The castle in Levice was built in the 13th century, when the near Tekovsky castle’s importance had declined due the devastation of Tartars. It was built on andesite rock, the remnants of Neogenic volcanic activity, which extended to the Štiavnica hills. The west side of the castle was bounded by the marshy meadow of the river Hron, with its several river branches. The castle itself had been a fortress for protection of the mining towns. Under the protection of the castle in the 14th century a settlement known as 'Big' or 'Old Levice' had been established, which is the real predecessor of today’s Levice town.
The 150 year long Turkish occupation, which started in the 16th century, weakened the town economically and made it more dependent on the castle’s estate. At this time the Levice castle, then already a royal castle, was listed among the 15 most important defence forts. In the middle of the 17th century the Turkish incursions grew stronger. Seeing the enemy’s huge numerical advantage, the captain gave up Levice without resistance. The Turks' rule in Levice lasted for only 224 days, when in 1664 by an unexpected action they were expelled out of the town. After the end of the Turkish wars Levice lost its important role as a frontier-castle and in 1699 in accordance with official orders it was abolished as a fort.
Frequent fires meant great disasters for Levice. In 1696 fire destroyed almost the whole town. In 1715 there were 195 taxpayers and 43 craftsmen in the town. In the time of Rákoczy’s Revolt in the 18th century the castle was in a very bad condition. In order to prevent from being used for military purposes the rebels decided to destroy it before leaving. The castle was never re-established and thus it lost its military importance.References:
Kirkjubøargarður ('Yard of Kirkjubøur', also known as King"s Farm) is one of the oldest still inhabited wooden houses of the world. The farm itself has always been the largest in the Faroe Islands. The old farmhouse dates back to the 11th century. It was the episcopal residence and seminary of the Diocese of the Faroe Islands, from about 1100. Sverre I of Norway (1151–1202), grew up here and went to the priest school. The legend says, that the wood for the block houses came as driftwood from Norway and was accurately bundled and numbered, just for being set up. Note, that there is no forest in the Faroes and wood is a very valuable material. Many such wood legends are thus to be found in Faroese history.
The oldest part is a so-called roykstova (reek parlour, or smoke room). Perhaps it was moved one day, because it does not fit to its foundation. Another ancient room is the loftstovan (loft room). It is supposed that Bishop Erlendur wrote the 'Sheep Letter' here in 1298. This is the earliest document of the Faroes we know today. It is the statute concerning sheep breeding on the Faroes. Today the room is the farm"s library. The stórastovan (large room) is from a much later date, being built in 1772.
Though the farmhouse is a museum, the 17th generation of the Patursson Family, which has occupied it since 1550, is still living here. Shortly after the Reformation in the Faroe Islands in 1538, all the real estate of the Catholic Church was seized by the King of Denmark. This was about half of the land in the Faroes, and since then called King"s Land (kongsjørð). The largest piece of King"s Land was the farm in Kirkjubøur due to the above-mentioned Episcopal residence. This land is today owned by the Faroese government, and the Paturssons are tenants from generation to generation. It is always the oldest son, who becomes King"s Farmer, and in contrast to the privately owned land, the King"s Land is never divided between the sons.
The farm holds sheep, cattle and some horses. It is possible to get a coffee here and buy fresh mutton and beef directly from the farmer. In the winter season there is also hare hunting for the locals. Groups can rent the roykstovan for festivities and will be served original Faroese cuisine.
Other famous buildings directly by the farmhouse are the Magnus Cathedral and the Saint Olav"s Church, which also date back to the mediaeval period. All three together represent the Faroe Island"s most interesting historical site.