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:
The city walls of Avila were built in the 11th century to protect the citizens from the Moors. They have been well maintained throughout the centuries and are now a major tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk around about half of the length of the walls.
The layout of the city is an even quadrilateral with a perimeter of 2,516 m. Its walls, which consist in part of stones already used in earlier constructions, have an average thickness of 3 m. Access to the city is afforded by nine gates of different periods; twin 20 m high towers, linked by a semi-circular arch, flank the oldest ones, Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta del Alcázar.