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The ruins of the castle are high, 1425 feet above the seal level, on the hill above the river Váh. The castle already existed in the first half of the 13th century. It used to be called Varín. It is mentioned first time in 1267 and the lands of Varín, Teplička above Žilina belonged to it. However it obtained its present name Starý Hrad after building of the nearby Strečno castle. 

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The oldest part of the castle was offence tower that was probably built in 13th century. Its main function was to protect the ancient trade route through the Považie Valley and to collect the toll at river Váh nearby ford. At the beginning, the castle used to belong to the King. Then the Balassa family forebears owned it in the late 13th century, later it was owned by Matthias Čák who took it from them and after his death in 1323 by the Ad­ministrator Donč of Zvolen province. It changed ownership several times. 

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In 14th century when it was a home of the King’s captain and his soldiers, they built several houses and objects. From 1443 it’s last owners, the Pangrach family lived here until the 16th century at which time they build themselves a comfortable renaissance manor house in Krasňany near-by and abandoned the castle. Until the beginning of the 18th century, only five soldier watchmen of the castle lived there and couldn’t stop its deterioration.


Published in the Slovak Heritage Live newsletter Volume 9, No.2, Summer 2001
Copyright © Vladimir Linder 2001 
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.