Smolenice Castle was built in the 15th century, but it was destroyed during Rákóczi's War of Independence and Napoleanic wars. In 1777, Count János Pálffy from Pezinok inherited Smolenice but did not reside in the castle due to its poor condition and lack of money for rebuilding it. The castle was rebuilt in the 20th century by order of Count József Pálffy. The architect Jozef Hubert designed the new castle by using Kreuzenstein castle near Vienna as a model, and the works were controlled by the architect Pavol Reiter from Bavaria. During its construction there were masters from Italy, Germany, Austria and Hungary, and 60 workmen from Smolenice and nearby villages. The main building has two wings and a tower, and is made of ferroconcrete.
The castle was damaged in the spring of 1945 during World War II, and in that same year the state became the owner of it. Some reconstructions have been made after 1950, and since June 26, 1953 the castle is property of the Slovak Academy of Sciences. The castle serves now as a conference centre, and it is only opened to the public in summer season.References:
Olargues is a good example of a French medieval town and rated as one of the most beautiful villages in France. It was occupied by the Romans, the Vandals and the Visigoths. At the end of the 11th century the Jaur valley came under the authority of the Château of the Viscount of Minerve. The following centuries saw a succession of wars and epidemics, and it was not until the 18th century that Olargues became re-established. This was due to the prosperity of local agriculture and artisanal industry.
The Pont du Diable, 'Devil's Bridge', is said to date back to 1202 and is reputed to be the scene of transactions between the people of Olargues and the devil. The old village is clustered around the belltower, which was formerly the main tower of the castle (Romanesque construction). The old shops have marble frontages and overhanging upper storeys. A museum of popular traditions and art is to be found in the stairs of the Commanderie.