The castle in Jelšava first appeared in documents in 1243, but probably existed before the Mongol invasion. It was founded on the royal initiative, probably in order to protect valuable mining areas. In 1271 it was already abandoned. The second castle in Jelšava was built by the Ratoldovce family, two kilometers west of the town, probably at the end of the 14th century. It was mentioned for the first time in sources in 1421. In the fifteenth century, the army of John Jiskra, Polish soldiers and bratrzyk rebels operated in the vicinity of the town. In 1453, the castle was described as ruined, but in 1461 it was already referred to as a castellum, so it was probably repaired. According to the list of 1573, it was again ruined.
The castle was erected on an oblong hill and adapted to the terrain. Its main element was a four-sided tower measuring 10 x 10 meters, located in the western part of the ridge. Its walls were 2.5 meters thick, so the spacious interiors could provide a living space. From the north and south sides of the tower ran a defensive wall, which enclosed an approximately rectangular courtyard, closed additionally with one or two transverse walls, in which the gates were placed. The entrance to the castle was from the north-eastern side and was preceded by a timber bridge over a dry moat. An additional defense was provided by a small tower in the south-eastern curtain of the wall. At a later stage of development, an additional residential building was added at the tower.
The castle has not survived to modern times.
Bóna M., Plaček M., Encyklopedie slovenských hradů, Praha 2007.
Wasielewski A., Zamki i zamczyska Słowacji, Białystok 2008.