The mysterious castle near Košice used to be bigger than Spiš

The nearby lookout tower provides a panoramic view of Košice for visitors.

(Source: František Iván, TASR)
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Several thousand tourists visit Hradová Hill, above Košice, every year. Besides the other attractions, one of the biggest draws is the ruins of a medieval castle, one of the biggest in Slovakia, when considered by area.

Some may be disappointed as there’s not much left visible of the castle itself. Moreover, who, when and why it was built it remains a secret. Direct evidence is missing.

“We call this castle above Košice mysterious, not because it is haunted but because we don’t know a lot about it,” said Ľuboš Porada, castellan of Košice castle and the head of the Castellum Cassovia citizen's association, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

But there is lots on offer to tourists. The castle is unique thanks to several interesting facts. One of these is the area of the castle, 6.5 hectares according to the last measurements. The more famous Spiš castle is smaller. In cases of emergency, about 6,500 people were able to hide here.

Interesting towers

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Another interesting aspect is the massive thickness of the walls, at some points they measure 3.6-3.8 metres. The triangular tower is also unique, as such towers are only found in three castles in Slovakia, the others being Uhrovec and Viniansky and the one here has the biggest ground plan, Porada noted.

Another peculiarity is the cylindrical tower located at the edge of the castle and not in the middle as is usual. The castle apparently did not evolve step by step, it was originally built this size. That could answer questions about its purpose and owner.

“We assume that it was either a king’s castle or a so-called refugee fortress that served as a shelter to hide citizens from the wider surroundings,” noted Porada, as quoted by TASR.

Castles of this size were usually built after the Tatar invasion in 1241. Some theories also say that the castle was maybe a part of Vyšné Košice – Cassa Superior, but we do not know the exact location.

More to see

Experts agree that the castle was never finished and fully functional. Construction materials were later dismantled and used on other buildings.

Hradová Hill offers other attractions besides history. There is a 21-metre high lookout tower offering a panoramic view of Košice and the surrounding countryside, lookout platforms, a net of educative and touristic paths and an information point where it is possible to see the costumes from the middle-ages. Moreover, visitors will find domestic animals and a herb garden here.

The Citizens’ association, Castellum Cassovia, is building an archaeo-park step by step with replicas of medieval settlements and workshops. During the tourist season, people can attend a series of events, for example a fencing tournament, a festival of medieval music and theatre and demonstrations of medieval cookery.

“We are trying not only to show the history, but to make it possible to taste it, touch it and feel it,” said Porada, as quoted by TASR.

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