06. 12. 2019 00:00 - 04. 01. 2020 23:59
The mysterious "bloody" castle in the Carpathians. The picturesque ruins visible from afar standing on a limestone-dolomite hill with a beautiful panoramic view. However, its innocent appearance is misleading.
Čachtice’s origin dates back to the first half of the 13th century. The castle was administered by the royal castellan whose task was to secure the western border of the Kingdom of Hungary. Therefore, the castle was built as a massive fortress. Despite all the efforts the castle was invaded and heavily damaged in 1273 by the Czech King Premysl Otakar II. One of the first castle lords were Peter and Pongrác Hunt-Poznan. Later, the castle belonged to Matúš Čák of Trenčín. In 1392 the castle fell into the hands of Stibor of Stiborice. In 1467, the castle served as a prison for the Hussite commander Jan Švehla. Čachtice castle, however, was never a sumptuous castle. In fact, living in Čachtice was very uncomfortable. The only nicely decorated place in the castle was its chapel. From 1569 onwards the castle had been owned by Nádašdy family. The most famous inhabitant of the castle was the famous Elizabeth Báthory who lived there at the turn of the 16th and 17th century. After a great pressure of people the Countess was sentenced to life in prison in 1611 by palatine Turzo. The story of "the Bloody Countess" who died in 1614 served as an inspiration for several books and theater plays. In 1708 the castle was conquered by the army of Francis II. Rákoczi and since then it began to fall apart, albeit it temporarily served as a prison.
A TALE THE BLOODY COUNTESS
After the death of Francis Nádasdy his widow Elizabeth got mad about the idea to preserve her beauty and youth at all costs. With the help of her loyal servant Fick she killed several peasant girls using iron maiden with long knives and bathed in their blood. Knives of the iron maiden pierced through the breasts of young girls and their blood trickled into the prepared bath. It is said that Elizabeth killed hundreds of young girls whose moans can still be heard in the castle at night.
In Čachtice village there is a late renaissance mansion form 17th century that belong to Draškovič family. The mansion is now a museum of local history. Visitors can also visit mysterious underground premises – Čachtice’s dungeon leading under the castle and far beyond it.
HOW TO GET TO THE CASTLE
From the bus stop in Čachtice follow the path with a yellow mark. You should get into the castle in approx. 45 minutes. Optionally, you can take a steeper path leading from the train station in Višňové – a nature trail with a green mark. If you are traveling by car you can park it on the meadow right below the castle.