Friday, 24 January 2014

Spiš Castle in Slovakia, one of Europe's largest castles

UNESCO declared Spiš Castle a Heritage Site since 1993, but it rose to fame long before that.  Traces of human habitation since 5th millennium BC were found on the rock where the castle stands, and by 1st century the Celts had built themselves a fort here.  It kept expanding and became an important Hungarian political and cultural center in 12th century.  In the 13th century it was one of the few castles in Europe that played a defensive part during the Mongol's military expedition. Since then the castle had been owned and occupied by Hungarian royalties and nobilities.

In the late 18th century, the castle was almost completely burned down.  It is now in ruin; in 2013 when I visited, restoration and archaeological work are earnestly being carried out.  

Following the road from Spisská Kapitula (see previous blog post) one needs to park the car at a clearing and then scale up the mountain to the castle.  It's an easy hike, and the view is spectacular.  Inside the castle, the reconstructed buildings are now part of a museum.  It has two parts, the main level and the upper castle, both of which are now opened to public.

Coincidentally, it is where the movie Dragonheart was shot, and makes into the list of top 10 largest castles in the world. 

Official website:

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