Bojnice Castle – The Romantic Legacy of Slovakia (History & Travel Tips)

-

As Slovakia’s oldest monument, Bojnice Castle has a special place in the country’s cultural heritage. With a history that dates back to the twelfth century and a revamp that gave it a new face in the twentieth century, this castle now emulates a glamorous French chateau-style appeal. Let’s look at everything that it went through, and everything that it offers today:

The courtyard of Bojnice Castle has an underground cave. This is also the water source of the castle.

A view of the structure of Bojnice Castle.
A view of the structure of Bojnice Castle.
Advertisements

Frequently Asked Questions

FOR HISTORY | BEAUTIFUL IMAGES | INTERESTING FACTS | TRAVEL TIPS

Early History

Early Beginnings

The very first mentions of Bojnice Castle can be traced back to the Zobor Abbey documents from 1113. After that, its history is traced to its origins as a wooden castle that was rebuilt by the Poznan family in the thirteenth century. It was later taken by the Ugrian lord Matus Cak till 1321. After him, Bojnice was successively owned by many aristocratic families, including the Gileths, Leustachs, and more.

Bojnice Castle in the 1930s.
Bojnice Castle in the 1930s. Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

With the Thuzros

Bojnice Castle was inherited by King Matej Korvin’s illegitimate son (Jan Korvin), but was taken away upon the king’s death in 1526. A year after, Ferdinand I gave it to the Thurzo family. They were the first ones to start updates on the castle’s construction. Under their ownership, the fortress was converted into a beautiful residence that evoked all the beauty and symmetry of the renaissance era.

Portrait of Ferdinand Litho.
Portrait of Ferdinand Litho. Josef Kriehuber (1800-1876), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Under the Palfies

The seventeenth century saw the Palfies taking control of Bojnice Castle on a pledge of 200,000 gold coins from Ferdinand III. They were the ones who recreated Bojnice in a completely new Baroque image, but all refurbishments petered out by the end of the 17th century.

The oriental room at Bojnice Castle.
The oriental room at Bojnice Castle. The Oriental Room flickr photo by Kurayba shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Count Frantisek Palfi was the last of the Palfies to own Bojnice. He inherited the castle in 1852, along with the estate, and rebuilt the entire thing into a completely romantic image. He hired Jozef Hubert to articulate his vision and was in complete control of the whole process. It took 22 years for the whole project to be completed, but unfortunately, Palfi was unable to see the end product. He passed away in Vienna before the venture was finished. The last Count Palfi has been buried in a chapel that resides beneath the castle.

The large hall at Bojnice Castle.
The large hall at Bojnice Castle. The Large Hall flickr photo by Kurayba shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Current Times

Palfi died in 1908 and he did not have any heirs. His death resulted in many heritage-related conflicts amongst his relatives until 1923 when an agreement was struck between them and the sovereign state of Slovakia. The collections at the castle were put up for auction, and it was bought by the Bata company in 1939. Bojnice has been the property of the state since World War II and has been made a part of the Slovak National Museum.

The proud Bojnice Castle in all its romantic beauty today.
The proud Bojnice Castle in all its romantic beauty today. Nalimer, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Interesting Bojnice Castle Facts

  • The Papal Palace, along with French Gothic castles in the Loire valley and  Italian Renaissance buildings were used as the inspiration for the 1852 romantic remodel of Bojnice Castle.
  • The interior of the castle features furniture from the late 19th century, while the chapel even has a 14th-century Florentine altar.
  • The courtyard of Bojnice Castle has an underground cave. This is also the water source of the castle.
  • There is a 600-year old tree that’s a part of the Bojnice Castle complex. Its 12.5 m (13 yard) trunk is located directly in front of the castle entrance.

Visiting Bojnice Castle – Tips and Tricks

Bojnice Castle is a sight to behold, with its gorgeous romantic details and whimsical architecture. You’ll also love picnicking in its beautifully landscaped park. If you visit Slovakia, then here’s all the information you need to plan a visit:

Bojnice Castle with visiting tourists around.
Bojnice Castle with visiting tourists around. Bojnice Castle – Front Gate flickr photo by Kurayba shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

How to get to Bojnice Castle?

You can get from Bratislava to Bojnice Castle in 3 ways. First is via a 3-hour train ride €7-€11 ($8-$12 USD) to Prievidza, from where you can take a 5-minute taxi ride, €3-€5 ($4-$6 USD), to the castle. If you’re in for a longer ride, then take the hourly Autobusová stanica Nivy bus from Bratislava to Nitra at €3-€7 ($4-$8 USD), from where you’ll take another 2-hour bus ride to Prievidza €5 ($6 USD). From there, it’s a 5-minute taxi ride to Bojnice Castle. You can also make the 2-hour journey in your car at a cost of €20-€32 ($22-$35 USD).

Bojnice Castle enjoys an easily approachable location from the center of town. You can easily walk to it from the streets called Hurbanovo námestie and Zámok a okolie.

Ticket Prices, Visiting Hours & Travel Tips

Opening hours for Bojnice Castle vary through the year. From May to September, it opens at 9:00 am and closes at 5:00 pm. From October to April, it opens from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. 

The entrance ticket for an adult is €5.7 ($7 USD), while it’s €2.9 ($4 USD) for kids aged 6-15 years old. Any child below 6 years old can enter at a price of €0.70 ($1 USD). A night group tour can be availed at a price of €6.7 ($8 USD) per person, but only if there are more than 15 people on the roster.

The entrance at Bojnice Castle.
The entrance at Bojnice Castle. Phyrexian, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How Long Will It Take to Tour Around?

It takes around 3 hours to completely tour Bojnice Castle.

Some words of advice and tips: 

  • Don’t forget to take some pictures with the swans that reside in the castle moat.
  • If you’re a night owl, then you’ll really love the nighttime tours that the castle has to offer.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, because you won’t be able to resist taking a tour of the beautifully landscaped park that surrounds the castle!

Quick Video Tour of The Main Bojnice Castle Areas

Zunaira Ghazal
Zunaira Ghazal
Zunaira is an architect and designer on paper, but a writer at heart. She’s got a Bachelors in Architecture and a passion for traveling, both of which combine in her writings about timeworn castles and fortresses that have withstood the tests of time and stand proud to this day.

FOLLOW US

26,021FansLike
4,329FollowersFollow
23,522FollowersFollow