Branč – castle

History

The castle was built by master Aba from Hlohovec between 1251 and 1297 on a strategic place, allowing control of roads leading towards the Carpathian passes. It belonged to a chain of fortresses guarding the Hungarian-Czech border. In 1309 Matthew Csák took it, then for a short time it belonged to the king John of Bohemia. It was a period of frequent fighting on the borderland, during which the castle suffered. During the reconstruction, it was enlarged with a new residential house. In 1394, the stronghold was given to Stibor from Stiboríc from king Sigismund of Luxembourg, who strengthened the castle and secured it with a moat. After another period of unrest, in the 16th century it became the property of František Nyáry. His successors built an outer line of fortifications with towers and two bastions at the gate. The castle was a place of refuge for the local population during the Turkish threat, but was also a prison for Protestant clergy. In the 18th century, after the owners moved to more comfortable buildings, the castellan lived for a time in the castle, then the castle was abandoned and fell into disrepair.

Architecture

The oldest part of the castle was a 13th-century, square tower measuring 18.5 x 14 meters. In the fourteenth century, the castle received defensive walls on a rectangular plan with a height of about 3 meters, and the tower was slightly enlarged and rebuilt into a residential building. The castle was also enlarged with a new residential house on the west side and reinforced with a moat. In the 15th and at the beginning of the 16th century, a cannon tower  was built in the north-east corner, a four-sided south-west tower, and an outer belt of fortifications provided with cylindrical and semi-cylindrical towers and bastions. The entrance to the middle castle led through the four-sided gatehouse tower on the north-west side, and then across the bridge over the moat.

Current state

Currently, the castle is in the form of a poorly preserved ruin. Thanks to the survival of the lower parts of defensive walls and residential buildings, its layout is legible. Castle is available for sightseeing for a small fee.

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bibliography:
Bóna M., Plaček M., Encyklopedie slovenských hradů, Praha 2007.
Wasielewski A., Zamki i zamczyska Słowacji, Białystok 2008.