The spirit of Slovak Christmas: Branč Castle

The castle is a must for history lovers.

Branč CastleBranč Castle (Source: VaGa)

It happened seven years after the death of his business partner, Jacob Marley. Ebenezer Scrooge, an ageing miser, who disdained Christmas, refused a dinner invitation from his nephew Fred. He also turned away two men seeking a donation from him to provide food and heating for the poor.

On this evening he was sitting alone in front of his cold and dark fireplace when he was visited by Marley's ghost, who was doomed to wander the Earth wrapped in heavy chains and money boxes, forged during his lifetime of greed and selfishness. Marley told Scrooge that he has a single chance to avoid the same fate: he will be visited by three spirits and must listen, or be cursed to carry much heavier chains of his own.

A poor man's curse

Does this story ring a bell? Something very similar could have happened many years ago on the Branč castle hill. The cold-hearted construction workers refused to help a poor man. The workers were stingy, started to laugh, and sent him away. The poor man cursed them: “The devil should take the castle and every piece of bread should change to stone!”

And it really happened. What the workers built during a day, some invisible power destroyed at night. The workers felt fear and despair. One day, another poor man advised them to scatter crumbs from their Christmas dinner table over the castle construction. So they waited until Christmas, hungry and hopeless. At Christmas time they did what the poor man advised and everything stopped.

A must for history lovers

Branč Castle is one of eleven mysterious Small Carpathian castles, located on the easily discernible cone-shaped hill, at the altitude of 475 m above the village of Podbranč. Once it protected the trade routes heading from Moravia to the Carpathian passes. Branč Castle had many famous owners, like well-known oligarch Máté Csák of Trencsén, or King Matthias Corvinus.

The castle is a must for history lovers, and the gently rounded hills of the Myjavská pahorkatina, a duty for hikers and cyclists.

And what about the Christmas miracle? The ungenerous workers of the Branč castle said no to someone, weak and poor, needing help. Sadly, something which happens every day. But there is always an another option. In the world where we can be anything, we can be kind. And we can listen to the voice of Christmas. Or to be allured by its miracle.

As Scrooge did. He awoke on Christmas morning as a changed man.

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:

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