Medieval castles in 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

Korlátka Castle Ruins

Korlátka Castle was built in the mid-13th century. As a royal castle, it protected the western frontier of the Kingdom of Hungary. It has been left to decay since the 18th century. Only the outer walls of the upper castle and several stretches of lower fortifications were preserved.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Cerová, Slovakia

Plavecký Castle Ruins

Plavecký Castlee was built as a royal frontier castle between 1256 and 1273. Until the 16th century it was owned by Counts of Jur and Pezinok. In the second half of the 16th century the castle was rebuilt into a Renaissance style with the lower court. Gradually it was again fortified and maintained during the 17th century (new cannon towers were added then). In 1706 the castle was damaged the imperial army that con ...
Founded: 1256-1273 | Location: Plavecké Podhradie, 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

Sitno Castle Ruins

Sitno castle was built in the 13th century on the site of a primeval fortified castle. It has been in ruins since the 18th century. It is located in to the Sitno, the tallest mountain of the Štiavnické vrchy Mts., (1,009 m). The restored view tower from 1727 is now available to hikers.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Banská Štiavnica, 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

Revište Castle Ruins

The ruins of the Revište Castle near Hliník nad Hronom stand on top of steep rock about 100 m above the floodplain of the river Hron. There is a wonderful meadow below the castle used by canoeist as a camping site. The castle was built in the 13th century as part of protection to central Slovakian mining towns and the trade route running along the Hron. Renaissance fortifications were added to the older Got ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Žarnovica, 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

Uhrovec Castle Ruins

The ruins of the Uhrovec castle, dating from the 13th century, lies on the steep hill. It was one of the most valuable castles in Slovakia. The estate of the castle belonged to an influential noble family Zayo in the 16th century, originated from Croatia. The irst documented records of the castle date from 1258.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bánovce nad Bebravou District, 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

Topolcany Castle Ruins

Topoľčany Castle"s construction at the beginning of the 14th century is attributed to Máté Csák. During the 'gallant” Hussite crusades the castle became a temporary Hussite stronghold. The castle often changed hands, and temporarily belonged to the Forgách Dynasty. The castle’s final owners abandoned it in the late 18th century, but its charm has remained to the present da ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Topoľčany, Slovakia

Likava Castle Ruins

Likava Castle (Likavský hrad) was referred to for the first time in 1315. Its construction started with the intention to have a guarding point over the passage across the river Váh and the trade route from the Váh Basin to Orava and further to Poland. The castle owners, the noble family of Hunyady, gradually reconstructed and widened the core of the Castle and built the part called the lower castle in the second half ...
Founded: c. 1315 | Location: Likavka, Slovakia

Tematín Castle Ruins

Tematín Castle was originally built in the second half of the 13th century in the Kingdom of Hungary. It was completely reconstructed by the Thurzó family, owners of the castle from 1524. The last owner was Miklós Bercsényi, general of the anti-Habsburg insurrection army during Rákóczi"s War of Independence. The castle fell into ruins after it was besieged in 1710 as a part o ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Nové Mesto nad Váhom, Slovakia

Cicava Castle Ruins

The road south of the Veľká Domaša water reservoir leads below the ruins of the Čičava Castle, probably built in 1309-1316. The castle did not survive the last Rákoczis rebellion in 1711 when it was damaged. The Castle is known for its “Book of Lies and Liars” held here in the 16th and 17th centuries, also referred to as the Book of Čičava - in which curious lies and names of liars were noted. The Slovak idio ...
Founded: 1309-1316 | Location: Sedliská, Slovakia

Blatnica Castle Ruins

Blatnica castle was built in the 13th century to protect a major trade route running from Nitra to the north. Soon afterwards it became a royal castle but the kings lost their interest in the castle"s development after a new route, through Mošovce and Martin was built. The new owners of Blatnica Castle, the Révay family (from 1540), were more generous and the castle was significantly extended in the sec ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Blatnica, Slovakia

Biely Kamen Castle Ruins

Above Svätý Jur there are the ruins of the Biely Kameň Castle, which was probably built in the 13th century. It was the seat of the estate of Svätý Jur until the beginning of the 17th century. The Ottoman troops destroyed it in the 1663 and it was never restored. Some parts of walls, window openings, etc. of the castle survive.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Svätý Jur, 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, for ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Podbranč, Slovakia

Povazský Castle Ruins

Považský is a ruin of medieval castle on the right side of the river Váh, built on a cliff 497 meters above sea level. It was one of the most important castles guarding the valley of the river Váh. The first settlement of the castle cliff is dated to Púchov culture, also a Celtic coin was found on the hill. The exact year of establishment of the Bistrizza castle is not known, but it is assumed ...
Founded: c. 1128 | Location: Považská Bystrica, Slovakia

Zborov Castle Ruins

Zborov castle was built in the 14th century as a strongpoint defending the northern frontier of the Kingdom of Hungary and guardeda commercial route to Poland. The first written account of the castle dates from 1347. The original gothic castle was composed of a courtyard and was embattled by a defensive wall and atower. It also sported apalace with a chapel. Between the fourteenth andthe middle of the sixteenth century th ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Zborov, Slovakia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.