Trenčín Castle is relatively large renovated castle, towering on a steep limestone cliff directly above the city of Trenčín. It is a dominant feature not only of Trenčín, but also of the entire Považie region. The castle is a national monument.
History of the castle cliff dates back to the Roman Empire, what is proved by the inscription on the castle cliff proclaiming the victory of Roman legion against Germans in the year 179.
Today’s castle was probably built on the hill-fort. The first proven building on the hill was the Great Moravian rotunda from the 9th century and later there was a stone residential tower, which served to protect the Kingdom of Hungary and the western border. In the late 13th century the castle became a property of Palatine Matúš Csák, who became Mr. of Váh and Tatras.
Matúš Csák of Trenčín built a tower, still known as Matthew’s, which is a dominant determinant of the whole building. Another owner of the castle, Sigismund of Luxemburg, built a new palace and a chapel in the 15th century. All these buildings have been restored and are now used for museum purposes.
The 15th century was the century of fortification reinforcement, caused byHussite ventures, which directed to Slovakia. In the late 15th century, the castle together with the entire town belonged to Stephen Zápoµský, who began extensive alterations.
Trenčín Castle, together with the Spiš Castle and Devín Castle, belonged to the largest European castles in 1540-1560. At that time a star-defense artillery was built and modernized in accordance with historical patterns. The silhouette of the castle has changed – tall Gothic roofs were exchanged for horizontal Renaissance attics with swallow-tails, which were typical Italian elements of the 16th century. The castle was damaged during a fire in 1790. Nowadays, the castle is under a complex reconstruction. Restored objects are progressively used for museum purposes and for exposures.
A unique view offers from the Matthew’s tower. It offers an open view to the White Carpathian Mountains. Spaces of the Matthew’s tower document the housing of the nobility in the mid of the 11th century. Barbora’s palace interior and the cannon bastion have a modern renovated vault system.
The Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg is situated in a strategic area on a rocky spur overlooking the Upper Rhine Plain, it was used by successive powers from the Middle Ages until the Thirty Years' War when it was abandoned. From 1900 to 1908 it was rebuilt at the behest of the German kaiser Wilhelm II. Today it is a major tourist site, attracting more than 500,000 visitors a year.
The first records of a castle built by the Hohenstaufens date back to 1147. The fortress changed its name to Koenigsburg (royal castle) around 1157. The castle was handed over to the Tiersteins by the Habsburgs following its destruction in 1462. They rebuilt and enlarged it, installing a defensive system designed to withstand artillery fire.
The fortification work accomplished over the 15th century did not suffice to keep the Swedish artillery at bay during the Thirty Years War, and the defences were overrun.