Levice – castle

History

   The castle was built in the second half of the 13th century, by the most convenient route from the south to mining towns. It was mentioned for the first time in 1274 as castrum Lewa. In 1318 Levice fell into the hands of Matthew Csák, later forming an important link in the system of castles belonging to him. In 1321, the stronghold returned to the king and remained the property of Elizabeth of Poland, queen of Hungary, and later became the seat of Tekov zupan. In 1388, the property went into the hands of Tekov zupan, Ladislaus of Szarowica. His descendants took the Levice surname and acted as zupans until the family expired in 1553. Later, the castle returned to the king, and because of its military importance, the administrators were henceforth the crew commanders.
  
In the 16th century, in the face of the Turkish threat, the Levice castle was extended, becoming one of the main elements of anti-Turkish defense. In 1578, it endured the Ottoman siege. In the sixteenth century, it was still developed, taking into account the latest achievements of the art of fortification. Two great bastions were built, each of matched the size of a medieval castle. Nevertheless, in 1663, Levice surrendered to the Turks after a short resistance. A year later, the Austrian counteroffensive led to the defeat of the invaders at the Battle of Levice and recaptured the fortress. The damaged castle was immediately rebuilt.
  
In 1688 castle was bought by palatine Paul Esterhazy. His descendants remained the owners of the estate until 1867. In 1696, a great fire destroyed the city and fortresses. Because the war with Turkey was practically won, the imperial court
stint money on reconstruction. The destruction works were carried out in 1705 by Rakoczi’s insurgents, who after retreated, blew the castle.

Architecture

   The stronghold was erected on a rocky hill surrounded by swamps. Originally it consisted of perimeter walls, a four-sided residential building, possibly of a tower-like character and a defensive tower placed opposite. It had a semi-circular shape and was placed on the eastern side of the rock’s ridge. Below, to the west of them, there was another tower that had guard and residential functions. Near the rock on the north side there was also an annex in the shape of a square tower, covering the descent to the castle’s well. To the east of the castle rock, a cylindrical tower was built, yet in the Middle Ages period. Similar were erected on the western and northern sides of the northern outer bailey. The southern outer bailey was occupied by the so-called Captain’s House, established in the second half of the sixteenth century.

Current state

   The ruins of the medieval castle were preserved in the 70s of the twentieth century in the form of a ruin. Unfortunately, it was done in such a way that currently there is no way to enter their area. The most important part of the ruins remains the gothic upper castle with the remains of a residential house and two towers.

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