More Castle Drama - Spissky Hrad
Spissky Hrad Travel Blog› entry 19 of 23 › view all entries
Leaving Zdiar, I followed the strange directions that TomTom was giving. It lead me down tiny roads through farmland, tried to take me into a business district of a town that doesn’t allow thru traffic, and generally was totally confused as to what I should do. I finally had to turn it off.
In the course of it’s meltdown, it did direct me through this working town of Kezmorak. It had a strange and beautiful church that was quite grand for this place. I also was taken, by TomTom into a seedy former communist block rundown apartment complex. That’s when I just gave up on it and my own instincts took over and got me out of there.
With each new hill and new vista, I found strange and wonderful villages with architecture that was new to me…and I’ve seen a lot. What a fantastic little world. Slovakia is. It keeps surprising me….
Among the many surprises of this drive was the approach and drive through Levoca, like Spis it has been on my to-do list and but I didn’t expect to get there on this journey. What I saw of this obviously once grand city-state whet my appetite for a visit. It looks like the fairy take that I expected it to be. I will be back.
No one can mistake the view of Spis, from afar. It is a massive fortress and sits high on a hill, far above all else around. It is even more captivating in person that in pictures.
In the eastern horizon of Spišské Podhradie towers the Spiš Castle. As a National Cultural Monument, Spiš Castle with its area of more than four ha, and partially in ruins, is one of the largest castle compounds in Central Europe.
Construction of the medieval castle on a travertine hill dates back to the beginning of the 12th century. The oldest written reference to the castle is from 1120. At the beginning it was a boundary fort placed at the northern frontier of an early feudal Old Hungarian state. Afterwards, it became the seat of the head of theSpiš region for many centuries.
In the second half of the 15th century the reconstruction of the castle fell upon its new owner Štefan Zápoľský whose intention was to remake it into a stately aristocratic residence. He had made a palace, a knight hall and chapel of St Elisabeth in the castle. His son Ján, later King of Hungary was born at the Castle.
The last building works at the Upper Castle were made under the orders of the Thurzos' and the Csákys'.
In 1780 the castle compound was destroyed by fire and the proud Spiš Castle gradually fell into ruins. The total decay of the castle was prevented only through the intervention of conservationists who in 1970 got down to the difficult job of preserving the walls and palaces threatened by the instability of its rocky base.
At present there are the collections of theSpišské Museum, placed in the castle documenting its history, along with medieval arms and feudal jurisdiction.
After parking (free), you walk up to the entrance…a good ¼ mile. The lower area has a shop and a restaurant. They do have some nice books on the castle and the entrance is 5 euro.