Romantic Splendor - Bojnice Castle

Bojnice Travel Blog

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I awakened to a sunny day, yeah!!! I didn’t get up as early as I had planned as I was soooooo tired! I could still make my day so, no worries.

The journey to the highway and out of town was a strange one but…not difficult. I involved crossing the Danube (westerly) and then driving south for a kilometer or so and then crossing it (easterly)…..whatever. I was on my way.

The highway was in good condition and multi-laned, yeah Slovakia! The speed limit on the highway was 130 kph so I was making good time. I did have to stop for an amazing castle ruins but, most of my quick shots were from the car (sorry for the bug splats on the windshield.

Soon, in the distance, I could see the spires of Bojnice Castle. It’s is a marvel of fairytale castle construction.

I found a parking lot (4 euro) , which was monitored, and set out to the castle.

The town was lively with people enjoying the day with a drink out on the many terraces. There were also many tourist scuttling about. The castle grounds are lush with trees and plants but, Slovakia is very green, in general. A little pond near the entrance was even outfitted with a mini-castle for kids, I guess, but adults were having fun there, too.

Bojnice Castle is very imposing as it is very tall, with thick turrets. The different design styles of the castle show it’s history through architecture. It has several distinct styles but, all are quite romantic.

There are a number of small vendors selling locally made goods and snacks outside the castle walls. I stopped and ….

.well, there were guns. Now, I’ve seen guns for sale but, not out in the open in an EU country. It happens that these were replicas of Slovak weaponry of the past. They were amazing reproductions……..I bought one! It’s probably a good thing that I’m driving and not flying. It looks so real. He had a monument for my collection, as well.

In line to pay for my entrance to the Castle, I chatted with other native English speakers from California and Vancouver. They both had ancestors from Slovakia. I do not but, love the country anyway!

Bojnice was first mentioned in written records in 1113, in a document held at Zobor abbey. Originally a wooden fortress it was gradually replaced by stone, with the outer walls being shaped according to the uneven rocky terrain.

this created the irregular outline of the present day castle

During the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, Bojnice castle had several owners, the first of which was the magnate Matus Cak Trenciansky who owned Bojnice until 1321. After he relinquished ownership the castle changed hands several times during the next two centuries between the noble families of Gileth, Leustach and finally Noffry.

In 1489, Jan Korvin, the illegitimate son of King Matej Korvin was given the castle along with its entire domain. After his father’s death, Bojnice castle was seized by the Zapolsky troops who occupied the castle until 1526. During this period of occupation the castle was fortified further.

Alexej Thurzo was presented the castle in 1527 and he went about transforming Bojnice castle in the style of the renaissance period.

During the 1600s, the castle once again passed into the hands of the crown and King Ferdinand III gifted the castle in 1644 to Pavol Palffy for his help in the battle against the Turks and Hungarian nobles. Pavol, like all previous owners before, wanted to insert his own influences over Bonjice. This took the form of renovations in the style of the baroque period.

Work on the castle began to slow by the end of the 17th century and during the next two centuries the castles façade did not change. In 1852, Bonjice together with its domain was acquired by Count Jan Frantisek Palffy, who was to become the castles final owner. He brought to the castle an elegance not seen before through works of art and after his death in 1910, the castle was estimated to be in the value of 90 million crowns.

His last wish was that Bojnice, be accessible to the public and that all works of art remain in their original place and tours of the castle be made possible for those interested. In 1970 the castle was declared as a National cultural monument.

Many of the rooms are decorated and have portraits of Bojnice’s many residents. There are rooms finished with wooden or leather panels with designs of Slovak and Ottoman origin. That was a surprise to me, seeing Ottoman elements here. There are amazing examples of period furniture, weaponry and even regional musical instruments.

We were also taken into the caves beneath the castle. The caverns were a surprise. It is amazing that they were able to incorporate these spaces within the castle.

I returned to the car to find it scorching hot! I should remind you that I have no a/c. I opened all of the windows and sunroof and headed out of town. I noticed my fuel level, near the “orange” line but, thought….there will be gas stations as there were a tremendous number along the way so far.

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photo by: festerwretch