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by Wildcat Dianne
October 7, 2007
Ivan and I visited Trenciansky Hrad in September 2001 on a day trip from his home in Borovce. After getting off the train at Namestie SNP, we walked through the park near the station to the castle. After hiking up a steep hill, we arrived at Trenciansky Hrad. One of the guard towers is now a ticket station where you need to purchase your admissions ticket to tour the castle and grounds. It's not much compared to the US Dollar. Ivan and I were told to wait for our guide since the castle is only available for tours with a guide.
About 5 minutes later, a lovely young woman showed up and introduced us as our guide, and we followed her into the castle. The guide only spoke Slovak, which I have a little understanding of, so Ivan, whose English is limited, too, would translate the important parts of the tour to me. Ivan and I toured the Castle, which is a national museum, too, with our very informative guide, and when Ivan was asking the guide many questions about the castle and its history, I would wander a little bit on my own to look at the many exhibits the castle had to offer. Most of the furniture and paintings were taken away from Trencin during the restoration, and what you see in the castle today is displayed on several glass lighted shelves where one can see the splendor of Slovakian and Hungarian royalty.
Our tour of Hradciansky Hrad ended with a trip outside on one of the castle balconies. Being on a hilltop, Trenciansky Hrad overlooks the city of Trencin and the nearby Mala Karpaty Mountains (Little Carpathians). Ivan and I were greeted with one of the most beautiful views, albeit a little foggy, of Trencin and the castle fortifications, which date from the 14th and 15th Centuries.
This is where the tour of Trenciansky Hrad finally ended, and we said dakujem (thank you) to our guide and made our merry way out of the castle and down the hill to downtown Trencin for more touring and lunch before catching the train back to Piestany.
As mentioned before, Trenciansky Hrad is located on a steep hill. So if you are not in good physical condition, I would pass on taking a tour of the castle, but the view from the town is just as nice. Public transportation and private cars are not allowed on the castle grounds, and you will have to park or get off the bus at the bottom of the hill leading to the castle. Make sure you wear good shoes especially when it's rainy that day so you don't slip on the paths around the castle.
If you visit Slovakia, I highly recommend this trip to Trencin and its Castle!
From journal Trenciansky Hrad (Castle Trencin)
Trencin's beginnings date from the 11th Century at the end of the Great Moravian Period in Slovakian History. The castle was originally the King's Guard Castle, and its tower was also built during this time. From 1302-1321, powerful magnate and enemy of King Charles, Matus Cak (ma-toosh chak) occupied Trenciansky Hrad and put the castle through an extensive reconstruction that gives the castle its present-day appearance.
In the 14th Century, Hradciansky Trencin gained some power in Slovakia from King Sigismund of Luxembourg, who promoted the town of Trencin to a Free Royal Town and Trencin was exempt from paying taxes and other tolls. It was also during this time that Trenciansky Hrad had its Representative Palace added that was named after Sigismund's second wife Barbora Celska. Along with the Palace, a gatehouse along with fortifications were added to complete the castle's defenses.
From the end of the 15th and early 16th century, more fortifications were added to the town of Trencin and the Hrad in preparation for the possible Turkish invasion. The castle was owned by the Zapolya Family. Zapolya rebelled against the Habsburg Empire at this time, and Trenciansky Hrad was captured in 1528 by imperial troops.
After 1600, Trenciansky Hrad came under the ownership of the Illeszhazy family, and a threat by the Ottoman Turkish Army fell short during their ownership. In 1708, another uprising against the Habsburgs, the Kuruc Uprising began, and The Battle of Trencin occured shortly afterwards in the outskirts of town with a heavy loss of life. More lives were lost in 1710 when the Plague hit Trencin killing about 1,600 residents.
More bad things happened to Trencin and the Hrad in 1790 when a fire broke out in Trenciansky Hrad and burned out most of the castle and it laid in ruin for over 150 years. During the 19th century, Trencin lost its rank as a free royal town and became "a town with municipal government" and became under control of the Chief of Trencin County.
The early 20th century and end of World War I and the Hapsburg Empire in 1918 brought independence to the new Czechoslovakia and Trencin once again became the seat of Trencin County and enjoyed a prosperous time until the beginning of World War II in 1939 and occupation by the Slovak Puppet Government under Josef Tiso.
In 1955, a large-scale restoration of Trenciansky Hrad and the town's historic center began, and it still goes on up until today. Today, Trenciansky Hrad is a National Cultural Monument and has thousands of tourists every year.
More information about Trenciansky Hrad will be continued on in the next entry, Trenciansky Hrad II.
by captain oddsocks
August 4, 2005
The original gate tower now serves as the ticket office, where you should buy your entry ticket (85Sk) and then hand it to the man seated three metres to the left of the ticket office to be validated. The courtyard and buildings of the lower castle can be explored at your leisure but the upper castle is accessible only on a guided tour, the times for which are posted at the entrance.
A well of almost 80 metres’ depth is located in the lower courtyard and has become known as the "Well of Love". The legend is that Stefan Zápolský, Lord of Trenčín castle from 1493, captured a Turkish hostage named Fatima as a gift for his wife. When Fatima’s fiancé Omar came to buy her freedom Zápolský told him "I do not take back gifts and riches have I plenty". Omar asked "What is it that you have not?", and was told "Water". Upon gaining the lord’s promise that Fatima would be released if he could make the rock give out water, he began work on the well. After three years he finally came to water and is reputed to have told Zápolský, "Here is the water, but harder than that rock was your heart."
After a short wait at the bridge over the moat around the upper castle the guide arrived to begin the tour. I was a little curious about the professionalism of the tour when I saw that the young guide was dressed in hot-pink trousers, an art mullet, and a T-shirt with the inscription, "Pixy’s being happy, have a nice night!" My fears were unfounded, though, as the tour was thorough and informative. We were led to the lower part of the original watchtower and the portrait-room of the Ilešházi family, lords of the castle from 1600 until 1835. The centrepiece of the main portrait room was a depiction of Josef Ilešházi, which is said to have eyes that follow you around the room. Whether it was the power of suggestion or a clever optical illusion employed by the painter, I don’t know, but the oohs and ahhs of the rest of the visitors convinced me that they were as impressed as I was that Josef could still move his eyes 240 years after his death.
The remaining palaces of the upper castle are included in the tour but the highlight is the viewing tower with extensive views over the castle grounds and fortifications, to the city, and the mighty Vah River.
From journal Trencin: Castle Over the River Vah