Sunday, June 8, 2014

#664 Devin Castle, Slovakia

On a 212m rocking cliff down the Danube River just out of Bratislava (#677) on the border with Austria is the Devin Castle, sitting high above the strategic joining of the Danube and Morava Rivers.

Settled since Neolithic times, and fortified since the Bronze Age, including by the Celts and the Romans, it was a place where trade could be controlled from. It was first written of in 864 when Louis the German beseiged Prince Rastislav. In the 13th Century the Hungarians built a castle here to protect their western frontier.

From 1301 to 1444 it was held variously by the Dukes of Austria, Charles I of Hungary, Margrave Jobst of Moravia, Sigismund of Hungary, and Duke Stibor of Stiboricz, Austrian knight Lessel Herring, Nicholas II Garay, King Frederick IV of Germany, and Ladislaus II Garay.  

The Hapsburgs added a palace in the 15th Century, and from then it was held strong against the Ottoman army. Various families controlled the castle in latter centuries until Napoleon destroyed it in 1809.

Interesting fact: the earliest church north of the Danube can be found in the Roman ruins here. 

Views from the 'Maiden Tower', a tiny watch tower separated from the main castle and balanced perilously on a small rock down the hill (not pictured) are the best in the whole castle, and of course, the legends of love-struck women locked in the tower leaping to their death abound!