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SVK: The Ruins Of Lietava Castle

Published: 16.6.2011
Extensive ruin of Lietava Castle is to be found at the border of Sulov Hills and Rajčianka-torrent Valley. The ruins are situated between Žilina and Rajecké Teplice, inside cadastre of the community of the same name (Lietava). It is popular place, visited by tourists. They are rewarded, after their mounting upstairs, with marvelous outlook around surrounded countryside.

Lietava is ranked with most extensive castle ruins within scope of Slovakia.

How it was with the castle in past?

According to non-confirmed affirmations, Lietava Castle was founded on a place, where, within ancient Slavonic times, a place of sacrifice of Lada Goddess was situated. The first notice about this King´s Castle is related to 1318. So, it is to be assumed that the castle was established at the beginning of 14th century, and was probably in possession of Matuš Čák Trenčiansky. After his dead in 1321, the castle was transferred to hands of Charles, a monarch of that time, and his son Ludovit (Louis). They leased it to Bebek Parentage, and used it for the whole century, when the Parentage died out. Later, during the second half of 15th century, the castle came into hands of Jan Zapolsky. At the beginning of 16th century, this person let it have it to Nicolas Kostka, castle leader. Consequently, Frank Thurzo married his daughter Barbra. He let to extend the building and fortificated new second barbican. He also let to reconstruct all existing buildings, and so, the castle obtained a touch of Renaissance style. However, when Thurzo Parentage died out, bad times came. It is a fact that, from the beginning, all four legal inheritors looked after the castle together, but, after certain time period, they were unable to come into understanding, and finally, they stopped to keep the building in good condition. The castle remained uninhabited, the rooms served for archives only. Anyway, later, within 1760-1770, all documents, kept there, were transferred to Orava Castle. Castle spaces were never used for similar purposes, and so, the building fell into ruins.

Actual Face of the Castle

Nowadays, relatively preserved ruins of the castle are arising proudly above surrounding countryside. If you visit the ruins at favourable weather conditions, you can enjoy, except castle rests, very nice outlook. The parts of walls of each castle objects were well preserved till now. So, you can see the original entry gate, at pushed in front of Renaissance fortification, or, for instance, loop-holes in both low courtyards. You can also recognize relatively well preserved fortification and the buildings placed in low part of the castle. On many walls, there were preserved the holes after entries and windows. The castle nucleus is formed with rests of palace buildings, as well as partially preserved space of former chapel. Here, you can partially recognize stone groins of Gothic style, and even interesting rests of original rough-casting. Nevertheless, the rescue and conservation of this important cultural monument is looked after by Lietava Castle Rescue Association.

How to get there?

If you make an excursion there, you can choose from two access ways. The first one is directed from the north, from Lietava. From Lietava-Majer bus station, (at the altitude of 395 metres above sea level) you follow blue marked tourist trail, leading you along wide hillside towards Cibulnik Rocky Range, situated in an altitude of 633 metres above sea level. From crossroad on the top, it is not too distant to the castle. The estimated time period of this pleasant and easy walking tour (which could be overcome, without problems, also by children) is to be taken for 45 minutes approx. The second access way to castle ruins leads, following green marked tourist trail, from community centre of Lietavska Svinná (situated in an altitude of 420 metres above sea level). On hill-top, close to castle ruin, both markings are meeting, so you follow blue marked trail, which leads you to your target. The estimated time period for this second route is 15 minutes shorter as in case of the first route. The castle ruins are open for public, free of charge, all year round. Attention, please, would you take into consideration that, visiting this interesting locality, you have to think over your own safety, and of course, the safety of your children, as the entry to the castle is permitted for your own risk only.

Text/photo: O. Kubáčková

Translation: ing. Jan Jonáš 


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