Although the history of the castle started in the mid 14th century the first recorded settlement at the castle hill is much older. From the early Iron Age up to the late Roman period there was a Puchov settlement and in the 9th Century there was not only a Slavic settlement but also probably the oldest fort and entrenchment. The first written mention of Strečno dates from 1321 when King Karol Robert lifted toll charges for Žilina’s inhabitants at Trenčin, Budatin, Kysucke Nove Mesto (Jacatin) and Strečno.
Until almost the end of the 14th Century the castle was owned by the King and served as a toll gate. From this point onward the castle’s ownership has changed several times. The first private owner was Sudivoj of Ostroroh in 1397. In 1424, the castle served as Queen Barbara’s dowry in her marriage to King Zigmund of Luxemburg. At the turn of the 14th and 15th century it is most likely that a Gothic styled palace was built. During this time the castle became a safeguard for a loan that was given to the King. The castle´s next owners were Jan Capek of Sany then Stefan Pongrac, whose family came from Liptov. They had migrated to the Trenčin region and acquired both Strečno and Starhrad castle. In 1484 Strečno was passed on to Pavol Kinizi, a Hungarian Captain and owner of Lietava Castle. When he died in 1494 without any heirs, the Pongracs family sought to claim the castle but Pavol Kinizi’s widow (named Benigna) succeeded in keeping the castle until 1523 when she sold it to Jan and Juraj Zapolsky. Whilst Benigna was a castle owner it expanded significantly. At the turn of the 15th and 16th century new buildings were added; the north wing was completed with Chapel and palace, and the south wing with two palaces. Other changes included new fortifications, the north tower, main gate west of the castle and a new two-floor high palace on the east.
One of the last owners of the castle was František Vešeléni, the husband of Žofia Bošňáková. He inherited half of his father-in-law’s property whilst the other half (including half of the castle) went to the Esterhazy family.
The first archaeological research of Strečno was carried out between 1974 and 1975. It was organised by the Považské Museum and led by Andrej Sedo. Following difficult restoration work, it was opened to the public with an exhibition on the castle’s history. Today visitors can not only admire the castle’s interesting architecture but also archaeological finds such as ceramic remains, tiles, iron objects, coins, glass and pottery fragments, stones and clothing remains. During the excavation of the chapel, tombstones with Latin inscriptions were found and they are now on display. Groin vaults of the chapel, a stone coat of arms (Žofia Bošňáková’s) and a remains of a patterned relief (with oak leaves and oval shapes) and fragments of another with Frantisek Vaseleni’s name inscribed were also found during the excavation. In 1689 Žofia Bošňáková’s body was found in an open crypt inside of the chapel, and today a replica can be found in its place. Strečno castle was not inhabited and in 1698 Count Jan Jakub decided to have Zofia’s remains transferred to the Parish Church crypt in Teplička nad Váhom. Strečno castle attracts visitors not only for on account of its historical exhibitions but numerous cultural events are hosted there. The most appealing events are ‘The Night of the Museum’ (after hours visiting), ‘Castle Games of Žofia Bošňáková’ and the exhibition ‘Art at the Castle’, where both well-respected people and topics regarding culture and the natural sciences are presented.
Paseka is a reconstruction of a medieval village, located below the Strečno castle. The village was built according to authentical medieval buildings with thatched roofs. Paseka consists of wooden houses made in typical style from 10th – 12th century. In the village it is possible to visit fisherman’s house, baker’s house, healer’s house and the shelter for pilgrims. For visitors it is attractive relaxing area, where they can find a fireplace with grill, two wells, stage and playground for the most important visitors – kids. Construction of the medieval village has been implemented as a “staging area below the Strečno castle”.
Hrad Strečno a Paseka
Adults 5 € | Students, Pensions and those with disabilities 3 € | Children under 6 years free entry
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