Smolenice – castle


   Smolenice castle is one of the youngest strongholds on the Czech-Hungarian border. Similarly to others in this area, it was created to protect Lesser Carpathian passes and trade routes running through them. It was built in the fourteenth century, but the exact date is unknown. It is known that in 1388 the village of Smolenice was excluded from the Korlátka property and granted to Stibor of Stiboricz. Perhaps he was the builder of the castle. After 1434, the castle passed into the hands of the Svätýjur family. After the expiration of this family, it belonged successively to the Orsaghs, Banffs, Nyaris and finally the Erdódes, who ruled it longer, for two centuries. Their name is associated with a larger reconstruction of the castle.
In 1777, Smolenice became the property of the Palffy family, who took it as a pledge for the unpaid loan, granted to previous owners. Palffy had many other residences, so the decaying castle slowly deserted, and after the fire in 1809, it was abandoned. The buildings inside the fortifications were destroyed first, the walls and cannon towers in the corners survived.
In 1864 Jozef Pallfy became the owner of Smolenice, who at the beginning of the 20th century decided to build a new residence inside the old walls. Works begun in 1911 were discontinued after the end of World War I due to the financial condition of the family. The construction was completed in 1949-1957, and the renovated building became the conference center of the Slovak Academy of Sciences.

Current state

   Today’s castle is mostly new, built from scratch in the 20th century. Only a ring of defensive walls with five corner towers and some buildings adjacent to the walls from the inside, are partially preserved from the original castle. The buildings survived the fire, but in the middle of the twentieth century were already heavily damaged by time and required a restaurant. The defensive walls are completely reconstructed and topped with modern battlements. A characteristic look gives the castle new buildings erected in a romantic style, especially a crude, concrete tower. The castle is currently a conference center, but the courtyard and tower are open to visitors in July and August from 10.00-18.00.

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