Krásna Hôrka – castle

History

   The castle was built by the Mariássy family at the end of the 13th century. The first written mention of Krásna Hôrka comes from 1333 on the occasion of property disputes between the Bebeks and Mariássy. In 1352, through the exchange of goods, the Bebeks took over the castle, and ruled it until 1565. In the 16th century, expanded and fortified Krásna Hôrka played the role of a fortress on the Turkish border. It was rebuilt first in the renaissance style, and then in the baroque style. The latter were already carried out by representatives of the Andrássy family, who had hereditarily held Krásna Hôrka since 1642, thanks to the loyality to the Habsburg dynasty. Until the fire in 1817, the castle was inhabited. In the following years it was rebuilt and the last owner Dionisi Andrássy changed it into an ancestral museum. From 1906, it was made available to the public. In 1945, it was confiscated by the Czechoslovak authorities and in 1961 raised to the rank of a monument of national culture.

Architecture

   Originally a medieval castle consisted of a four-sided tower at the highest point of the hill with dimensions of 10.5 x 9 meters and at least three floors. The thickness of its walls exceeded 2 meters, and the height of 10 meters. The internal dimensions were 5.7 x 5.5 meters, which made possible to perform a residential function. The lowest were the pantries, the guard room above them, and above the lords chamber. A defensive wall creating the small courtyard adjoined the tower from west.
  
In the middle of the fourteenth century, the Bebeks added a large, stone rectangular building and the whole was surrounded by a defensive wall with a gatehouse tower. The southern palace was separated by a narrow passage from the tower-keep, and its western part was far beyond the area of the original defensive walls. The entrance portal to the palace was on the south-east side and was preceded by a drawbridge. The main gate to the castle was located in the north-west corner. In the northern part of the courtyard a well was carved in the rock, necessary for the daily functioning of the castle’s inhabitants.
  
In this form, the castle has survived to the mid-sixteenth century, when the gothic stronghold was surrounded by a new line of walls on a plan similar to a triangle. In this way, an middle castle was built with three cylindrical towers in the corners. The highest was the southern tower, which ruled over the road leading to the castle. During this period, the western part of the palace from the beginning of the 14th century was raised, giving it a tower-like form. The new entrance gate was located to the south of the northern tower. It was preceded by a drawbridge over the ditch, and between the entrance portal and the northern tower there was an elongated building with a gate passage. At the tower, the road turned and led east through a narrow passage between the defensive wall and the base of the upper castle rock, to a small courtyard on the south-eastern side, which overlooked the entrance portal of the upper palace.
   The buildings of the lower castle on the south and the outer wall of zwinger on the east developed at the latest. Behind it, a terrace was created where cannons could be placed, while a corner of the wall was secured by a small cylindrical tower.

Current state

   The castle has survived to modern times and is considered one of the best kept in Slovakia, although over the centuries it has been rebuilt several times and partially lost its original appearance. The castle has an exhibition of the Betliar Museum, which documents the history and building development of the castle as well as the lifestyle of the old nobility. The castle kitchen and the weapon collection are particularly interesting. At present, the castle is closed until further notice, due to reconstruction after a fire.

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