Fortresses and Castles Surrounding Piešťany
Among the most important cultural and historical sites of our country are castles, chateaus and castle ruins. Slovakia ranks among the countries with the highest concentration of castles in Europe – there are more than 180. Castles within our territory first started being built in the mid-13th century with the largest expansion taking place in the 15th century. Besides functioning as a defense they also served a protective and administrative function. When castles were no longer needed for defensive purposes some of them were modified and rebuilt as castle residences, which were mostly for showand to provide comfortable living. Tourists and visitors who come to the spa town Piešťany can enrich their stay by visiting a variety of sites. In the surroundings of the town there are four castle ruins, three castles with accessible and open exhibitions and one chateau.
Castle ruins visible from Piešťany. It sticks out along the edge of Považský Inovec. This part of the range is called Tematínske kopce (Tematín´s hills), and is very interesting from a botanical perspective as well.This edifice was constructed in the 2nd half of the 13th century as one of castles guarding over the main road running through the Váh valley. The dominating feature of the castle area is its early-gothic, prism-shaped tower and the palace. It is approximately 25 km from Piešťany. There are two possible approaches to the castle ruins - one from the municipality of Lúka nad Váhom along a marked hiking trail, with occasional steeper ascents, it takes approximately 2,5 - 3 hours, or through the mountain resort of Bezovec, along a marked hiking trail as well, which takes approximately 2 - 2,5 hours.
Castle ruins of once monumental border guard castle from the turn of the 13th century. The main role of the castle was to control a major part of Stredné Považie (Middle Považie). This was made possible by the position of the castle on a 70 meter-high, steep cliff, which gave it abroad, all-encompassing view. By the turn of the 15th century castle towers had been raised and an upper gothic palace, complete with knights’ hall and chapel, had been built. In the 16th century the castle was fortified, a cannon tower was built and the surrounding walls were elevated. Since 1727, when there was a massive fire, the castle has been abandoned. Almost all the buildings were destroyed. Between 2010 and 2012 the castle underwent extensive reconstruction. In addition to an external and internal museum exhibition, visitors are also attracted to the castle by the numerous and regularly organized cultural events. It is 26 km from Piešťany. The best way to get there is by the highway to Nové Mesto nad Váhom, turning at Rakoľuby. The second way takes you under the mountains through Banka, Moravany nad Váhom, Lúka and Kočovce.
Castle ruins towering over the municipality of Višňové, 4 km away from Čachtice. The history of the castle dates back to the 13th century, when it belonged to a series of castles guarding along the western border of Hungary. It was built on a mountainous cliff. On the highest point of the complex, a palace was built around which, in the upper courtyard, new buildings were gradually added throughout the years. The lower courtyard served primarily for defense. In 1708, the castle was conquered and burnt down and since then it has been totally abandoned. The castle underwent extensive reconstruction between 2012 and 2014. The county of Čachtice became especially famous because of the bloody countess Elizabeth Bathory. It is approximately 18 km from Piešťany, in the direction of Veľké Orvište, Ostrov, Očkov and Podolie. It is possible to climb up to the castle from Čachtice (about 4 kilometers of hiking) or by a steeper path which leads directly from Višňové.
The castle complex is situated in the Small Carphatians above the municipality of Častá. It was first mentioned as a royal castle in the 13th century. In1535, after ownership by the Thurzo family, it became the property of a famous Augsburg business family named Fugger, who rebuilt the castle into a massive renaissance fort with wide cargo holds. The renovation of the fort into a representative, aristocratic residence was carried out by the Pálffy family. Its baroque-style renovations in the 17th century were quite significant. Apart from the interesting architecture, a collection of rich, historical furniture and period lifestyle can also be seen. It is approximately 57 km from Piešťany, in the direction of Modra, through Vrbové and Chtelnica to Častá or via motorway to Trnava and then through Budmerice to Častá.
It soars from the steep rock above the town of Trenčín. A famous sign carved into the castle rock proves that its origin stretches back to the Roman Empire. In the 11th century it was a royal guard castle. At the turn of the 14th century the castle belonged to Matthew Csák, who made various improvements. He built a residential palace and the Matthew’s tower, which still dominates to this day. The present day shape and appearance of the castle is due mostly to the additions made during the 14th and 15th centuries and the further building activity carried out by the Zápoľský family in the 16th century. At the end of 18th century the complex was destroyed by a fire, and since the 19th century there has been continual renovation and preservation work being done. Along with the aforementioned tower, the contemporary castle also consists of a complex of palaces. The legendary Well of Love has also been preserved, which, according to legend, was dug by the love-sick Omar with his bare hands, to free his love, Fatima, and to eventually buy her from the lord of the castle. The interior of the castle also houses many valuable, historical collections. It is 45 kilometers from Piešťany.
The oldest parts of its ruins, which still today soar high above the municipality of Podhradie, date back to the first half of the 13th century. Over the years the castle continued to expand, adding new courtyards, making its final layout very symmetrical. In the 15th century the castle was one of the main centers of Hussite troops in Ponitrie. A reminder of the castle’s romantic period reconstructions in the 19th century can be seen in the castle tower, which gives the castle its identifying silhouette. Parts of the ruins have been preserved. It is 26 km from Piešťany. A path leads through the villages Radošina, Bojná, Jacovce and Závada to Podhradie. There is an alternative path from the west side of Považský Inovec - exit Nová Lehota and then trekking through the mountains to the castle.
The original ruins of the castle were later converted to a romantic castle. Its silhouette has always given a distinct ornamentation to the Small Carpathians’ panorama. The founding of the castle dates back to the 14th century and is closely connected to the building of the „Czech road“. The castle has had several owners. In 1777, the Pálffys acquired the castle from an owner in debt, which is when the castle began to fall into disrepair. After many years of property disputes the castle’s new owners, Móric Pálffy and his son Joseph, turned it into a romance castle based on designs by Budapest architect József Hubert. Nowadays the castle serves as a congress center for the Slovak Academy of Sciences and in the summer time it is open to the public as well. It is approximately 45 km from Piešťany. One way to Smolenice is through Vrbové, Chtelnica and Trstín, and another way is through Trnava and Trstín.
It is situated on a rocky cliff creating a natural fortress above the town. It was the lords’ residential castle during the Great Moravian Empire, which means its origin dates back to 871. The individual parts of the castle have been rebuilt many times. The castle assumed its present-day appearance in the 17th century, when it was fortified after fighting the Turks. The castle consists of four individual parts - the cathedral, the bishop’s palace, farm buildings and the external walls with an entrance gate. Today, the bishop’s office is located in the castle. The Diocesan museum together with a treasury is also a part of the complex. Inside the walls the remains of the original Great Moravian fortification, 1,200 years old, are open for viewing by the public. It is 50 km from Piešťany.