Słowacka Polska 

Monday - 15 November 2021     Amielii, Idalii, Leopolda     "Życie tylko dla samego siebie jest korozją osobowości". Wiktor Hugo    

Seen from the Plaveč castle…
Already on the Slovak side, by the Poprad valley, stand the remnants of one of the oldest castles in Szarisz – called Plaveč in Slovak, Pławiec in Polish and Palosca in Hungarian. Surrounding hills of Beskid Sądecki and Góry Lewockie form a magnificent setting for the now totally forgotten ruins. Neglected by people, but not by nature – verdure penetrates every possible crack in walls and sprouts on what got covered by soil. The vegetation gives the place lot of charm in spite of depressing condition of the buildings.
According to tradition, the castle and locality beneath it owe their name to the Kipchaks (Polish: Połowcy), known also as the Cumans, an Altai tribe which Hungarian king Bela IV settled in the 13th century in the borderlands to protect the frontier.
Plaveč was initially a royal property. The first mention about this place comes from 1269, when Bela IV exchanged it for other estates in the Liptów region. The castle was erected in strategically important place, at the intersection of the Torysa and Poprad valleys, to protect the ford on the Poprad River on the route to Poland.
Initially, a stone tower was standing in the place where later a knight from Szepes named Ditrich, or his son Arnold, founded a Gothic castle. However, in a place of such a great strategic importance, some fortifications, most likely wooden, must have probably been standing already in the 12th century. For a short time the Plaveč estates were in the hands of Kraków’s bishop Jan Muskata, who owned nearby Muszyna too. The bishop gained these lands in reward for the services he rendered to king Władysław V, known in Poland as Wacław III. In the years 1323-1366, of king’s will, Plaveč remained in the hands of the Drugeth family. After heirless death of the last of them, king Zygmunt Luksemburski (1387-1437) granted the Plaveč estates together with the stronghold to the Babeks. In 1499 the castle was captured by The Bohemian Brothers led by Peter Aksamit. They managed to keep it till the death of their leader in 1458. Shortly after, The Brothers were driven away by Emeryk Zapolya, to whom the castle and surrounding lands were offered by the king as a token of gratitude. In 1505, as a result of exchange, the Plaveč estates became a property of Michał Horvath from Łomnica. The Horvaths, who kept the castle till mid-19th century, took the name Paloczay after the estate. They rebuilt the castle several times, to give it the character of a comfortable residence in step with current trends. First, they changed the Gothic castle into a Renaissance palace, and in the 17th century transformations became so thorough that the castle lost its defensive character. This saved it from the demolition ordered by the emperor Karol for all fortified buildings in 1715. However, another reconstruction in 1830 affected the walls’ statics to a degree so high that the Paloczays had to leave the castle for safety reasons. The abandoned castle was destroyed by fire in 1856, and one year later the last of Horvaths-Paloczays died heirless. New owners were not interested in the reconstruction of burned down buildings. Left without care, the castle has been deteriorating for over 150 years. Renovation works undertaken in the 1970’s did not stop this process. They must have been interrupted due to lack of funding anyway.
The castle’s oldest feature was a tower house of dimensions 9 x 8 m, with walls almost 3 m thick, built on the top of the mountain. It was incorporated into the Renaissance buildings, similarly to the Gothic castle. Two-storey Renaissance palace was designed as a rectangle with semi-round towers in the corners. According to the description from 1644 the complex consisted of the tower house, the new palace (including a presentable wing, the owner’s house and kitchen), a small chapel, old palace and two towers: round and semi-circular, which flanked the entrance to the castle. At the foot of the castle there was a grange, the so-called “majer”.
The castle still looked impressive at the 19th/20th centuries transition, although the roofs were already ruined. The palace’s walls, with high windows, were preserved to their full height, and one of the towers was still crowned with the remnants of a Renaissance attic. In the 20th century, after the collapse of a large fragment of the wall, the palace lost its characteristic silhouette. Today, small parts of the walls stand out among lush verdure, overlooked by the remnants of the palace’s two semicircular corners, with characteristic, big window openings. Is their fall only a matter of time? Let’s hope not…

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