Šašov – castle

History

   The royal castle Šašov was mentioned for the first time in 1253, when it was in the hands of de Vancha brothers. Together with the nearby castle Reviste was created to protect the road running along Hron; near the toll station. These castles, closing access to gold-bearing areas in the Štiavnica and Kremnica mountains, have for centuries united the fate and the owners. At the beginning of the 14th century, a powerful magnate, Matthew Csák took over Šašov. In 1320, the castle became the property of the Banská Bystrica mining chamber, but soon returned to the royal hands and since then it has repeatedly changed owners. In the fifteenth century it played the role of a dowry of several consecutive queens.
  
In 1490, queen Beatrice, widow of Matthias Corvinus, as a reward for loyal service, she gave both castles to the Dócze family. They dealt with their neighbors for property and, after unfavorable sentences, they waged private wars with them, and also dealt with robberyThey made a name for themselves by, among others, plundering of the fortified monastery in Hronsky Benadyk and repeated ravaging of the lands of the Seven Cities of Mining Association, and their bad reputation encompassed all of central Slovakia. This did not prevent them, however, from holding high dignity in the state: they were priests, guardians of the crown, military commanders. The family died out in 1647, its last representative, Zygmunt Dóczy, was captured by the Turks and beheaded on the market square in Żarnowica, and his wife of unusual beauty was sent as a gift to the Sultan.
  
In 1650, the castle and the adjacent property was bought by Gaspar Lippay, but his descendants shortly enjoyed the property. During the uprising, Šašov was captured and plundered by Thókóly’s hajduks. In 1708, the imperial army carried out the destruction. The castle was not rebuilt and soon it was finally abandond.

Architecture

   

   The gothic castle was erected on a rocky ridge and shaped to the form of the terrain. Initially it consisted of a stone circumference of defensive walls and a residential building erected on the eastern side of the ridge. It had dimensions of 13.5 x 12.5 meters and two rooms in the ground floor. With time, other objects were added, which formed the upper castle, occupying the entire highest, rocky part of the hill. From the 14th century, this part was rebuilt many times, of which the largest works concerned the northern palace, erected after 1465 in two phases. It is worth noting that the castle had two rainwater tanks carved into the rock, one of which was 7 meters deep.

   In the 16th century, two extensive outer wards were added. The second one was stretching south of the upper castle and was separated from the first by the wall with small tower and a pentagonal bastion. The entrance to the upper castle was located at the foot of a large, cylindrical tower at the western end of the rock. This was the only access to the upper castle, which on the other sides was protected by high walls and rocky cliffs. It was preceded by a simple foregate. A large cylindrical tower on the western side is probably not, as you can often read, an element of the oldest site, but it was added in the fifteenth or sixteenth century, as an element adapted to the use of artillery. This is evidenced by the equipment of all storeys with the cannon openings and the way of connecting the tower with the defensive wall. The thickness of tower walls ranged between 2.45-2.9 meters.

Current state

   Two courtyards that once formed the lower part of the castle have practically not survived. The first, located southeast of the upper castle, had only fragments of the gate and traces of earth ramparts and well, hidden in the forest. The upper castle is today the best preserved fragment of the ruins. The walls, though heavily chipped, are almost in full height, and the window openings did not change their shape or size.

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