as one branch of the Amber Road. That is why the site has been settled since the Neolithic ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Devín, Slovakia

Nitra Castle

Nitra castle was built in the 11th century on the place of an earlier fort. The core of the castle is St. Emmeram"s Cathedral with the Bishop"s residence, with several different parts. The oldest surviving part is the Romanesque Church of St. Emmeram from the 11th century. The other two parts of the cathedral are the originally Gothic Upper Church from the 14th century, and the Lower Church from the 17th century ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Nitra, Slovakia

Banská Bystrica Castle

The Banská Bystrica town castle was once formed by several ancient buildings. Its task was to protect the income proceedings of copper and silver mining for the royal treasury. The town castle was built gradually. The parish church was built as the first structure in the 13th century and fortifications were added to it in the 15th century. Earth ramparts and palisades were later replaced by tall stone walls fortif ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Banská Bystrica, 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

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

Trencín Castle

Trenèín Castle is relatively large renovated castle, towering on a steep limestone cliff directly above the city of Trenèín. It is a dominant feature not only of Trenèín, but also of the entire Považie region. The castle is a national monument. History of the castle cliff dates back to the Roman Empire, what is proved by the inscription on the castle cliff proclaiming the victory of Roman legion against Germans in ...
Founded: 800-900 AD | Location: Trenèín, Slovakia

Starý Zámok

Starý zámok (literally Old Castle) is well preserved castle complex built in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was embedded to the church of Our Lady from the 13th century. The first documented mention dates from 1486. The church was damaged by earthquake in 1443 and the reconstruction to the fortress was made between 1495-1515 against the Turkish threat. The last significant restoration on the defense complex ...
Founded: 1495-1515 | Location: Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia

Kremnica Castle

Kremnica castle comprises a compound of medieval buildings from the 14th through 15th centuries, protected with double fortifications to which town walls are connected. The town walls rank among the best-preserved town fortifications in Slovakia. The Church of St. Catherine, the patron saint of the town, is the dominant sight of the castle area. The church, with the interior in the Neo-Gothic style, is well-known also be ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Kremnica, Slovakia

Cabrad Castle Ruins

Čabraď Castle is first mentioned in 1276. Then it also went by the name Litava Castle, due to its position on top of the Litava Valley and its river (with a dominating position). It along with other (sentry) castles were built to protect the roads that were going through the area to the central Slovakian mines that were booming at the time. The castle was the residence of the Ders of Hunt-Poznan who are noted as ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Čabradský Vrbovok, Slovakia

Murán Castle Ruins

Muráň Castle is noteworthy for its unusually high altitude of 935 m. It also figures in several romantic legends about its remarkable owners. Muráň Castle was built in the 13th century on a cliff overlooking a regional trade route. Its name was mentioned for the first time in 1271. One of its owners, the robber baron Matúš Bašo, transformed the castle into a stronghold of band ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Muráň, 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 ...
Founded: 1360-1382 | Location: Zvolen, 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

Vinné Castle Ruins

Vinné Castle is the ruin of a Gothic castle probably built in the second half of the 13th century to protect the road leading to Poland. During the war of the Hungarian King Matthias and the Polish monarch Casimir IV it was severely damaged in 1466. In the beginning of the 16th century the castle repaired and fortified but in 1594 it was again damaged by the imperial army. In the mid-17th century Vinne castle was l ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Vinné, Slovakia

Blh Castle Ruins

Blh (Velky Blh) castle was built in the 13th century. In 1323 it was renovated in the Gothic style and in 1483 it was extended and fortifications were added. It played an important role at the times of Turkish invasion. It was destroyed in 18th century.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Veľký Blh, Slovakia

Bojnice Castle

Bojnice castle is a neo-Romantic castle with some original Gothic and Renaissance elements built in the 12th century. Bojnice Castle is one of the most visited castles in Slovakia, receiving hundreds of thousands of visitors every year and also being a popular filming stage for fantasy and fairy-tale movies. Bojnice Castle was first mentioned in written records in 1113, in a document held at the Zobor Abbey. Originally b ...
Founded: c. 1113 | Location: Prievidza, Slovakia

Kezmarok Castle

Kežmarok Castle dates from 1463. It was built for the defence the town on the site of the medieval community of Svätá Alžbeta (St. Elisabeth). The original castle was built in the Gothic style with thick walls and massive bastions. The castle gained its contemporary Renaissance form after extensive rebuilding which proceeded in various stages in the years 1572, 1575, 1583, and 1624. The last phase was comple ...
Founded: 1463 | Location: Kezmarok, 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 Joze ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Smolenice, Slovakia

Levice Castle Ruins

The castle in Levice was built in the 13th century, when the near Tekovsky castle’s importance had declined due the devastation of Tartars. It was built on andesite rock, the remnants of Neogenic volcanic activity, which extended to the Štiavnica hills. The west side of the castle was bounded by the marshy meadow of the river Hron, with its several river branches. The castle itself had been a fortress for pro ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Levice, Slovakia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Goseck Circle

The Goseck circle is a Neolithic circle structure. It may be the oldest and best known of the Circular Enclosures associated with the Central European Neolithic. It also may be one of the oldest Solar observatories in the world. It consists of a set of concentric ditches 75 metres across and two palisade rings containing gates in places aligned with sunrise and sunset on the solstice days.

Its construction is dated to c. 4900 BC, and it seems to have remained in use until 4600 BC. This corresponds to the transitional phase between the Neolithic Linear Pottery and Stroke-ornamented ware cultures. It is one of a larger group of so-called Circular Enclosures in the Elbe and Danube region, most of which show similar alignments.

Excavators also found the remains of what may have been ritual fires, animal and human bones, and a headless skeleton near the southeastern gate, that could be interpreted as traces of human sacrifice or specific burial ritual. There is no sign of fire or of other destruction, so why the site was abandoned is unknown. Later villagers built a defensive moat following the ditches of the old enclosure.

The Goseck ring is one of the best preserved and extensively investigated of the many similar structures built at around the same time. Traces of the original configuration reveal that the Goseck ring consisted of four concentric circles, a mound, a ditch, and two wooden palisades. The palisades had three sets of gates facing southeast, southwest, and north. At the winter solstice, observers at the center would have seen the sun rise and set through the southeast and southwest gates.

Archaeologists generally agree that Goseck circle was used for observation of the course of the Sun in the course of the solar year. Together with calendar calculations, it allowed coordinating an easily judged lunar calendar with the more demanding measurements of a solar calendar.