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In summer of 1993, while visiting my friend Monika Barabasova, shown in the picture to the right, from the Slovak National Museum in Martin my car broke down, so I decided to travel to Bratislava by train. Since I had few hours before my train would leave to Bratislava we went for a ride around Martin. Monika leads the choir in the Sklabinsky Podzamok village and knows about the castle that is hidden from the main road and if it werenít for her, I would never find it. The ruins of this castle are located east for Martin and close above the village of Sklabinsky Podzamok.

We parked her old beat up Skoda car on the road and walked on a dirt road, few hundred yards to the castle. The castle is in the middle of rolling hills, forests and green fields, filled with wild flowers. I would guess that the castle is officially abandoned by the authorities. Volunteer organization has fixed up one of the watchtowers. They use it for storage of their tools used mainly for cutting weeds and overgrown wild shrubs.

While walking inside the grounds we could hear the sound of sheep's bells that seemed to be really close, but because of the overgrown shrubs and trees we could not see them. There are still visible elements of the Gothic architecture in some parts of the castle.

On the way back to the car we finally had a chance to see the herd of sheep, that we heard while at the castle, but to our surprise they were really far, far, away.

The castle was built between 1308-1321 on site of an old fort. The oldest part is the upper castle, with irregular foundation and inside courtyard that was later on build up with living and agricultural quarters. In 1436 the castle was burned out. It was rebuilt in 1460-1480 and enlarged with fortified walls on the North side that were strengthened by two polygonal watchtowers.

Frantisek Revay became the new owner in 1527, who soon after also became the inheritable ruler of the Turiec county (zupa). He rebuilt and expanded the castle with the South fortified pre walls protected by watchtower. In 1610-1612 the Revay's built a multi story manor house below the old castle. The manor house was the seat of the Turiec County until 1850ís. The manor house was lived in until 1944.

In this year during the Second World War the Germans threatened to kill a local gypsy if he did not burn the manor house. So he did. They let him go free, only to commit suicide as he couldn't live with such guilt. Later on they burned the village of Sklabinsky Podzamok.


Hrady, zamky a kastiele na Slovensku, Eva Krizanova - Blanka Puskarova, Sport, Bratislava 1990
Hrady na Slovensku, Hilda and Andrej Fiala, Obzor, Bratislava 1966.

Published in the Slovak Heritage Live newsletter Volume 2, No. 2, Summer 1994
Copyright © Vladimir Linder 1994
3804 Yale Street, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5C 1P6
The above article and photographs may not be copied, reproduced, republished, or redistributed by any means including electronic, without the express written permission of Vladimir Linder
. All rights reserved.