Vrsatec – castle

History

   The origins of the castle date back to the 13th century, for the first time it was mentioned in 1244. Its task was to protect the north-western borders of the Kingdom of Hungary. Vrsatec was created as a royal castle, but over the centuries belonged to various feudals, among which there were among others Matthew Csák, Stibor of Stiboricz, John Hunyady. After Hunyady it was inherited by his son, Matthias Corvinus, who for war services donated it to the local landowning family in 1577. In the 17th century, the castle lost its significance because the owners moved to a new palace in the village of Pruské. In the years 1680 and 1708, it twice burning during the conquest of the imperial army. With the consent of the last owner, graf Kóniggseg, it was blown up in 1708.

Architecture

   The original castle from the 13th century was built on the top of the rock, on which a square tower was erected, later residential building was added, and the whole was surrounded by defensive walls incorporated into the stones. The tower except the defensive had also a residential function, its cellar was carved in the rock, and the ground floor wall and partly upper floor wall were formed from a rocky block. In the rock, also passages and a corridor to the bay window, suspended over the eastern cliff, were also carved. Tower dimensions were 6×6 meters, which, with a small wall thickness of 1 meter, gave a quite large interior with dimensions of 4×4 meters.
   Due to the lack of space in the upper part of the castle, utility rooms were located on the wider outer ward (50×60 meters), on the rocky terrace below the upper castle. The only access to this rock-surrounded part led from the north-east. The upper castle was connected with outer ward by a narrow and steep path on the south side, with stairs partially carved into the rock. With time, the outer ward, turned into a typical lower castle, became the main part of the building. In the 16th century, a renaissance palace and economic buildings were erected here. The castle had its own bakery, granary, stable, and beer was also brewed there. The whole was surrounded by a rather thin defensive wall (1 meter), which was only thicker (1.7 meters) from the northern, entry side. It was strengthened by a cylindrical and polygonal tower on the west side and a north bastion. On the shelf partly carved in the rock, between the lower and upper castle, there was a cannon bastion too.

Current state

   The best preserved part of the lower castle is the palace, whose walls with windows have been preserved to the height of the first floor and are clearly visible from the west side of the hill. The western defensive wall and the tower on the cliff look worse, from which only small fragments have survived. Small pieces of walls and foundations partially hidden in the ground and shafts remained from other structures of the lower castle. Only fragments of the oldest square tower and defensive walls have survived from the upper castle buildings at the top of the rock. This part of the castle is particularly vulnerable to erosion, more stones fall off it. It is worth noting that the upper castle is over 90 meters above the lower one. This is the biggest difference in height between the objects of the same castle in Slovakia. Several dozen meters of climb over steep rocks, makes the upper castle one of the most difficult to access in Slovakia.

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