Čachtice - Slovakia
In surroundings of the community of Čachtice, in southwest Slovakia, there are arising ruins of secret Čachtice castle.
Shortest way to the castle leads from the community of Višňová. You can choose from two routes for mounting there. The first one, marked with green tourist signs, passes from parking place at south end of the village. The route ascends along south slope of castle hill up to its gate. On the other hand, the second way heads for north edge of Višňová village, following yellow marked tourist path. You have to cross a bridge over the river, cross the road and climb through steep valley upstairs. Motorists have the possibility to drive along asphalted road from Čachtice up to parking place located nearby the castle. You can be sure that circle view from romantic ruins of Čachtice castle (375 m) is really unique. In north, you can admire picturesque countryside of Myjava Highlands with White Carpathian Mountains including Velká Javorina in backround. In western direction, you can see Bradlo Hill with Branč Castle. On southern and eastern directions, there is appearing Považský Inovec and Váh-river Valley.
Nevertheless, none castle in Slovakia is connected with so many stories and legends as just Čachtice Castle. Archive documents mention Čachtice community just in 1263 as belongings of Nitra Castle.The necessity to secure a safety of a border with Bohemian Kingdom, led even here to the construction of stone fortification (citadela), the nucleus of which was built in 1273. Matthias Cak, Stibor and Michael Orszagh became owners of the castle in question. Anyway, their inheritors had the castle in possession till 1567. Afterthat, the castle bought Ursula Kaniszai. Later, the dominion was changed with Emperor Maxmilian II., and she reminned to sty in Kanisza Castle. So, in 1604, the castle was taken in her administration (in name of her six years old son and daughters) widow Elizabeth Bathory. Nevertheless, the notices inform that she stayed very often in Sarvar, or in castles of Leka and Kerezstur, or she lived temporarily in her dominion of Ecsed or in her palaces located in Bratislava and Vienna. She stayed in Čachtice Castle occasionally, from time to time. When we take into consideration the whole history of Čachtice Castle, so her effect here played a small episode only. So, many machinations, dedicated to those noble-woman could be probably fiction of Ladislav Thuroczy, Jesuit priest. He wrote a story about acts of „Čachtice Lady“ in his work „Ungaria suis cum Regibus compendia data“, issued in 1729 in the town of Trnava.
At present, there is, thanks to film and literature works, this woman well known under nick-name „Bloody Countess“. She is not connected with horror-terrible stories only, but there are narrated many smiling stories and legends. After Elizabeth Bathory´s death, Čachtice dominion was divided among her son Paul and her daughter Catherine, married George Drugeth. However, in 1671, there was executed Paul´s son, Frank II Nadasdy, country judge. He belonged to main representatives of anti-Habsburg Wesselenyi conspiracy. His property was confiscated, and in 1695 handed over by King´s Chamber to the next owner. At the beginning of 18th century (during period of Rakoczi anti-Habsburg uprising), the castle became a seat of dislocated crew of Emperor´s soldiers. At that time, the castle was very damaged, and served as a jail for certain time-period. However, later, in 1799, the castle was completely burnt out, and so, it was deserted shotly afterthat.
Nucleus of the fortification is formed with rampart closed space, with rest of unusual five-cornered tower. This construction was situated, with corner-wedge, against the only access entrance. On its eastern part, the fortification was added with long inhabitated part, and on western side, quite well distinguished rectangular palace. In its northwest corner, the defence was reinforced with additionaly constructed horse-shoe bastion, where the chapel was established. The fortification was strengthened by double parkan wall, the fragments of which are visible on several places of upper castle. On its northern part, the castle area is enlarged with the first barbican, containing signs of farfmers´ buildings. The castle was equipped with the second barbican, this was working in time-periods, when the castle was menaced by Ottomans. The courtyard is accessible by a gate, where led the bridge, over neck moat.
Most popular starting point as well as a stop, within your walk to Čachtice Castle, there is, no doubt, the community of Čachtice, located below the castle. You can find here Renaissance castle of 17th century, where there is situated educational exposition of Trenčín Museum, specialised for history of Čachtice and environs. Except of primeval archaeological findings, there is to be found here small Čachtice Karst with many karst appearances and Čachtice cave, however, inaccessible. This cave is of crack character, and it was declared as preserved nature creation. It was created by chemical activity of water and forms intricated system in three kilometer long limestone-dolomite complex named Dropliaka. Čachtice Castle Hill, rising above Jablonka brook valley is very interesting, from naturalist point of view. On steep slopes, there plants vegetation with many preserved sorts of plants and presence of rare insects sorts.
Text: Denisa Arvajová
Photo: Google Earth
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