Medieval castles in Slovakia

Beckov Castle

The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture. The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. It ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Nové Mesto nad Váhom District, 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

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

Lietava Castle Ruins

Lietava Castle was built after 1241, most likely as an administrative and military centre. In the early 14th century, it is mentioned with Máté Csák III, one of the powerful magnates in the Kingdom of Hungary. The castle changed hands until the 16th century when the Thurzó family gained it. It was reconstructed and fortified, and given its own military garrison. After the death of Imre Thurz&oa ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Lietava, 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

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

Jasenov Castle Ruins

At the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries Jasenov castle belonged to the noble man Peter from Bačkov. He was formerly an ally of the king, Charles Robert, during the period of struggle with the family of Omodejs (of the Abov county). Later, because Peter turned agains the king and tried to murder him, his property was thus entirely confiscated and in 1317 most of it given to the faithful Philip Drugeth. Since then i ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Jasenov, Slovakia

Markušovce Castle Ruins

The castle of Markušovce dates from 1284, but was not used after a fire in 1773.
Founded: 1284 | Location: Markušovce, 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

Pustý Castle Ruins

Pustý hrad is a castle whose ruins are located on a forested hill. With an area of 76,000 m² it is arguably one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. The original name was Zvolen Castle or Old Zvolen; Pustý hrad (meaning 'deserted castle') is a much later name used to distinguish the ruin from the present-day Zvolen Castle. Pustý hrad consists of two parts, the Upper Castle and the ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Zvolen, Slovakia

Dobrá Voda Castle Ruins

The Dobrá Voda castle was built on the site of an earlier castle in the first quarter of 13th century in the mountainous terrain on one of the roads that cross the crest of a small Carpathian Mountains. It was first time mentioned in 1263. In ancient times, the castle formed an elongated structure of the palace, which was close to both sides of the four-sided tower, a palace located on the southeast side of the ass ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Dobrá Voda, Slovakia

Brekov Castle Ruins

Brekov Castle was built in the the 13th century on the site of an older fort from the Great Moravian period. In time of the Rebellion of Estates in the 17th century, one or another fighting party repeatedly damaged it. It decayed in the late 17th century and only part of its walls and some domes survive.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Brekov, 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

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

Gýmes Castle Ruins

A striking dominant feature in the greater Nitra vicinity is the ruins of Gýmeš Castle, lying on the steep, quartzite Dúň hill. The first written mention of the village of Gýmeš was in the Zobor Deed of 1113 as part of the property belonging to the Benedictine abbey. King Andrew II presented the village in 1226 to Ivanko, descended from the ancient Hunt–Poznán family. I ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Jelenec, 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

Sklabina Castle Ruins

The Castle of Sklabiňa was first mentioned in 1242. After 1320, it became the seat of the county administration of Turiec. In 1630, the family of Révay had it adapted and a Renaissance manor house built in its courtyard. It was also fortified then. It remained the seat of the county administration until the mid-18th century. The Renaissance manor house survived until the Second World War. After it burnt in 19 ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Martin, Slovakia

Fil'akovo Castle Ruins

The first written record of the Fiľakovo town and the Castle is from 1242, where the castle withstood the Mongol invasions. In 1423 the town received municipal privileges. In 1553 the town with castle fell to the Turks and was seat of a sanjak (an administrative division of the Ottoman Empire) until 1593, when it was reconquered by the Imperial troops. However, it fell once more to the Turks in 1662 and the town alon ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Fiľakovo, 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

Zniev Castle Ruins

Although the first written mention of the Zniev or Turiec Castle (castrum Turuc) is from 1243, archaeological excavations prove the existence of a fortified settlement as early as the 11th – 12th century. According to a document issued in 1253 by King Bela IV the castle was refortified by Ondrej Forgáč, who apart from other loyal deeds managed to save king´s life after the defeat of the royal army ...
Founded: 1243 | Location: Kláštor pod Znievom, Slovakia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Beersel Castle

The moated castle at Beersel is one of the few exceptionally well-preserved examples of medieval fortifications in Belgium. It remains pretty much as it must have appeared in the 15th century. Remarkably, it was never converted into a fortified mansion. A visitor is able to experience at first-hand how it must have felt to live in a heavily fortified castle in the Middle Ages.

The castle was built in around 1420 as a means of defence on the outer reaches of Brussels. The tall, dense walls and towers were intended to hold any besiegers at bay. The moat and the marshy ground along its eastern, southern and western edges made any attack a formidable proposition. For that reason, any attackers would have chosen its weaker northern defences where the castle adjoins higher lying ground. But the castle was only taken and destroyed on one occasion in 1489, by the inhabitants of Brussels who were in rebellion against Maximilian of Austria.

After being stormed and plundered by the rebels it was partially rebuilt. The pointed roofs and stepped gables are features which have survived this period. The reconstruction explains why two periods can be identified in the fabric of the edifice, particularly on the outside.

The red Brabant sandstone surrounds of the embrasures, now more or less all bricked up, are characteristic of the 15th century. The other embrasures, edged with white sandstone, date from the end of the 15th century. They were intended for setting up the artillery fire. The merlons too are in white sandstone. The year 1617 can be clearly seen in the foundation support on the first tower. This refers to restorations carried out at the time by the Arenberg family.

Nowadays, the castle is dominated by three massive towers. The means of defence follow the classic pattern: a wide, deep moat surrounding the castle, a drawbridge, merlons on the towers, embrasures in the walls and in the towers, at more or less regular intervals, and machiolations. Circular, projecting towers ensured that attacks from the side could be thwarted. If the enemy were to penetrate the outer wall, each tower could be defended from embrasures facing onto the inner courtyard.

The second and third towers are flanked by watchtowers from which shots could be fired directly below. Between the second and third tower are two openings in the walkway on the wall. It is not clear what these were used for. Were these holes used for the disposing of rubbish, or escape routes. The windows on the exterior are narrow and low. All light entering comes from the interior. The few larger windows on the exterior date from a later period. It is most probable that the third tower - the highest - was used as a watchtower.