Trenčín Castle


Trenčín's fearsome castle has surveyed the surrounding hills for centuries. Its oldest walls date to the 11th century, when it was constructed to watch over the merchant routes extending from the Baltics to the Mediterranean via the Váh Valley. Highlights of the main self-guided visitor route, 'Tour A', are the Starving Tower (a 9m-deep prison) and Matthias Tower, a Gothic edifice with armour and weaponry on display. A longer, semi-guided route ('Tour B') is offered for an extra euro.

The Starving Tower was built on the order of King Sigisimund of Luxembourg, to inflict lingering deaths on his enemies. Rather prettier is the construction ordered by his wife: Barbara's Palace, with a distinctive red loop decoration across its exterior.

Medieval entertainment for children, such as costumed role play, takes place during the day in summer (in Slovak only, but they'll get the gist). The most evocative time to visit is during festivals or on one of the castle's summer-evening torchlight tours – complete with sword fighting.

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