Trenčín Castle is the largest and one of the most picturesque and important castle complexes in Slovakia. Owing to its location on a steep limestone cliff, allowing control over a wide span of the surrounding area it has long been attractive for settlement. The oldest and at the same time the most dominant part of the castle – its large tower – dates from the 11th century.
Situated at the crossroads of long-distance routes, the rock on which Trenčín Castle is built has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic Age. The castle rock saw also Romans who carved an inscription on it in 179 CE in memory of a victory in battle. The inscription bears reference to a winter that the Romans spent in Laugaricio. The existence of a Slavic settlement here has also been documented by a quatrefoil rotunda dating from the 9th and 10th centuries which was found on the rock. Presumably it served as a princely church for castle lords according to the tradition of a Slav fortress.
Trenčín Castle functioned during the middle ages as the administrative centre of Trenčín County, and was one of the few stone castles in the Kingdom of Hungary to resist the Mongol invasion in 1241. It subsequently passed to the Cseszneky family and then between 1302 and 1321 became the seat of the powerful nobleman Matthew Csák, before reverting to the crown. In the early 14th century the Hungarian King Louis the Great fortified the structure and erected a new palace here. During the 16th century the castle was leased on numerous occasions by the crown, but in 1594 the ownership passed to the Illéšházy family, who retained the castle until 1790 when it was badly damaged by fire. Štefan Illéšházy II then sold the castle to Baron Sina, but neither he nor his descendents did anything to restore the building, and they eventually donated it to Trenčín town.
Efforts to restore the ruins in the first half of the 19th century proved insufficient and incompetent. Serious reconstruction involving an archaeological survey and proper project documentation only began in 1953 after the castle had been proclaimed a National Cultural Monument. Today Trenčín Castle is owned by Museum of Trenčín, which offers a selection of exhibitions in various parts of the castle, including the castle well, feudal justice, coat of arms of the castle owners, leaseholders and captains, and the historic arms of the collections of the Trenčín Museum.
Heritage > National cultural monuments