The last of the romantic castles I wanted to cover (when I ran out of month) is Orava Castle which sits on a high rock 520 meters above the Orava river in Slovakia. It is the castle they used to make the original Dracula movie back in 1922 and it looks as enigmatic by day, as it appears eerie by night. It is often shrouded in mist Below, you will find some links that will give you some clear views of it and there is one very nice daytime photo in my More Castles album. Check it out!
The first written documents of this castle date from 1267. It is known in the area by several names because of its position. The Hungarians call it Arva vara, to the Germans it is Arwaburg. It’s actual Slovak name is Oravsky hrad. Apparently there are primeval portions which were built into the natural formations. The 13th century castle had wooden ramparts and it was built of wood and stone. (The ground floor being built of stone with the storeys being built in wood. )
After 1474, King Matthew ordered that a square and residence be built in the middle portion of the castle. They were built in front of the already existing fortifications. Then in 1534 John of Dubovec became county head and the castle came into his possession. He also added to the castle by building a half-round tower at the upper portion then two large round fortifications to inside storeys which were for cannons to support them at the middle part. From 1539 to 1543 he also built a five storey palace between the tower and the stone wall of the upper portion. Raiding Turks made this necessary. A new gate with a ditch and drawbridge in the lowest part was completed in 1543 also another tower was added which is referred to as the "Tower of the Archives".
After John died his heirs quarreled over the inheritance and for so long that it was turned into a storehouse for awhile. A mine owner then took possession of it by the name of Frantisek Thurzo and he did extensive rebuilding. In the upper portion and the stairs leading to it from the drawbridge, he replaced wooden stairs with stone steps. He built a cellar in a part of the castle court and added a one-storey residence wing in the lower part of the western wall.
Juraj Thurzo also made some unusual changes such as putting a tunnel between both castle gates and a large terrace was formed over it. He moved the living wing and built a chapel from older portions of the castle. He is entombed in the chapel.
Sometime after Thurzo’s daughers inherited the castle, it was basically left mostly unattended and fell into ruin. Then a catastrophic fire in 1800 gutted most of the wooded parts of it, leaving it devastated.
Through Edmund Zichy, the administrator of the property, they set about to turn Orava into a regional museum. Showings started taking place about 1868 in Thurzo’s Palace, and today through more restoration by Joseph Palffy walls and other portions have been refortified with iron bars Some rooms were re-paneled in wooden tiles and authentically refurnished. In the Knights Room wall paintings were restored by the German artist Maximilian Mann.
In 1953 Orava was finally declared a national cultural monument. Here is a link to find out more:
Who loves you true blue?
The Castle Lady that’s whoooo-ooo!
Proverbe du Jour: Love lights more fires than hate extinguishes.
–Ella Wheeler Wilcox