Považské Podhradie – Považský Castle

History

The castle was built in the second half of the 13th century to protect the trade route running at the foot of the hill. The first mention of it comes from 1300. From its inception to 1458, it was a royal property, with a short break at the beginning of the 14th century, when Matthew Csák took it over. At the end of the 14th century it was rented by Stibor of Stiboricz, who made a significant expansion of the stronghold. As early as in the 14th century, representatives of the noble Podmanic family appeared among the castle service, who in 1458 received the castle on their own. In 1543 the castle was destroyed by a great fire, and in 1558, the Podmanic family died out. The new owners, the Balass family, completed the reconstruction, started by their predecessors, and slightly strengthened the stronghold. Despite these investments, already in 1631, the Balass moved to a new palace at the foot of the hill. In 1684, the castle took over Thókóly’s rebels. When it was recapured by the Austrian army, it was damaged. In 1698 emperor Leopold I ordered the castle to be destroyed so that in the future it could not serve the insurgents. It has been in ruin since then.

Architecture

The castle originally consisted of two four-sided towers standing at the highest point of the hill, in the northwestern part of the courtyard. A slightly smaller northern tower protruded partly in front of the face of the walls and protected the near gate. The entire top of the hill was surrounded by a defensive wall, creating a large, oval courtyard measuring 80 x 40 meters. The oldest residential and commercial buildings were located on the north side, at the inner faces of the walls, where a slightly bend palace was placed. In the 14th and 15th century, the wall was reinforced with additional four-sided towers on the south side and new buildings appeared on this side of the circuit. In the second half of the 16th century, more objects were added along the inner side of the walls. The defensive capabilities of the castle were improved by moving the gate to the east and adding a semicircular barbican and additional, low walls from the most easily accessible northern side.

Current state

To this day, most of the outer defensive walls, magnificent fragments of three towers and the walls of the palace have survived. In the walls are visible window openings, numerous arrowslits and openings for beams supporting ceilings. Unfortunately, the walls are not preserved. From other buildings that surrounded the courtyard, there are only foundations and small fragments of walls covered by dense vegetation. On the north side, outside the castle walls, there are visible earth ramparts where the outer ring of walls once stood.

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