The Lednica castle was built in the middle of the 13th century to protect the border areas of the Kingdom of Hungary. For the first time, it was indirectly mentioned in 1259, when Marek from Lednice appeared. It was royal property, briefly occupied by the magnate Matthew III Csák, but restored to the royal domain after his death in 1321.
At the end of the fourteenth century, the castle passed into private hands and repeatedly changed owners, until at the beginning of the fifteenth century Sigismund of Luxemburg gave it as a pledge to the brothers Sobek and Matej Biliks from Silesian Kornice. In the years 1432-1434 it was in the hands of the Hussites, and after the suppression of their movement, it was taken over by the Podmaniec family, which, however, had to conduct numerous property disputes with other families claiming their right to Lednica. The two last representatives of this family, brothers John and Rafael, were bandits condemned to death, but ultimately were pardoned thanks to the support given to the Habsburgs during the civil war. After Rafael’s death in 1558, the castle fell to the Hungarian ruler, who quickly sold it to Imrich Telekessy. One of the subsequent owners, Michael Telekessy, was less fortunate and was hanged in 1601 for robberies and rapes.
In 1616, the castle was taken over by George Rakoczi, who enlarged the stronghold by adding a outer bailey. During the conquest of the imperial army, over the uprising of Francis II Rakoczi, the castle suffered serious damages. Although rebuilt, at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries it was abandoned and fell into disrepair.
The castle was built on the north-eastern side of the rock ridge. It was a lower place, but the rocky peaks of the hill were practically inaccessible and did not pose a threat to Lednica. The castle was divided into three parts: it consisted of a 50 x 18 meter rectangular upper part, a high rock observation tower and the youngest outer ward with a triangular shape in the plan. It was surrounded by a defensive wall, and in the courtyard there were wooden crew housing, a smithy, a coach house and stables.
The entrance to the upper castle led through a nearly 10-meter long and 1.3-meter wide tunnel carved into the rock. The passage led to a small courtyard of which on the eastern side stood the main residential house of the castle. The oldest element of the castle also included a small tower measuring 5 x 6 meters placed above the tunnel, and the whole was connected by a defensive wall 2 meters thick, placed just above the rocky cliffs. In the second phase of expansion, but probably still in the fourteenth century, a second residential building was erected on the west side of the courtyard. At the top of the rock stood another observation tower to which 80 steps carved out of rock led, secured by a wooden porch.
In the fifteenth century, the eastern house was enlarged, occupying a significant part of the courtyard, and two projections were created, one from the north and one from the east. The eastern, older one was leaning on a rock on a pillar. The main building and a western house were also covered with barrel vaults. In the second half of the 15th century, a rounded foregate was erected in front of the tunnel gate. The outer ward itself could have been built already in the 15th century, but in the next century it was significantly rebuilt. The late work in the outer ward is evidenced by the lack of a ditch.
The castle has been preserved in a state of ruin with a clear spatial layout. After completion of renovation and rescue works in recent years, it has been made available for sightseeing. The castle gates are open on working days from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm, on weekends and public holidays from 13:00 to 18:00. The visit season ends on October 29. In the case of rainy weather, the castle is also closed to visitors.
Bóna M., Plaček M., Encyklopedie slovenských hradů, Praha 2007.
Wasielewski A., Zamki i zamczyska Słowacji, Białystok 2008.