Medieval castles in Slovakia

Lednica Castle Ruins

Lednica castle ruins stand on the picturesque Lednické bralo rock. The site is perhaps the most inaccessible one among the castles in Slovakia. The castle was built at the end of the 13th century and it was the seat of the Lednice estate. Imperial troops destroyed it at the beginning of the 18th century. Only the remains of walls survive. The legend says that the spirit of the beautiful lady of the castle Katar&ia ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Lednica, Slovakia

Liptovský Hrádok Castle

At the beginning of the 14th century Magister Donč, the head of the Zvolen county, built a Gothic stone castle on a small dolomite rock. The castle was surrounded by a moat which is now only a small romantic lake. In 1341 was the first written record about the castle named Wywar, in later documents it is referred to as Novum Castrum – New Castle, or Hradek. One of its strategic roles was to control the importan ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Liptovský Hrádok, 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 cas ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Pezinok, Slovakia

Lubovna Castle

Ľubovňa Castle was built after 1292 by the Hungarian King Andrew III. As a border guard castle, it protected trade routes to Poland. Famous Hungarian and Polish noble families entered its history. The castle was the seat of the Polish trustees from the Spiš region for more than 350 years. Hungarian and Polish Kings and Queens, such as Mary, Sigismund, Vladislav II Jagiełło, John Albrecht, John C ...
Founded: c. 1292 | Location: Stará Ľubovňa, Slovakia

Sulov Castle Ruins

Súľov Castle was built in first third of the 15th century. By it’s size, the castle was very small. Its main function was to protect and watching near by road. After 1550 fire it was rebuilt to its original shape and size. In 1730 the castle heads military garrison. There used to be upper and lower castle. Heavy earthquake damage in 1763 accelerated its final destruction. Fortified formation was found in ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Bytča, 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 abo ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Slovenská Ľupča, Slovakia

Branc Castle Ruins

Branč Castle was a relatively large castle which was built probably in the second half of the 13th century. The castle together with other castles protected the roads to Moravia crossing the border of the country in the Karpaty mountains. It was was used as a refugee for local inhabitants against Osman threat in 1663. The castle was abandoned in the beginning of the 18th century, furniture from its rooms was removed, ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Podbranč, Slovakia

Orava Castle

Orava Castle, situated on a high rock above Orava river, is considered to be one of the most beautiful castles in Slovakia. The castle was built in the Kingdom of Hungary in the 13th century. Orava Castle stands on the site of an old wooden fortification, built after the Mongol invasion of Hungary of 1241. Its history since then reveals a familiar pattern of construction, destruction, reconstruction, fire, various ownersh ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Oravský Podzámok, Slovakia

Modrý Kamen Castle

The name of the Modrý Kameň town was first mentioned as Keykkw ('Blue rock') in 1290. Ruins of the Modrý Kameň castle stand on a rock pinnacle above the town. The castle was built in the second half of the 13th century by the ancestors of the Balassa noble family. They had to recapture the castle from sons of Casimir of the Hunt-Poznan clan by a siege in 1290. The castle was captured by O ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Modrý Kameň, Slovakia

Hrusov Castle Ruins

The origins of Hrušov castle are not known, but it was probably built after the invasion of Tatars around 1253. From 1321 to 1344 it belonged to the family Levické and then became a royal property. In 1347 King Louis I of Hungary gave it to the governor Hrušov. The castle was destroyed by the Imperial army in 1708 and is in decay since then. However, its surviving walls induce a romantic atmosphere an ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Topoľčianky, 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

Holumnica Castle Ruins

The village of Holumnica was first mentioned in 1293 and was known for cloth production in the 17th century. Due to lack of historical research, it is not clear which of the stately families (Berzeviczy, Ujhazy, or Görgey) built their castle on the village, but it is estimated to 15th or 16th century. The castle was built in Gothic-Renaissance style and it was inhabited until in 17th century when a mansion in the cen ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Holumnica, 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

Ducové

Ducové is famous for an archaeological site on the Kostolec hill, where an important Great Moravian castle has been unearthed. The castle, including a small palace, a Christian rotunda church, and a graveyard of local nobles, served as the administrative center of the Váh river valley during the 9th century and the first half of the 10th century. It was founded after the nearby Nitrian castle in Pobedim was ...
Founded: 800-900 AD | Location: Ducové, Slovakia

