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Trenčín Castle is located in the western part of Slovakia. It was built on rocks above Trenčín town and Váh river. This area has been settled since the early Bronze Age thanks to its advantageous position, protected by rocks and steep hills from almost all sides, with the only access from the south and southeast. One of the significant signs of early settlement is a Roman inscription on one of the rocks, coming from 179 AD. In Great Moravia times, there was already a steady settlement with signs of fortification, which was gradually rebuilt to a stone castle.

The oldest stone building was a rotunda, which was built probably in 9th Century, or even earlier. At the end of 11th Century, the first stone tower, donjon, was built. In 1241, the castle was attacked by Tatar troops, however, it was not conquered. In 13th century, the castle became the seat of Matúš Čák ot Trenčín (1260-1321), the most powerful Hungarian magnate of that time. The old rotunda was destroyed and its stones were used to build a new palace and chapel. This meant spreading the power of the castle to a new seat of administration and social life. Numerous diplomatic and formal meetings of the nobles on European level were held there. Matúš Čák´s army was very powerful and it conquered huge parts of land, later called Terra Mathei. In his most successful times, Matúš Čák owned more than 50 castles and his influence was spread over large parts of today´s Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

In 1321, the castle was significantly damaged by troops of the Hungarian king Charles Robert. This damage was repaired during the reign of his son Ludovít. Also, a new palace and fortification were built.

In 15th Centrury, the name of the castle was connected with Queen Barbara, second wife of King Sigmund of Luxembourg. Among others, Barbara´s Palace and a gothic portal with a shield carrying the Coat of Arms were built. Later, the castle often changed its owners. The significant ones were the Zápolský family, who made a lot of changes and improvements: Zápolský Palace, two towers, mighty defense walls, vaults, barracks, the whole southern fortification system, rebuilding the existing palaces and chapel.

Another significant part of the castle was a Renaissance Gun Bastion, protecting the entrance gate and bridge. In 16th century, the first entrance gate with two round towers was built and the existing palaces were improved.

In 17th Century, Turks attacked and damaged the castle. Afterwards, the fortification wasn´t sufficient enough and new large improvements were made. The emperor placed troops of 400 soldiers to the castle. However, at the end of 18th century, the castle lost its military importance and was abandoned by the troops. In 1790, the castle was almost ruined by a fire which destroyed the town as well. After this disaster, no repairs were made until 20th Century, when a step-by-step renovation began. The renovations continue until today.

Recently, the castle is a part of Trenčín Museum and serves as a seat of numerous social and cultural events. You can visit the castle and join a guided tour of the interiors.


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