SK, Liptovsky Hradok – Small Yet Beautiful Town
After our visit in Kalameny village we remain in the Liptov region. We move couple of kilometers to the smallest town of Liptov. It is rich, however, on natural, cultural and historical sights. The town we talk about is Liptovsky Hradok.
We didn’t even anticipate a town lying in the east part of Liptovska Basin would offer so many things. The history of Liptovsky Hradok dates back to 1316. Then a settlement called Belsko was there. The first information about the so called New castle appear in 1341. Significant step forward happened on the turn of the 19th century. Its location near forest, iron ore mining, and trade made the area so significant it was given the statut of a town. We cannot forget that other significant professions flourished there such as beekeeping, raft-making, fishery, and other crafts. These put significant drive to the progress in the city. Of course, today these crafts are much less significant. Today, tourism has became an important industry and we found good reasons for that.
Liptovsky Hradok has a castle and a chateau, the first forester road in the former Kingdom of Hungary, the highest located arboretum in Central Europe, the Salt and Copper bureau structure, remains of a blast furnace, the first building of Slovakian Agricultural School, iron crosses which honor a no more existent iron works, the Museum of National History, Jewish cemetery, classicist church, or protected lime alley along which a chapel is located. Dovalovo, is a district of the town. It has many structures of upper-liptovska architecture style. Main sights here are two churches (an evangelical and catholic). Their have traces of unique features given by Liptov masons so to see their work you don’t have to travel to Budapest. So this go for historical sights.
Even in Liptovsky Hradok you can enjoy beautiful nature. For instance, at the meeting point of the Bela and Vah rivers. Or you can see one of natural thermal springs. Those who love sports can try rafting, skiing, climbing, fishing, or hunting game – of course under supervision.
Unfortunately, we had only little time to see the town. We saw re-established pedestrian zone with stores from the beginning of the world. Next we walked to the castle with a lake adjacent to it. A rock sticks out at one place. St John the Baptist chapel stands on it. The castle was built in the 14th century by the governor of Zvolen Donc. The castle was surrounded with a water moat. The lake is what remained of it. Often the castle had had new owners. Gradually it was renovated. During the years 1601 and 1603, a chateau and other buildings were built next to the castle. Fortune, however, is unstable thing. In 1803, the castle burned down by a large fire. Only the chateau was renovated and the castle was left to decay. This changed in 2001. The whole compound was bought by a private owner who built there a hotel with a restaurant and wellness services. Today, only hotel guests can enter it, or for a small fee for the general public upon agreement with the staff.
The best vantage point that has the best view of the town is near the castle. This natural cliff is called Skalka. A forest path leads up to the top. Five minutes of walk gets you to an adjusted top. There, except for an observation platform, you can see Slovakian double cross. A navigation table with the names of the mountains and their heights is placed on the rail. From here, you can not only see Liptovsky Hradok but also its surroundings which includes the West Tatras and partly also High Tatras.
From the said cliff, you can watch an old bridge covered with grass. The history of the bridge is bloody. This bridge doesn’t hang on steel cables but steel twigs inside it support it. This wouldn’t be anything special unless its span of 55 meters. It is a double of similar bridges around the world. The bridge was built in 1941 according Hitler’s plans which were not fulfilled, fortunately. Later, the Germans intended to blow it up. A guerilla group prevented them to do it. 11 people were killed because of the bridge. It is a pity that today this unique bridge is so much neglected.
Liptovsky Hradok is worth staying at for a longer time. This time, however, we cannot do that which gives us another reason to visit the town again. We were very happy about our choice to see this place.
GPS: 49°02'44.3"N 19°43'57.0"E (castle)
Text and photo: Oskar Mažgút
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