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 cas ...
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 ...
Founded: 1309-1316 | Location: Sedliská, 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, ...
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

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.