Medieval castles in Slovakia

Slanec Castle Ruins

Slanec Castle is situated on the hilltop above the village. The exact date of construction is unknown but it was probably built after the Mongol invasion. It is thought to be originated in the Árpád era. The oldest authentic mention can be found in a charter of the chapter of Eger from 1303, when the sons and descendants of Szalánczi I Péter (Petri de Zalanch) shared the castle and other posses ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Slanec, 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

Oponice Castle Ruins

Oponice Castle was probably built in the second half of the 13th century by son Peter from the Csák clan. The castle was first mentioned in 1300 as 'Oponh'. Until the death of Máte Csák of Trencsén in 1321, Oponice Castle guarded part of his wide domain in the central Nitra area. The castle was later administered by the royal exchequer until it was passed in 1392 into the hereditary p ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Oponice, Slovakia

Sásov Castle Ruins

The ruins of the medieval Šášov Castle stand above the river Hron. According to a legend, the lord of the Zvolen Castle had it built for his court joker who saved his life while hunting. The task of the Šášov Castle was to guard the trade road and to collect toll. It became royal property in the 14th century and part of the dowry of the royal wives. In 1490 the family of Dó ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Žiar nad Hronom, Slovakia

Starhrad Castle Ruins

Starhrad castle was built to protect the old road leading Povazie and it was first mentioned in 1267. The oldest part of the castle was the tower. In the 14th century the castle was in royal hands and some houses and farm buildings were built. Since 1443 it belonged mostly to the Pongracovce family. In the 16th century Starhrad was abandoned and left to decay. By the beginning of the 18th century there lived only guards. ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Strečno, Slovakia

Pajstún Castle Ruins

Pajštún Castle was built in 13th century as part of a regional castle system aimed at defending the north-western border of the Kingdom of Hungary. One of the first known records mentioning the castle comes from 1314 in connection to its owner, Otto from Telesprun; many sources often, mistakenly, date the first mention of the castle to 1273. In 1390, Sigismund, the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Hungary at t ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Borinka, Slovakia

Hodejov Castle Ruins

Hodejov castle was built in 13th century and destroyed by Osmans in 1571. Today only some ruins remain.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hodejov, Slovakia

Bzovík Castle Ruins

Bzovík castle structure originated by reconstruction of the Cistercian Abbey founded around 1130. Several decades later the Premonstratesian provostship moved here and became the largest feudal estate in the region of Hont. Its fort was repeatedly destroyed in the 15th century. In 1530 it ended up in hands of Sigismund Balassa who drove out the monks and had the Romanesque monastery reconstructed to the Gothic-Ren ...
Founded: 1530 | Location: Krupina District, Slovakia

Ostrý Kamen Castle Ruins

North of Smolenice is the village Buková with water reservoir and a marked route, which leads southward to the romantic ruins of the Castle Ostrý Kameň from the 13th century. The Castle was a royal border fort guarding the Czech road in the past. It is in decay since the 18th century though part of its walls, bastion, and adjacent buildings are still observable. The top of the Castle provides a nice vie ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Buková, Slovakia

Somoska Castle

Šomoška Castle is unique among the Slovak castles as it is built of unconventional hexagonal basalt pillars. It was probably built in the later half of the 13th century after the Tartar invasion. After suppression of the Rákoczis rebellion, the Emperor had pulled down several castles, but Šomoška was spared. However, it gradually decayed and the last tower burnt in 1826 when a lighting s ...
Founded: 1291 | Location: Somoskő, 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

Vrsatec Castle Ruins

The original Gothic Vršatec castle from the 13th century was destroyed in time of Rákoczis rebellion in 1706. The legend has that the castellan of this castle cut his leg in order to help his master to escape from the Tartar prison. The ruins provide an excellent view of the whole of central Považie and the valley of the Váh river with the mountains Súľovské and Strážovs ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Pruské, 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

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

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

Hajnácka Castle Ruins

Hajnáčka castle was built in the Gothic style against the Mongol invasion in the mid-1200s. Later, in the mid-15th century, the construction was finished. Hajnáčka was the seat of important feudal lords. In 1545 the castle was besieged and conquered by Ottomans. At the end of the 16th century and the first third of the 17th century castle was an important part of the anti-Turkish defensive line. Ne ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hajnácka, Slovakia

Strecno Castle

Streèno Castle is located on top of the steep limestone rock on the left bank of the Váh river. The castle was mentioned for the first time in 1384. Based on indirect written reports it can be assumed that the Castle already existed in the first half of the 14th century. It was to safeguard the toll collection at a ford through the Váh river. The oldest castle had the area of only 18x22 m. It comprised a r ...
Founded: 1316 | Location: Streèno, Slovakia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.