Hardly any town in Slovakia has such a dominant skyline as ancient Nitra. Mainly Nitra Castle gives it its unforgettable character. Already from far it welcomes everyone who has decided to discover its fame, and it promises historical and artistic atmosphere that can be perceived on all the castle hill. Nitra Castle rises on a hill in heart of the town, originally it was bathed by stream bed of the river Nitra that was rerouted. But enchanting arched gate remained that is the only access point across which you can set out on the route from County Square across historical Upper town to gates of the castle.
The oldest historical architectonic monument that is adornment of town of Levice, is stone castle from the end of the 13th century. No archive materials mention when it was built exactly. But we know that for its construction well protected area at the end of promontory of Štiavnica Mountains was chosen. Castle offered a great view of wide surroundings and swampy terrain made the acces more complicated. The first known owner of the Levice Castle was Matthew III Csák. The first written reference to its existence, where Jula from Topoľčianky is mentioned as castle manager and follower of Matthew Csák, comes from 1318. After his death in 1321 the castle became the royal property again. The king Charles Robert who stayed in castle from 21 to 29 August 1321 gave Levice Castle and dominion to his wife Elisabeth. Castle’s administration was assigned to Imrich Bechei, who became also district governor of Tekov.
It was conquered and burnt down in 1446 during battles with armies of John Hunyadi, after the situation calmed down, it was reconstructed again and in the course of following centuries it was constantly extended. At the end of the 16th century it became a property of the family of Forgách de Ghymes and it was rebuilt into palace in Renaissance style. Last owners of the castle were Stummers who at the turn of the 19th and 20th century partially preserved and rearranged the castle, that was falling apart, in romantic way. Thanks to this reconstruction castle tower got its current characteristic silhouette.
District of Zlaté Moravce, Municipality of Topoľčianky
The beginnings of Castle of Topoľčianky go back to the 13th century, when the not so big squared building with dimensions of 10 x 9 m was built. In order to ensure better defence, the entrance was at the height of the first floor accessible through wooden stairs. There was built a huge wooden palisade between moat and the building itself. In the 14th century towers were extended by other areas and gradually the castle of 19,5 x 22,5 m emerged.
District of Nitra, Municipality of Jelenec
Ruin of Gýmeš Castle is situated under the village of Jelenec in Tribeč Mountains. The castle comes from the first half of the 13th century, when its construction was commissioned by great nobleman Andrew from Hunt-Poznan family. The castle became part of the defence line of the Nitra County when after invasion of Tatars it was confirmed, that strong defence of the territory requires stone fortresses. Descendants of the castle’s founder Andrew became founders of new aristocratic dynasty of Forgách.
District of Topoľčany, Municipality of Oponice
One of the castles supervising the valley of river Nitra with important medieval communications was the Oponice Castle. Its ruins above the village of the same name will attract our attention even today when looking on indented massif of Tribeč Mountains from the valley. The construction of stone castle in Oponice was commissioned by brother of Matthew Csák - Master Csák. In deeds the castle is mentioned for the first time in 1300 when it was administrated by castle manager of Csák - count Valentine.
Oponice’s area does not stand out, the village is „crouching“ under western foothills of majestic Tribeč Mountains. Economic, cultural and social life of the village was strongly influenced by the dynasty that „has dropped the anchor“ here in 1392. It was Hungarian „Peech“ family who got Oponice in exchange for Bernolákovo and when its members saw majestic walls of the castle at the end of the 14th century and beautiful nature around, they had decided to change their predicate from Peech to Apponyi (Appony was Hungarian form of name of the village of Oponice that already existed at that time). It is a unique phenomenon in the history!
Rich aristocratic count Grassalkovich was adviser of Hungarian Chamber and guard of crown jewels. Hunyadis bought porperties exactly from count Grassalkovich. Probably it was count Imrich Hunyadi who commissioned construction of Baroque manor house in Mojmírovce (in the past Urmín) nearby Nitra in the 18th century.
Renaissance chateau of aristocratic family of Apponyi from the 17th century was after reconstruction transformed in luxurious hotel with the famous Baroque library of this ancient dynasty. In unique hotel complex you can find magnanimous halls, 34 stylish rooms and 7 spacious and luxuriously furnished suites.