SK: Spissky Castle, Monumental Beauty – VIDEO
Spis Castle is a very well preserved ruin. You can see it from afar. No wonder we see the castle on coins, images in books, or at postcards. It is something like a symbol of Slovakia. Therefore, we simply couldn’t miss it on our journey across the country.
We sat in our car on one lovely day. Our destination would be Spissky Castle. Right at the foot of this great work of human craft is a car park. Climbing to the entrance gate is steep but short. We bought tickets and thus were free to explore castle’s history.
It dates back to the 12th century , to the year 1120 (the first written evidence). Then was truly bulking up. A huge fortification, two-floored palace, cylinder tower and other structures were built. A Slavic settlement was present here and Celtic before that. Archeological diggings found out even traces dating to Paleolite and presnejšie od roku 1120 (prvá písomná zmienka), kedy postupne jeho výstavba začala naberať na mohutnosti. Vzniklo rozsiahle opevnenie, dvojposchodový palác, valcová veža a ďalšie stavebné diela. Vieme, že pred písomne doloženým vznikom hradu sa tu nachádzalo Slovanské osídlenie, ešte skôr Keltské a dokonca archeologické nálezy dokumentujú aj osídlenia z neolitu či konečného paleolitu. Keď to celé zhrnieme, história miesta súčasného hradu siaha od 5. tisícročia pred Kristom po dnešok. A to je už slušný časový úsek.
The first grassy courtyard (the bottom courtyard) made us realize why this place is so popular. Perhaps, the reason lays in the 200-meter travertine hill the peak of which is at 634 meters. It creates an unconquerable place, as well as a great vantage point, in combination with mighty rocks. The castle is a perfect example of historical development of architecture. Also, it is important regarding the number of important historical events and personalities. For instance, Bela IV, Matej Korvin, Jan Zapolsky, Alexander Turza etc.
We wont dig deep into the history. Rather, we tell you more about the present. Today, the castle is in a conserved state and also renovated. You can see bottom courtyard surrounded with walls. There is the so called Jiskrova Fortress which was a captain’s residence. Then move to the middle-castle with the main gate. It is there where you can see presentations of medieval craft and buy some sort of medieval souvenir. If you manage to get away from beautiful contemporary items then you will get to the upper castle, the most-preserved part of the whole complex. Things you can see there include preserved walls of a palace and other residential buildings, and a defense tower. You will see there a renaissance arcade corridor. It used to connect Gothic palaces, chapel and defense chapters of the castle. Today, there is exhibition of weapons and archeological findings. On other place at the castle, you can see a torture chamber, medieval kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, or armory. A fifteen-century Gothic chapel, St Elizabeth of Hungary chapel is also worth a visit. Sermons are still served in the chapel.
We had enjoyed the tour in the castle for hours. There was still something to look at. Since 1993, the castle, nearby town of Levoca and other sights around (Zehra, Spisska Kapitula etc.) have been part of the UNESCO world heritage list. The castle rock itself was once declared a nature sight and its of European-level importance.
Upon seeing the castle, we had to walk around its surroundings. We will tell you about it some other time. Spissky Castle is rightfuly one of the best attractions in Slovakia. Everyone in the country should see it.
Text: Oskár Mažgút
Video and photo: Jozef Dovičin
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