Plaveč – castle

History

   The castle, guarding the Polish-Hungarian border and trade routes running to Poland along the valleys of Poprad and Torysa, was probably built in the first half of the 13th century on the royal initiative. Its name may be derived from Polovtsians (Cumans), a nomadic tribe who was at the service of Hungarian kings. Perhaps their unit temporarily guarded the border with Poland. The first written mention of the castle dates from 1294.
   Over the course of history, castle has repeatedly changed owners. Among them were Drugeths who made its expansion in the fourteenth century. In the middle of the 15th century, the castle was occupied by the rebels, becoming the seat of the leader of the “bratrzyk” movement, Peter Aksamit. In 1505 it became a property of the Horvath family; with time, the local branch of this well-known Hungarian family took the surname from the castle’s name Palocsay. The Palocsay ruled the castle until the end of its history. Although in the 17th century, the defensive walls of the stronghold were strengthened, the castle has already lost its defensive character, acting as a representative, noble residence. Thanks to this, after the fall of the Francis Rákóczi uprising at the beginning of the 18th century, the owners managed to protect it from destruction. It was inhabited in the mid-nineteenth century, although at that time its walls were already slowly falling apart. In 1830, the Palocsay rebuilt it, including knocking out large window openings in the walls. Plaveč’s story ended with a fire that consumed it completely in 1856.

Architecture

   The castle had the shape of a quadrangle with corner towers. The oldest of them was a quadrilateral keep, placed on the top rock in the western corner of the castle. It had dimensions of 12.5×8.7 meters and slightly rounded western corners. The thickness of its walls reached 1.7 meters. Next to it was built an elongated building with a length of about 17 meters, at which a courtyard of 50×45 meters was located. The remaining buildings were initially timber, only before the end of the 14th century the castle was surrounded by a stone wall. In the fifteenth or sixteenth century it was additionally from south and east strengthened by a lower external wall. The remaining three towers (southern half-round and two northern cylindrical ones) were added at the beginning of the sixteenth century.

Current state

   The castle has been preserved in the form of a poorly legible ruin. Its most characteristic elements are the remains of four towers. The rebuilt south tower is best preserved, and most of its walls have been preserved with three levels of window openings. However, from the gothic keep and two renaissance, defensive towers, only stumps protruding into the sky. The outer walls, which once connected the towers, have only been preserved in some places.

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