Bytča – castle

History

The primal medieval castle belonging to the Nitra bishopric was established in the 13th century. Over the following centuries, it changed the owners several times. In 1563, Francis Thurzo bought the castle with nearby goods, from whose initiative in the years 1571 – 1574 a renaissance, quadrangular complex was built on the site of a gothic building. Some time later, the residence in Bytča, next to the Orava castle, became one of the main seats of the Thurzo family. At the beginning of the 17th century, the entire complex was enlarged with a new building. It was the Wedding Palace in which weddings of all daughters of Francis George Thurzo were organized. In 1624, the estate in Bytča was taken over by members of the magnate family Esterhazy, and in 1686 it was bought by the Poppers. At the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, the famous Slovakian and Polish national hero, the highwayman Juraj Jánošík, was staying in the castle, as a prison guard, who then met with a prisoner Tomáš Uhorčík. That is probably why the robbery story of Jánošík began in Bytča.

Architecture

The first gothic castle probably had the form of a residential and defensive tower. Renaissance castle from the sixteenth century consisted of four wings of buildings with an arcaded courtyard in the middle and massive, cylindrical towers in the corners. The central entrance led through a six-story tower in the north wing. In the eastern part of the castle there was a so-called a great hall, intended for meetings during the palatinate of Juraj Thurzo. In the northern wing there was a castle treasury, which the Esterházy family later changed into a chapel.

Current state

Currently, the castle houses the State Archives in Bytča, while the Wedding Palace belongs to the Považsky Museum in Žilina. At the end of 2009, the castle was re-opened for tourists after the renovation, but due to the fact that its seats have various types of state institutions, only part of its interior is open to the public.

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bibliography:
Wasielewski A., Zamki i zamczyska Słowacji, Białystok 2008.