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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.

The castle went through several reconstructions and got new annexes so gradually the original Gothic look received Renessaince, and later Baroque touch. The castle, as residence of Forgách family, was still in operation in the 18th century when its eastern part was transformed in sacred district with Baroque church od St. Ignatius, where pilgrimages took place each year. The castle went to ruin only after the fire in the first half of the 19th century. Ruins are now accessible via two marked roads, leading from Kostoľany pod Tribečom, or from caravan camp Remitáž in Jelenec.

(Source: Hrady - najkrajšie zrúcaniny, DAJÁMA)
(Photo source:,


History of the Gýmeš Castle

The construction of the late Romanesque castle on Dúň hill, in Tribeč Mountains, was initiated between 1242 and 1250 by Andrew, son of Ivánka from Hunt-Poznan dynasty. It was almost incessantly owned by Forgách family, for a short period it was owned by Matthew Csák and three times in total it was occupied by the king. The original castle consisted of two towers delimiting the palace and of the wall surrounding courtyard with cistern and agricultural buildings, as such it could withstand attacks of Czech king Ottokar II of Bohemia in 1271 and 1273. Later it was extended by eastern ravelin and several palaces. During Renaissance rebuildings of the castle in the second half of the 16th century and at the beginning of the 17th century a new southern ravelin with bastion fortification was built. Renewed castle was damaged already in 1619 by rebellious armies of Betlen and in 1663 and 1671 by Turks who occupied the castle for a short period. Spectacular Baroque reconstruction of family residence had been done between 1713 and 1755 by Paul IV Forgách along with son Paul V. There was created a sacred disctrict in the castle with church consecrated to St. Ignatius of Loyola, and there was established a tradition of annual pilgrimages. Also funny habit of "shovel dance" was introduced, during which visitors were welcomed in front of the castle gate with several hits into the back body part. The castle was persisted in this shape until the beginning of the 19th century when the uninhabited object started to fall into disrepair and in the course of few decades it has been transformed into a ruin. Today the citizen association CASTRUM GHYMES tries to save the castle.

Bóna, Martin: Hrad Gýmeš. Stručný sprievodca po zrúcanine hradu. Bratislava: Slovenský skauting. 2011.