The castle is largest of its kind in Central Europe.
The history of the town of Spišské Podhradie and Spišska Kapitula – the complex of chapter houses and cathedral – are closely connected with Spiš Castle. Spišské Podhradie, formerly a village below the castle, later grew into an independent small town with crafts and agricultural activities. Spisska Kapitula is a small ecclesiastical seat comprising notable buildings that serve the clerical and administrative functions of the Spiš diocese. The gothic church of the Holy Spirit in Žehra from the 14th century has its whole interior decorated with murals from the 14th and 15th centuries. The murals depict various biblical stories and guidance, a sort of bible for the poor, through which believers could remember the main beliefs of their religion.
Spiš Castle was built in the 12th century on the site of an earlier Slavic castle. It was the political, administrative, economic and cultural centre of Spiš County.
Before 1464, it was owned by the Hungarian kings, afterwards (1464 - 1528) by the Zápolya (Zápoľský) family, the Thurzo family (1531-1635), the Csáky family (1638-1945), and (since 1945) by the State.
The performed late Gothic transformations made the upper castle into a comfortable family residence, typical of late Renaissance residences of the 16th and 17th centuries.
In 1780, the castle burned down and has been in ruins since. The castle was partly reconstructed in the second half of the 20th century.The ruins of Spiš Castle (Slovak: Spišský hrad) in Eastern Slovakia form one of the largest castle sites in Central Europe.
The castle is situated above the village of Žehra in the region known as Spiš, in Levoča district. It was included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1993 together with the adjacent locations of Spišská Kapitula, Spišské Podhradie and Žehra.
Bojnice castle is a national cultural monument and museum at the same time. It is one of the most beautiful monuments in Slovakia and is visited by visitors from all over the world. It is also one of the oldest and most distinguished of Slovak fortresses, standing on a travertine hill above the town. The first written records of its existence come from 1113 in a document from the Zobor abbey. In this Latin written document King Koloman confirmed the property as belonging to the Benedictine monastery of St. Hypolita in the upper Nitra.
Originally the fortress was made from wood and grew out of the older fortress. Gradually over the 13th century it was built up from stone as property of the Poznanovec family. The outer walls of the fortress were shaped according to the uneven rocky terrain, thus creating the irregular outline with extended fortification.
At the end of the 13th century Bojnice was seized by the magnate Matus Cak Trenciansky and the fortress remained in his hands until 1321. After him, in the 14th and 15th centuries, ownership of the fortress changed hands between the following noble families: Gileth, Leustach and Noffry. Bojnice fortress and its domain were always part of the Royal property, with the King handing out pledges or privilege of heritage to the given magnates.
In 1489 King Matej Korvin presented the fortress together with its domain to his illegitimate son Jan Korvin. It is rumoured that King Matej himself took pleasure in visiting Bojnice and would sit under the lime tree opposite the fortress’s entrance, which was named the King Matej Lime Tree. He would dictate official documents in its shadow, which would begin: ‘Sub nostris dilectis tillis Bojniciensibus’.
After the death of King Matej, the fortress was seized by the Zapolsky troops, who inhabited it till 1526. At this time a mighty fortification was built, which, with its walls and towers, has remained preserved till the present day. The lowering bridge at the entrance gate connected to the inner fortress walls interrupted at regular intervals by the four towers, with the outer enclosure fortification were also built at the same time.