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 that it might have been around 1128 AD. There are doubts that the castle in those times might have been made of wood because of the presence of two other wooden castles in present day Slovakia. For the shift from wooden castle is probably responsible Béla IV, after the invasions of Batu Khan. However, the first written reference is from 1316, closely connected to Matthew III Csák. The next holder of the castle was county judge Alexander Héderváry. Together with his son Mikulas, they ruled from 1325 to 1354. From 1354 the castle belonged to Pavol Ugali, chancellor of ex-county judge. During last few years of the 14th century, King Sigismund gave the fortress to palatine Sudivoj, but the owner was quickly changed, and from 1400 to 1425 it belonged to Ctibor of Beckov. Then it became the possession of a king.
In 1458 Matthias Corvinus of Hungary donated the castle, the town and 16 surrounding villages to Ladislav Podmanitzky for his devotion to him, preceded by violent death of his father Anton Podmanitzky in the service of the king. His diligent work for the ruler prepared a good position for his sons and great upsurge of his possession.
His sons had important roles in the future of middle Europe. Jan Podmaniczky became the Archbishop of Zagreb and personal mentor of Vladislas II. His brother Stefan Podmanitzky became Archbishop of Nitra, he coronated both János Szapolyai and Ferdinand I as the kings of the country, but later he took the Habsburgs' side due to their stretching influence around Nitra. He was one of the leaders of the Counter-Reformation in the times when Martin Luther's influence just started to reach the country. His third son Michal Podmanitzky became chamberlain of King Louis II. He with his brother Stefan participated in the Battle of Mohács, from which he never returned. He left three daughters and sons Jan and Rafael.
After the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the country was divided between two kings, János Szapolyai and Ferdinand I.
This dispute used Jan Podmanitzky and his brother Rafael Podmanitzky to gain power in the region; Považský hrad was the centre of their influence. They took the side of János Szapolyai although most of the region was under control of the Habsburgs. Possession of Podmanitzky, with a hard centre Považský hrad withstood attacks of king's army led by Katzainer, to whom Trencin gave up in the summer of 1528, but they even gained new possessions around Lednica. They were famous for their successful raids all around the region. In those times they were limitless rulers of the region; the whole northern part of the county, under their reign, was independent from the rest of the county controlled by Ferdinand I . In the 1530s they became involved in the fight against Protestant family Kostka. For their involvement they were given the manor of Vesprim. They split up in 1537 to create their own manors, leaving Rafael in the region and Jan creating Vesprim manor, but they both still continued with their raids. In 1542 their raids were issued on the king's court. After settling down the possession matters with Kostka, they accepted the results.
A great fire started in 1543 devastated the castle but the owner invested great effort to rebuild it. In 1560 the castle was donated to Gašpar Serédi. After his death his wife married Ondrej Balassa. The castle was shelter for the Balassa family during an uprising of Francis II Rákóczi against the Habsburgs. The castle, due to its well-built fort, resisted. Because of a lack of luxury, the Balassa family moved from the castle to the mansion below the castle cliff. The place was then used during the rebellion against Leopold I, so to prevent more rebellion the emperor ordered the castle to be destroyed. It was burned by his troops in 1698. The ruins were again damaged by earthquake in 1858.
The castle with shingle roof belonged in times of his fame to one of biggest well-fortified buildings of that kind. The ground plan of the building has a fid shape. The entrance to the castle was protected by an entrance tower, a barbican and two bastions, parts of a strong wall through which the castle crew protected themselves in case of danger. The ground floor of the tower was used as a storage place for munitions. Here was probably also a secret gate through which people from the castle were supplied in cases of attack, when the main entrance was built-in. On the northern side there was a cuboid tower, used as a prison. On the east of the tower there was a main gate for carriages. A few metres ahead was a warehouse of cannons, next to them houses of nobles and a chapel. These parts are nowadays most devastated. On the southwest there were flats, and under them other warehouses, granary, kitchens and pantries. The castle had three floors. The water supply was ensured by underground wooden pipes from the well Sklepita. The remains of these pipes were found in the early 20th century. In front of the castle was a moat. Sandstone and limestone were used as building materials.References:
Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.
Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.
When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.
In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.
Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.
Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.
In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.
The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880, when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until 1928, when Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle and began an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses, and towers. After his death, a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke town council.
The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.
In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.
The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.
In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.
The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.
Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.