The mystic cords of memories: Havránok and Likava Castle

Visit the Celtic remnants and a beautiful castle hidden in forests.

The view on Liptovská Mara from HavránokThe view on Liptovská Mara from Havránok (Source: VaGa)

They are choleric and impatient, wrote Julius Caesar in Commentarii de Bello Gallico about the Gallic Wars. They were obsessed by war, loved fighting and adventure, as well as life and feasting. They enjoyed the present moment, hazardously and passionately, they were cheerful and carefree.

They gasped for fame, glorified their heroic acts, on the one hand they were brave and risked their lives, on the other, they were naive and pathetically sentimental.

They are inconsistent and long for innovation, but they are ingenious and creative, wrote Caesar.

Elegant. And courteous. Their women were courageous and loyal.

Speeches were a dynamic power for them, writing was something barren, only for gravestones. They said speech changes its rhythm according to the speaker. Therefore little of their thoughts survived. And therefore they are mystic Celts for us.

Still, something remained!

The remnants in Slovakia

They settled down on our territory long before the Slavs. The names of rivers, the Biatec coins, and mysterious settlements called oppidum stayed. And endured.

The ancient Celtic settlement Pohanská was in the Záhorie region, near Plavecký hrad castle and Molpír in Smolenice.

And in the Liptov region. There lived the Celtic Cotini tribes and they built an oppidum also. Its current name is Havránok.

A road though the forested, open-air archeological site, Havránok, is a road centuries long. Imagine, your eyes are attracted by the tall, white-dressed man, a Druid, preparing the fire for the Beltane ceremony. And you touch one of the mystic stones, a menhir, promising fulfilling of your dreams, and suddenly you find yourself in the 5th century BCE. You stand in front of circular wooden Celtic houses. Before the house, by the well, blond women gossip, above the kick wheel a man bows. The tall, muscular soldiers with blue eyes and bright hair try on armour and two-wheel carriages. The discussion of the king and priests flows in the air from afar.

The road in time through Havránok, its sacrificial place, with the view of the Liptovská Mara, the largest artificial water reservoir in Slovakia and of the melancholy Chočské vrchy mountains, will continue to the Liptovský or Sielnický hrad castle, the highest located castle in Slovakia. The castle was built in 1260, after the devastating Mongol invasion.

Hidden in forests

Only a while from the castle is Mních mountain, where once a settlement and a Templar monastery were situated. There was a secret underground tunnel from this mountain to Likava Castle.

The castle is located above Likavka village, near Ružomberok. It is one of the most beautiful castles in the Liptov region, built in 1315 to protect the Váh River crossing and the main trade route to Krakow.

Here, the road in time, starts with buying a ticket in the small box office at the entrance. Here in the Hunyady tower you can admire the permanent exposition of real and practical examples of feudal justice. Here at night you can meet the black lady Helen, or the greedy and nasty castle lord carrying his head under his arm.

Or you can open your mind dreamily to the forests, to see the oak trees with mistletoe, the tears of the mystic trees, which brought Celts health and happiness. And you will see the Celtic message: "Respect the gods, be brave and kind."

And at this moment you will feel pride that these mystic Celts, with Greeks and Romans, placed the ground stone of our European civilization.

VaGa Agency is an incoming company concentrating on active, adventure, bike and sport tours in Slovakia, in the unique, authentic and safe country, far away from mass tourism; offer undiscovered and amazing places, tailored-made solutions and very professional individual guiding. For more information please visit: vaga.agency.

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