Liptov Castle Ruins

Liptov castle is the highest situated castle in Slovakia, located in the height of 993 metres. The first written record about the Liptov castle comes from 1262. Liptov castle was a royal castle in the past and its duty was to protect the borders of the country. Now you can admire the beauty of Liptov from there, but also rich archeological exposition in the nature.
Founded: 1262 | Location: Ružomberok, Slovakia

Spis Castle

The ruins of Spiš Castle (Spišský hrad) is one of the largest castle sites in Central Europe. It was included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1993 (together with the adjacent locations of Spišská Kapitula, Spišské Podhradie and Žehra). Spiš Castle was built in the 12th century on the site of an earlier castle. It was the political, administrative, economic and cultural centre of Szepes County of th ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Spišské Podhradie, Slovakia

Cachtice Castle Ruins

The Čachtice castle ruins stands on a hill featuring rare plants, and has been declared a national nature reserve for this reason. The castle was a residence and later the prison of the Countess Elizabeth Báthory, who is alleged to have been the world"s most prolific female serial killer. Čachtice was built in the mid-13th century by Kazimir from the Hont-Pázmány gens as a sentry on th ...
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Čachtice, Slovakia

Divín Castle Ruins

Ruins of the medieval Divín Castle can be seen above the village. The castle was built by the end of the 13th century and it played an important role as an anti-Turkish fort in the 16th century. Its ill-famed owner Imrich Balassa, robber knight seated here in the 17th century and undertook assaults in its environs. After his death, the Castle was conquered by the Imperial troops in 1683 and fell in decay. Only part ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Divín, Slovakia

Krásna Hôrka Castle

The Krásna Hôrka Castle stands on top of the conspicuous unwooded mountain, which dominates the Rožňavská kotlina basin. The main attraction though is the embalmed body of Sophia Andrássy-Serédy. Despite the castle was extensively damaged by fire in 2012 it is said to be one of the country's best-preserved castles. The original Gothic castle was built around 1320. The courtyard of the upper part of a rather small ...
Founded: 1320 | Location: Krásnohorské Podhradie, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Eketorp Fort

Eketorp is an Iron Age fort in southeastern Öland, which was extensively reconstructed and enlarged in the Middle Ages. Throughout the ages the fortification has served a variety of somewhat differing uses: from defensive ringfort, to medieval safe haven and thence a cavalry garrison. In the 20th century it was further reconstructed to become a heavily visited tourist site and a location for re-enactment of medieval battles. Eketorp is the only one of the 19 known prehistoric fortifications on Öland that has been completely excavated, yielding a total of over 24,000 individual artifacts. The entirety of southern Öland has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Eketorp fortification is often referred to as Eketorp Castle.

The indigenous peoples of the Iron Age constructed the original fortification about 400 AD, a period known to have engendered contact between Öland natives with Romans and other Europeans. The ringfort in that era is thought to have been a gathering place for religious ceremonies and also a place of refuge for the local agricultural community when an outside enemy appeared. The circular design was believed to be chosen because the terrain is so level that attack from any side was equally likely. The original diameter of this circular stone fortification was about 57 metres. In the next century the stone was moved outward to construct a new circular structure of about 80 metres in diameter. At this juncture there were known to be about fifty individual cells or small structures within the fort as a whole. Some of these cells were in the center of the fortified ring, and some were actually built into the wall itself.

In the late 600s AD the ringfort was mysteriously abandoned, and it remained unused until the early 11th century. This 11th century work generally built upon the earlier fort, except that stone interior cells were replaced with timber structures, and a second outer defensive wall was erected.

Presently the fort is used as a tourist site for visitors to Öland to experience a medieval fortification for this region. A museum within the castle walls displays a few of the large number of artefacts retrieved by the National Heritage Board during the major decade long excavation ending in 1974. Inside the fort visitors are greeted by actors in medieval costumes who assume the roles of period artisans and merchants who might have lived there nine centuries earlier. There are also re-enactment scenes of skirmishes and other dramatic events of daily life from the Middle Ages.

Eketorp lies a few kilometers west of Route 136. There is an ample unpaved parking area situated approximately two kilometers west of the paved Öland perimeter highway. There is also a gift shop on site. During peak summer visitation, there are guided tours available. Visitors are assessed an admission charge.