Zvolen Castle (Zvolenský zámok)

Zvolen Castle



Location: Zvolen, Banská Bystrica  Map

Constructed: 14th century

Tel. (045) 530 32 19

Open: 9am- 5pm Mon- Fri


Description of Zvolen Castle

Zvolen Castle is a medieval citadel situated in Zvolen, Banská Bystrica in Slovakia.  Zvolen Castle was constructed in the 70's of 14th century by Hungarian king Loius I of Anjou on the bank of the Slatina River. It was certainly finished by 1382 when it became the site of engagement of his daughter Mary and Sigmund Luxerburger. A major reconstruction in the 18th century gave the military fortifications in the 18th century. The Royal Hall ceiling was covered by 78 portraits of Holy Roman and German emperors. Today the interior of the citadel contains a gallery presented by the Slovak National Gallery of various artists including Master Paul of Levoča.



It is located on an elevated terrace at the southern end of SNP Square. Along the western and northern walls there are roads, in the south there is a railway line.

The castle can be reached either on foot or by car along the road that leads from the square to the main gate, which is located on the northeast corner of the outer fortifications. There is also a parking lot by the road, another one is behind the Poľana hotel. There is a public transport stop Poľana by the chateau. There are sidewalks around the entire castle, where benches are installed.



The original seat of power was located above the confluence of Slatina and Hron on a steep cliff in the castle from the 12th century, today known as Pustý hrad. However, its inaccessibility resulted in King Louis I deciding to build a new castle in the years 1360 - 1382, according to the model of Italian city castles. The castle was restored at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, when it was owned by J. Thurzo. In 1548, a renaissance renovation took place, when the next floor, corner towers were completed and the cannon bastion was moved. Italian masters took part in the reconstruction at that time. Later construction interventions did not change the face of the castle. The most serious reconstruction concerned the baroque painting of the chapel in 1784 and the restoration of the hall, to which they transferred the wooden painted ceiling from 1712. The restoration of the monument took place in the middle of the 20th century.

King Louis I of Anjou, who built it as a Gothic hunting lodge, was especially responsible for the construction of Zvolen Castle. It was completed in its form in 1382, when it became the scene of his daughter Mary's engagement to Sigismund of Luxembourg. The history of the chateau does not forget Ján Jiskra of Brandýs, who became one of the most powerful dukes in Hungary in the 15th century and the chateau was one of its residences from 1440 to 1462. King Matej Korvín and his wife Beatrix often visited the chateau. , which later as a widow used the castle as a seat since 1490. Around 1500, the Thurz family built an external fortification along with four round bastions and an entrance gate, and in the middle of the 16th century, under pressure from the Turks, another floor with shooting galleries and corner towers was added. Around 1590, an artillery bastion was added. The castle gradually underwent several construction modifications, while the Renaissance one has basically remained to this day. Due to its historical, artistic and architectural values, it was declared a national cultural monument in the past and reconstructed in the 1960s (K. Chudomelka project, Stavoprojekt Bratislava, 1964; realization 1969). Today, it houses the Slovak National Gallery, which exhibits its exhibits here.



The castle was built on the site of an older church building, archaeologically found in today's courtyard during a comprehensive restoration of the monuments in the 1960s. The concept of the new hunting lodge was influenced by the Italian urban architecture of the aristocratic palaces. The castle, originally an un fortified palace, was built on a four-wing floor plan with two towers, incorporated into the floor plan of the building. A porch on stone consoles circled the courtyard, and a stone arcade made the space between a pair of towers. An important part of the castle was the multi-storey representation chapel, which also housed the royal emporium. Towards the city, there were a number of state rooms with a massive knight's hall, the walls of which were covered with frescoes and overlaid with a sophisticated wooden beamed ceiling. Architecturally exceptional in our conditions, they also solved the facades of the building with the emphasis on the representative wing, which illuminated the windows with stone cross bars. The architecture of Zvolen Castle was the culmination of the artistic efforts of the 14th century, due to the refined taste of the Anjou family, who called in experienced European builders and stonemasons.

Gothic saddles with tracery and the original frescoes have been preserved in the vaulted passage of the chateau. From the representative spaces, a special place is occupied by a chapel with architectural elements of the beginning of the late Gothic period, as well as a knight's hall and rooms vaulted on the middle pillar. Impressive is also the younger Baroque hall from the 18th century with a wooden painted coffered ceiling divided into 78 fields, in which the symbolic images of the Roman kings and Habsburg emperors are arranged chronologically and ending with the image of Charles VI.


The present

The Slovak National Gallery currently uses the castle premises for its permanent exhibition. The exhibition entitled Lapidary of Gothic Art, installed on the ground floor, collects architectural fragments and stone elements of the chateau, as well as the chateau chapel from the 14th century, transfers of murals from the former Zvolen rectory from the mid-15th century. Copies and facsimile castings of works by several of the most important woodcuts by Master Pavel from Levoča are installed here. The Old European Art exhibition on the first floor presents selected collections of painting schools - of Italian, French, Flemish, Dutch and German provenance from the 16th to 18th centuries. On the second floor there is an exposition of the Forestry and Woodworking Museum in Zvolen entitled From the history of Zvolen. In addition, other exhibitions are held here regularly.
In the castle chapel on the east side of the courtyard, Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic and Orthodox services are held, as well as concerts and marriages.
The Knights' Hall in the north-western part of the courtyard also serves as a wedding hall. In addition, there is a welcome to the life of the children and the presentation of awards for blood donation.
Various cultural and social events take place in the royal and pillar hall and in the north-western bastion.

It is also possible to visit the espresso and tea room in the castle courtyard.

Regular events
City Ball

Castle Music Spring - a series of classical music concerts.
Easter in the gallery - creative workshops for children.
Night of Fear and Laughter - a night tour of the castle combined with short performances and scenes.

MDD at the chateau - a tour of various attractions and performances for children.
Crafts at the castle - demonstrations of folk crafts associated with the fair.
Zvolen Castle Plays - an international theater and opera festival, held since 1974.

Download open-air - electronic music festival.
Zvolen Art Salon - a joint exhibition of members of the voluntary association of visual artists Zvolenská sedmička.

Summer Shakespeare Festival.

Christmas in the gallery - creative workshops for children.