Most likely, your Slovak adventure starts in Bratislava, where the international airport and a railway junction are located. If you like history, you have probably seen the best castles in Western Slovakia already, so it is time to head east. In this story, I would like to introduce you to the best castles in the central part of Slovakia. Let´s walk in the footsteps of kings of Oravský Hrad, Trenčiansky Hrad, and Beckov Castle.
Oravský Hrad was built in 1241, and it is one of the main historical landmarks in Slovakia. It lies upon the hill in the Orava region in the northern part of Slovakia. Maybe that is why Oravský Hrad is called the “eagles nest”. The impressive castle has 154 rooms, and we can recognize the elements of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. The castle area consists of a complex of the lower, middle and upper Castle, and they are all connected by underground tunnels. The underground is associated with many legends that you will hear at the castle tour. Oravský Hrad is also known as a Slovak version of Dracula Castle, so this may be a hint for you. If you like scary stories, then join a night tour and get the ultimate adrenaline rush.
Trenčiansky Hrad is a castle above the town of Trenčín. The first record about the castle comes from the Roman Empire - 179BCE, which makes it probably the oldest castle in Slovakia. Trenčiansky Hrad was the home of the famous King Matúš Čák, so-called "Lord of the River Váh and the Tatra Mountains". Matúš Čák significantly influenced the regional history of today's Slovakia in the 13th and 14th centuries. He supported the formation of the new towns, and one of them was Trenčín. He also endorsed Slovak language independence (Slovakia was part of Hungary back then). Trenčiansky Hrad is among the biggest castles in Slovakia, but also in Europe. Most of the features of the castle are built in a gothic style and are very well preserved. Trenčiansky Hrad is located in the city center of Trenčín, easily accessible from Bratislava and other cities.
Beckov is a ruined castle in the Trenčín region. Before it was named Beckov, it was called "Bludište" from the Slavic word for “maze”. The castle and surroundings were like a maze, and it was easy to get lost in the area. Nowadays, it is named after the village Beckov, located close by, even though the legend says it is named after a mad man Becko who used to live in the castle. Castle was built in the 14th century and had a defensive purpose. Later on, in the 17th century, it was used as a prison, and after a big fire in the 18th century, the castle was left abandoned. Nowadays, the castle is renovated, and there are several exhibitions you can see. Beckov could be a lovely day-trip, especially for a younger audience since many of the exhibits are interactive and during weekends there is a special program for kids.
Have you ever imagined what was it like to live in a castle? Slovakia is a country of many castles, from different periods. You can use your fantasy and walk in the footsteps of kings. Visit the best castles in Central Slovakia and experience your personal fairy tale.
Cover Photo © credits to iStock/TomasSereda
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