Modrý Kameň – castle

History

   Modry Kamień was built by the Balass family in 1271-1277. Probably, however, already in 12th century was a wooden stronghold here, razed to the ground during the Mongol invasion. In a written mention from 1285, the then owner of the castle, Peter Forró, was mentioned. After his death, the stronghold was taken over by the sons of Kazimir from the powerful Hunt-Poznanski family, but already in 1290 the castle was recaptured by Peters’s siblings and remained in the Balass family until the 19th century. A short break was only the period of reigns of Matthew III Csák, the magnate ruling in the early fourteenth century the areas of today’s western Slovakia. However, after his death in 1321, the king returned Modrý Kameň to the rightful owners.
  
In 1575, due to the crew’s escape, the castle was captured by Turkish troops. They owned the castle until 1593, when they succumbed to the attacks of Mikuláš Pálfyho and Krištof Tiefenbach. Before they retreated, however, they set fire and blew up the stronghold. In the years 1609-1612, the castle was rebuilt and enlarged by Zygmunt Balaša. In the next war with Turkey in 1659, the castle was destroyed again.
  
In 1683, it was conquered by the rebel armies of Imrich Tököl and was seriously damaged. The damage was not repaired by the owners and the upper, gothic part of the castle has been in ruins since then. In 1730 Gabriel Balaša built a baroque palace in the lower part of the castle, and in 1759 a chapel dedicated to Saint Anne. After the extinction of the Balaša family in 1899, the property was taken over by the Almášiov family. The last owner of the castle was duchess Almášiov, who in 1923 sold the entire estate to the Czechoslovak state.

Architecture

   The oldest upper castle consisted of the main tower and defensive walls with an oval shape and dimensions of about 46 x 32 meters. Alongside them, residential and commercial buildings were located. The gate was placed in the wall bent on the eastern side, there was also the oldest residential building. On the north side, an additional protection was the lower, external defensive wall, on this side also extends the outer ward, transformed in the seventeenth century into a lower castle consisting of a large courtyard surrounded by a wall in a rectangular shape and reinforced with two bastions.

 

Current state

   Currently in the palace, whose walls coincide with the course of the walls of the lower castle, is a seat of a museum of toys. The preserved ruins of the upper castle are located on the other side of the palace’s courtyard. The castle is open in May-October from 9.00-17.00, and in the remaining months from 8.00-15.00.

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