Bojnice castle is made from the stuff that fairy tales are made of. The most visited castle in Slovakia is 3 hours from Bratislava and looks like it came out of a fantasy land with dragons, princes, and evil Queens. The turquoise tower tops have definitely something to do with it.
It is located in Bojnice, a small town of 5.000 which is built around the castle and the oldest zoo in Slovakia. Along with the local spas, these are the main attractions of Bojnice.
Built as a wooden fort in the 12th century it changed many owners until it ended up in the hands of Count Jan Frantisek Palffy, the last private owner who also happened to be a man of arts and spent much of his time collecting paintings mostly. A big part of which is exhibited inside the castle.
Indeed the Count had exquisite taste, something that is also reflected in the castle’s interior design which himself had a big part to do with. The last reconstruction took place from 1889 to 1910 but Count Palffy didn’t live to see it finished. He died two years before it’s completion, in Vienna.
As you walk on Bojnice square the trees obstruct the view of the structure. It’s only when you are relative close to the castle that you actually get the first impression of it and that makes it more striking. It is located in the middle of a nice park and like every proper castle it is surrounded by a big moat full of water.
Once I passed the gate, the first thing that caught my eye was a fearsome brazen bull. This is a torture device in the form of a bull, made from bronze and big enough to “accommodate” a person. After the poor man was locked in the bull, a fire was lit under it, and eventually the victim was roasted to death. The time I visited there was an exhibition for torturing devices.
Regular tours are held every hour and a guide will walk you through the interior which is as impressive as the exterior with full furnished rooms and of course Palffy’s famous art collection which is worth seeing. Another area of great interest is the castle’s dungeon. A great cave deep in the guts of the castle where the only natural light is coming from the lid of a well, several meters above your head.
The castle holds weddings at a regular basis and several events throughout the year, including the International Festival of Ghosts and Monsters somewhere between April and May, which is very popular. Overall, the castle of Bojnice is one of the most beautiful and interesting attractions in the country. Definitely worth a visit if you happen to be around central Slovakia.
Working hours are :
May – September
Tuesday – Sunday: 9.00 – 17.00
October – April
Tuesday – Sunday: 10.00 – 15.00
The admission is 8€.
Overall Bojnice castle is worth seeing .
Do you like castles and medieval history? Have you seen the magnificent Spis Castle in Slovakia? Definitely worth a look.