The Krásna Hôrka Castle stands on top of the conspicuous unwooded mountain, which dominates the Rožňavská kotlina basin. The main attraction though is the embalmed body of Sophia Andrássy-Serédy. Despite the castle was extensively damaged by fire in 2012 it is said to be one of the country's best-preserved castles.
The original Gothic castle was built around 1320. The courtyard of the upper part of a rather small castle with triangle-shaped ground plan has been preserved. Fortifications were added to the castle in time of the Turkish threat. Fortifications including three canon bastions and a cannon terrace in the Renaissance style were built. In addition, it was when the interior of the castle got a more homely Gothic-Renaissance shape and when it acquired its present form.
Three generations of the Andrássy family tried to obtain the castle and finally succeeded in 1642. In 1735, the area in front of the castle gates was adapted and the small Baroque chapel of St John Nepomuk was built there.
In the second half of the 18th century, one of the bastions was rebuilt into the Baroque-Classicist Chapel of Nativity of the Virgin Mary. On the main altar of the chapel, there is a painting of black Madonna also referred to as the Virgin Mary of Krásna Hôrka, that later on became the reason of processions.
The castle houses the exhibition of the Museum of Betliar, which illustrates the history and development of the castle, as well as the way of life of nobles in the past. As the castle with its original furniture is one of the best preserved in Slovakia, it is worth visiting. The castle kitchen and the collection of arms are of special interest. The most precious exhibits are medieval and modern weapons, such as a bronze cannon from 1547 with a small barrel of gun powder and stock of cannon balls or castle rifles – harquebuses from the 18th and 19th century.
In the late 20th century, a medieval catapult was installed near the castle, which is used upon the “Castle Games” that are organized every year.
On the outskirts of the village of Krásnohorské Podhradie stands a mausoleum in the Art Nouveau style with two sarcophagi of the Andrássy family. A gallery with a collection of portraits is situated in another building at the foot of the castle hill.References:
Czocha Castle is located on the Lake Leśnia, what is now the Polish part of Upper Lusatia. Czocha castle was built on gneiss rock, and its oldest part is the keep, to which housing structures were later added.
Czocha Castle began as a stronghold, on the Czech-Lusatian border. Its construction was ordered by Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, in the middle of the 13th century (1241–1247). In 1253 castle was handed over to Konrad von Wallhausen, Bishop of Meissen. In 1319 the complex became part of the dukedom of Henry I of Jawor, and after his death, it was taken over by another Silesian prince, Bolko II the Small, and his wife Agnieszka. Origin of the stone castle dates back to 1329.
In the mid-14th century, Czocha Castle was annexed by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. Then, between 1389 and 1453, it belonged to the noble families of von Dohn and von Kluks. Reinforced, the complex was besieged by the Hussites in the early 15th century, who captured it in 1427, and remained in the castle for unknown time (see Hussite Wars). In 1453, the castle was purchased by the family of von Nostitz, who owned it for 250 years, making several changes through remodelling projects in 1525 and 1611. Czocha's walls were strengthened and reinforced, which thwarted a Swedish siege of the complex during the Thirty Years War. In 1703, the castle was purchased by Jan Hartwig von Uechtritz, influential courtier of Augustus II the Strong. On August 17, 1793, the whole complex burned in a fire.
In 1909, Czocha was bought by a cigar manufacturer from Dresden, Ernst Gutschow, who ordered major remodelling, carried out by Berlin architect Bodo Ebhardt, based on a 1703 painting of the castle. Gutschow, who was close to the Russian Imperial Court and hosted several White emigres in Czocha, lived in the castle until March 1945. Upon leaving, he packed up the most valuable possessions and moved them out.
After World War II, the castle was ransacked several times, both by soldiers of the Red Army, and Polish thieves, who came to the so-called Recovered Territories from central and eastern part of the country. Pieces of furniture and other goods were stolen, and in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the castle was home to refugees from Greece. In 1952, Czocha was taken over by the Polish Army. Used as a military vacation resort, it was erased from official maps. The castle has been open to the public since September 1996 as a hotel and conference centre. The complex was featured in several movies and television series. Recently, the castle has been used as the setting of the College of Wizardry, a live action role-playing game (LARP) that takes place in their own universe and can be compared to Harry Potter.