Ostrý Kameň – castle


   The castle (Hungarian Élskö, German Scharfenstein) was built at the end of the 13th century from the royal initiative to protect the so-called Bohemian Road, that is the trade route from Buda to the Bohemia, and more specifically the passage through the Little Carpathians between the settlement of Trstín and Prievaly, which was also guarded by the nearby Korlátka Castle.
   Ostrý Kameň remained in the hands of Hungarian kings until 1366, when Louis I gifted it to the castellan Nicholas from Sucza, and in 1394 to Stibor of Stiboricz. After the death of his son in 1434, it returned to the royal domain, but from the middle of the 15th century it was handed over to noble families, which changed frequently over the next two centuries. Since 1496 for a long time Ostrý Kameň was held by the Czobor family.
   Along with the improvement of relations between Hungary and the Bohemia, the castle lost its military significance, serving for some time as a toll collection point from merchants. It was garrisoned for the last time by the imperial army during the uprising of Francis II Rákóczi at the beginning of the 18th century. After its fall, it passed into the hands of the Palffy family, who eventually abandoned the neglected castle in the second half of 18th century.


   The castle was situated on a high hill, which rocky ridge spread along the longer sides on the east-west line. This provided excellent defensive conditions on three sides, with the only convenient access road leading from the east. The original castle consisted of a square gate tower measuring 8.5 x 9 meters and an L-shaped residential house (28.5 x 11 meters). It had three rooms in the ground floor. The entrance to the tower was placed quite high and a timber ramp led to it, so there was no need to dig a ditch.
In the second half of the fourteenth century, an outer ward was added, separated by an irregular perimeter of the defensive walls with rounded corners. In his courtyard, economic buildings and stables were erected, arranged in two houses on the east and west. The gate was placed in the eastern part of the courtyard and preceded by a small foregate. It consisted of a larger gate portal for horses and carts and a smaller pedestrian wicket, flanked by a wedge-shaped protrusion of the wall, later transformed into a tower. There was a drawbridge leading to the foregate, over the cut in rock ditch.
   In the first half of the fifteenth century, in connection with the development of firearms, further fortifications were erected in front of the castle. Their main element was a massive cylindrical cannon tower, which stood east of the outer ward, initially perhaps as a free-standing building, or at least not connected by a stone wall. Next to it, another ditch was carved in the rock, through which a wooden bridge was probably placed, leading to the first gate.
   In the first half of the 16th century, the stronghold in two stages was enlarged by another fortification belt on the north-east side. It was the most endangered part of the castle, because there was a road leading to the under-castle settlement of Buková. That is why this section was secured with a cylindrical, half-round and six-sided tower, located in the length of two lines of defensive walls. The hexagonal tower fully protruded in front of the face of the wall and flanked the external entrance gate, while the semicircular tower was located within the northern zwinger, which in the west reached the walls of the original outer ward from the fourteenth century.

Current state

   The lower castle has been preserved in the form of fragments of defensive walls and towers. Only relics of foundations and stumps of the walls remained from the buildings. The condition of the upper castle is even worse. Only the four-sided tower and the western wall of the house, as well as the remains of the cylindrical tower are recognizable. Entrance to the castle is free.

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