Kremnica – town castle

History

   In the first half of thirteenth century, a romanesque church and a charnel house were erected on the castle hill, which probably in the second half of the 13th century were surrounded by a ring of the defensive wall. After the foundation of the town and setting up the mint in 1328, the administrator of royal estates was located in the city. He became the head of the so-called The Mining Chamber, covering the area of the 12 Upper Hungary counties. On behalf of the king he managed the mines, supervised the extraction and transport of ore and was responsible for the quality of the minted coins. As most of the mined gold and silver was flowing through Kremnica, this important place needed special protection. Therefore, in the first half of the fourteenth century, the hill with the church received new, stronger fortifications. A town hall was also built within the stronghold, and at the end of the fourteenth century, in relation with the development of Kremnica, the church of St. Catherine and a second strip of the defensive wall were erected.
  
The Kremnica castle was one of those strongholds that were never captured. However, in 1560 it was destroyed by fire, after which repair work had to be carried out. Since 1660, the entire castle complex was dedicated to sacred functions, which rebuilt one of the towers, the so-called Small Tower Unfortunately, the 19th century reconstruction, due to damage caused by earthquakes, led to the reduction of the castle walls and the town hall building.

Architecture

   Originally, in the second half of the thirteenth century, the castle consisted of a single ring of the defensive wall, only about 1 meter thick with a centrally located church of St. Catherine. In the first half of the fourteenth century, a new, thicker defensive wall was erected on the old fortifications, surrounding an internal space measuring approximately 55 x 70 meters. In addition, at the end of the fourteenth century, the castle was secured by an external, lower wall circuit.
   The entrance gate in the first half of the fourteenth century was located from the north in a four-sided tower with three floors. Originally it was one floor lower, the highest one was added after the fire in 1560. The passage led through a drawbridge over the moat. From the west side there was a four-sided Small Tower, also called the Clock Tower. Established in the mid-thirteenth century, initially was two stories lower. One floor was added in the fourteenth century, and another in the seventeenth century. From the eastern side, the defense of the outer wall was provided by the Miners’ Tower or Banská Tower, the only one erected on a semi-circle plan. When in the 15th century the former church was turned into an official’s building, a chapel was arranged in the tower. It was a presbytery, and from the west a nave was added, which was liquidated after restoring sacral functions to the church of St. Catherine. The last tower was from the south. It was erected in front of the perimeter of the second wall and equipped with a gate passage out towards the town. The tower was connected to the gate in the main perimeter by a corridor with stairs. In the fifteenth century, the fortifications of the castle were connected to the town’s defensive walls.
   On the southern side, in the first half of the 14th century, a town hall was located within the castle walls, which also served as defensive functions. It protruded beyond the defensive perimeter and at first could have a form similar to the tower. On the north side, right next to the gate tower, a romanesque charnel house of St. Michael was situated, since 1430 dedicated to Saint Andrew. Originally it was included in the oldest fortifications from the second half of the 13th century.

Current state

   The double ring of castle walls has been preserved almost entirely, with only a small break in the eastern part of the inner wall. Unfortunately, during the nineteenth-century reconstruction was reduced by 1-2 meters. The castle towers also survived and partly the town hall in the form of basements and ground floor with gothic portals and window frames. The castle is part of the town museum. Opened between 9-12 and 13-16.30, every day except Mondays. On its premises, there are exhibitions of bell-founding, archeology and militaria.

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