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 Revište 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. The first was Barbara, the wife of Sigismund of Luxembourg, who received Šašov in 1424. On her behalf, the castle was managed by Ladislav Zubonya and Ladislav Upori, who in the mid-15th century often came into conflict with burghers and miners from the nearby Banská Štiavnica. Soon Upori moved to the side of Jan Jiskra, fighting on the side of the Habsburgs, and later Ladislav the Posthumous, but eventually in 1465 the castle returned under the authority of King Matthias Corvinus.
  
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 in 1672, Šašov was captured and plundered by Thókóly’s hajduks
and in 1676 it was recaptured by the imperial army In 1708, the imperial army carried out the destruction. In the 18th century, the deteriorated castle was finally abandoned.

Architecture

   The gothic castle was erected on a long rocky ridge of a slightly sickle plan 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. Building had dimensions of 13.5 x 12.5 meters and two rooms in the ground floor. Initially, they were covered with timber ceilings, later replaced by barrel vaults. 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 and the enlarged eastern building.
  
It is worth noting that the castle had two rainwater tanks carved into the rock. One of them, placed under a rock step, below the highest, eastern part of the castle, was 7 meters deep. Next to it, traces of the oldest four-sided tower, dating back to the 13th century, were also discovered. Probably it was pulled down at the end of the Middle Ages during the enlargement of the building located on the eastern side.

   In the 16th century, two extensive outer baileys were added. The second one was stretching south of the upper castle and was separated from the first by a wall ended at the upper castle with a pentagonal bastionThe four-sided gate tower provided protection for the first outer bailey, located on the flattened area under the castle. 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 at the ground floor ranged between 2.45-2.9 meters and the dimensions of the interior with the appearance of an irregular hexagon received 5.5 x 6.5 meters.
   Around the middle of the 15th century, on the top of a hill about 200 meters from the eastern residential building of the castle, were erected outer fortifications. Its creation was the result of the development of gunpowder, which posed a threat to the castle, because the hill was 45 meters higher. The fortifications were in the form of a pentagon measuring 21.5 x 18 meters surrounded by walls 2 meters thick, in front of which an earth rampart was erected at a distance of 11-15 meters. In the middle there was a wooden residential building equipped with warming.

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.