THE VALLEY of the Váh river is flanked by the ruins of many castles. In its lower part, in the Biele Karpaty mountains, there are the ruins of a castle inseparably linked with the legend of the Bloody Lady of Čachtice.
Alžbeta Báthoryová, or Báthory Erzsébet in Hungarian, ruled from the castle from 1604. The legend has it that she sent servants to nearby villages to capture young girls and women, whom she tortured and killed to bathe in their blood. The girls were often orphans, as well as from noble families. Ironically, some aristocrats even sent their daughters to be raised in the castle.
Báthory reigned from 1585 to 1610, when justice finally caught up with her.
But the court showed leniency toward her. The king had ordered her put to death, but she ended up permanently imprisoned at the castle. This was because the judicial commission was headed by Palatine Turzo, who did not want to spoil the reputation of the feudal elite. This postcard from 1920 depicts Čachtice Castle in a reproduction of a painting by Jaroslav Letniansky.
21. Apr 2008 at 0:00 | By Branislav Chovan