Dobrá Voda – castle


   The castle was built between the 60s of the 13th century and the end of that century, on a rocky ledge on one of the roads passing through the ridge of the Little Carpathians, on the initiative of Aba, the founder of the Hlohovec branch of the mighty Abovec (Aba) family. It was mentioned for the first time in written sources in 1316. At that time it was managed by castellan Štěpán, subordinate of the župan Mikuláš. It can be assumed that in the following years the castle was captured by the mighty Matthew III Csák, who was building his dominion in the lands of today’s western Slovakia. After his death in 1321, Dobrá Voda became the royal property of Charles I of Hungary. It is known that in 1354 a royal castellan was in the castle.
   In 1394 Sigismund of Luxembourg gifted castle to the Stibor of Stiborice, his closest and most influential adviser. The then castellan of the castle, however, took the side of the anti-royal opposition and in 1403 Stibor had to conquer the castle. From 1436, after the death of Stibor and his son, Dobrá Voda was already owned by the Országh family. They owned the castle until its extinction in 1567, extending it significantly during this period. After 1583, the works on the modernization of the castle were continued by the Erdődy family.
   During the uprising of Francis II Rákóczi in 1703, the castle was significantly damaged. After making repairs, unfortunately it burned down in 1762 and only the local prison remained in it. At the beginning of the 19th century it was completely abandoned and began to fall into ruin.


   The main part of the castle was made up of an elongated building situated at the highest point of the hill with a residential house and two four-sided towers located at its shorter sides. The eastern tower, 7.7 x 7.7 meters, was slightly older, the western tower was larger, 9.2 x 9.8 meters. The wall thickness of the towers varied in the ground floor from 1.9 to 2.5 meters, and the corners of western tower were reinforced with larger stones. The west tower was also distinguished by massive buttresses, which also strengthened the central building from the north. In addition to defensive, both towers also had residential functions, although it is not known whether this was their purpose from the very beginning.
   Until the mid-fourteenth century, the top of the hill was surrounded by a solid defensive wall, leading to the eastern prominent rock promontory. Its three-sided ending would indicate the functioning of a building there, perhaps a castle chapel or defensive structure, because the valley at the base of the promontory was the access road to the castle. A small, four-sided tower certainly served a defensive function in the northern wall. The well was also important for the day-to-day life of the castle, placed in the wall bend at the eastern tower.
   The original gate to the castle led from the west, through the outer bailey fortified in the first half of the 15th century. The entrance to it was provided by a wooden bridge, necessary due to the slightly lower location of the western ward from the upper part of the castle. The entrance to the castle was placed in a corner four-sided gatehouse, flanked by a slightly later semi-cylindrical tower, already adapted for the use of firearms. The gatehouse of the west ward was equipped with a drawbridge, and since the 16th century an elongated foregate, sloping down a gentle hillside towards the south-east and ended with a small tower open from the inside.
   In the second half of the 16th century, due to the lack of space for economic buildings, the southern bailey was erected along with two semi-circular cannon towers, protruding strongly in front of the southern part of the perimeter wall. Perhaps the third, smaller tower was at the entrance gate on the west side. The outer zone of defense was a ditch and a rampart made of clay. The residential development was then increased by a southern building at the upper castle. The western and southern outer bailey served economic functions, there was also a small chapel on the latter.

Current state

   The castle is in ruin today. The building has preserved the circumference of the defensive walls of the upper castle, the eastern and western part of the outer baileys, and partly the southern one. From the towers of the upper castle, single walls survived only. Entrance to the castle is free.

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Bóna M., Plaček M., Encyklopedie slovenských hradů, Praha 2007.
Stredoveké hrady na Slovensku. Život, kultúra, spoločnosť, red. D.Dvořáková, Bratislava 2017.

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