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
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
TO SLOVAKIA'S CASTLES
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,
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Linder. All rights