Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Beckov Castle

Beckov castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Slovakia. The castle ruins are situated on a rock above the village of Beckov in Trencin Region, western Slovakia only a few kilometres from Nove Mesto nad Vahom town. The castle belongs to the National Cultural Monuments of Slovakia.
Beckov caste was built in 13th century over a settlement site that had existed from the Great Moravia Empire. In the times of Matthew Csak of Trencin the castle was owned by the powerful ‘Lord of the river Vah and the Tatra Mountains’. In the 1388 Matthew Csak gave Beckov castle to Stibor, Polish knight and founder of the Stibor family. Stibor was the second most important owner of the Beckov castle and Stibor dynasty became one of the most influential in the Hungarian Kingdom. Stibor rebuilt the castle including the castle wall, towers and built a new Gothic palace with a chapel. The fortifications turned out to be very useful in 1599 during the Turks invasion when the castle was successfully defended.
In 16th – 17th centuries Beckov castle was owned by the Banffy family. The Banffy family rebuilt the original Gothic style castle into a Renaissance palace. After the death of Banffy family the castle was abandoned and in 1727 it was destroyed by fire. For many years the castle was visited by many artists, painters, scientists and constructors.
Castle Beckov is formed by castle ruins and gardens. The castle is open for public and is very easily accessible from the village Beckov. You can park your car just below the castle at the village church which is about 5 minutes walk to the castle. The bus stop is also nearby. The path to the castle is very well maintained with very mild ascend. It is suitable for small children, elderly or parents with baby prams. Beckov castle is very attractive also thanks to its location and accessibility.
In the village, you can buy something to eat or park your bicycle. You can visit the Beckov castle all year round, however some parts of the castle are available only during the summer period, from May till October. According to a legend, the castle was built in a very short time, the castle jester made every passerby work on the castle for 8 days.
source: slovakiasite.com

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Devín Castle

Devín Castle standing on a massive rock hill above the confluence of the Danube and Morava is an unusually impressive landmark. It is part of the oldest history of Slovakia.
Its ground plan is very irregular. Today we enter the castle through the western Moravian Gate. The southern gate protected by a pair of semicircular bastions was built in the 15th century on an older Great Moravian rampart.
Close behind the gate and on the right side of the path is a precious archaeological monument from the Roman period of Devíns history. The ground plan of the remains of a bulky stone building from the 4th century suggests a Classical tomb.
The path divides into two on the ridge of the castle hill. The left branch leads to the place where a Great Moravian church stood in the 9th century. The first branch of the path leads to the conserved ruins of the middle and upper parts of the medieval castle. In the first half of the 15th century the Gothic Garay palace with two stories was built and the Renaissance palace and fortifications were added in the 16th century.
Some vaulted spaces of this palace are today used for exhibitions of the Bratislava City Museum. The 55 metres deep castle well is on the courtyard of the middle castle. Near the well is also a terrace with view of the abandoned amphitheatre, the Danube and the mountain Braunsberg in Austria.
In the wonderful setting above the bicolour confluence of the Danube and Morava, an elegant tower with battlements stands out. It is the Virgin tower. A bridge over a moat and stairs lead to the top platform with remnants of a guard tower from the 13th century rebuilt in the 15th century with panoramic view of the surroundings.
Performances of historic fencing are organised during tourist season. Visitors can also try throwing the javelin or axe or shooting of bow. Boats leave for Bratislava or Hainburg in Austria from a small port situated below the castle. A short boat trip up the river Morava is also possible.
Access: by car and public transport below the castle, by boat from Bratislava and Hainburg to the port Devín, then walking about 15 minutes

source: slovakia.travel


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