Čachtice – castle

History

   The castle, aimed at protecting the Hungarian border, was built in the first half of the 13th century. In 1273, the fortress was conquered and damaged by the Czech king Ottokar II of Bohemia. The first written mention of the building dates back to 1276. Then the stronghold was under the temporary control of the Hungarian magnate, Matthew Csák. From 1392, the castle was ruled by Stibor of Stiboricz, then the owners often changed.
  
In the fifteenth century, the stronghold was expanded, and in 1569 passed into the hands of the Nádasdy family. Francis Nádasdy gave the castle to his wife, Elizabeth Báthory, who lived there permanently after her husband’s death in 1604. The new owner, niece of the Polish king Stefan Báthory, has recorded in history as a supposed sadist murderess and is sometimes referred to as a “vampire from Transylvania”, because in the years 1604-1610 many women were killed in the residence. After the trial, Elizabeth was imprisoned in 1611 and walled behind a wall with an opening on one of the towers, where she died in 1614. During the rule of the Bloody Countess, the castle was rebuilt in the renaissance style.
  
During the anti-Habsburg uprising, the fortress was captured by the army of Francis II Rákóczi in 1708, transformed into a prison and destroyed around 1715. After this event, it was not rebuilt anymore.

Architecture

   The oldest part of the castle was the southern, corner tower and a small courtyard, surrounded by a defensive wall, at the highest point of the castle’s rock. The tower was in the shape of a pentagon with a spur turned towards the expected greatest threat. It also had residential functions.
  
In the times of Stibor of Stiboricz, on the north-east side of the walls, a new tower was built on the plan of the horseshoe, in which the middle floor was occupied by the chapel. This tower was probably supposed to additionally increase the control on the road leading to the entrance gate. On the north side of the castle, a large courtyard was created, which in time became a middle ward. In the next century, another courtyard of the lower ward was created on the eastern and southern sides with a far-reaching entry gate. In the middle and lower wards there were residential buildings for the crew and service, stables, kitchen, warehouses. The road to the upper ward led through a semicircle through both wards. An additional protection was provided by the moat along the western wall.

Current state

   The castle is preserved in the form of a ruin with a readable upper, middle and lower part, and a dominant in the form of a horseshoe tower. The oldest pentagonal tower of the upper ward has also been partially preserved. After recent revitalization works, the castle is open to the public.

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