BOJNICE CASTLE (Slovakia)
Bojnice castle is a mix of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. This stone castle was built in replacement of a wooden one in the course of the 12th century. Its first owner was Lord Kazimir, a member of the Hont-Poznan family who gave it to Maté Csak of Trencin. When he died, the castle became the King’s property and was occupied successively by many other landlords from various noble families.
The last private owner, Jean Palffy, improved and embellished the castle grounds and building for most of his life, till he died there (date ?). Being a collector and taking part in many auctions, he developed an important art collection which he left as an heritage with this property.
The castle as it stands today is the achievement of the Palffy family who owned it from 1643 till the foundation of the 1st Tchekoslovakian Republik in 1918.
After the second world war , in 1945, the castle became a state property but caught fire 5 years later, in 1950. Restored , it was decided by the state that it should be changed into a Museum, thus realizing its last private owner’s wish, Jean Palffy, 42 years after his death !
The castle is now opened to the public.
TRAKAI CASTLE (Lithuania)
The Trakai Island Castle, ordered by Grand Duke Kestutis, was built in the 14th century on the largest of Lake Galvé islands. It was destroyed during a Teutonic Knights attack in 1377. After the assassination of Kestutis followed a power struggle between Jogaila and Vytautas the Great for the title of Grand Duke of Lithuania. Then a second phase of construction started in which a 35m high donjon and two extra wings were added. The donjon sheltered a chapel with living quarters. It was linked to the multi-storey Ducal Palace. The overall style of the castle can be described as Gothic with some romanesque features.
The expansion of the castle in the 15th century marked the 3rd phase of its development. The walls were strenghened to a 2.5m width and provided with additional firing galleries. Three defensive towers were constructed in the corners, one of them serving as a jail. A moat was dug between the Ducal Palace and the Castle, just wide enough to let small boats sail through. The gates, connecting the two buildings, could be raised in case of ennemy attack.
Soon after the battle of Grunwald, the castle was transformed into a residence and redecorated inside. Foreign emissaries were lodged in the Ducal Palace. During the wars with Muscovy in the 17th century the castle was damaged and fell into disrepair.
In the 19th century, reconstruction plans were prepared but it was only in 1905, under the Imperial Russian Authorities, that the ruins were partially restored. Between 1935 and 1941, parts of the Ducal Palace walls were strenghened by Lithuanian and Polish preservationists. Unfortunately, the second world war stopped the work. Major reconstruction was undertaken in 1951-52 and completed in 1961.
The castle was reconstructed in a 15th century style. It is now a major tourist and events attraction.
For more information : www.cardiffcastle.com
Castle offer & events...
more information to come.