9 Abandoned Castles That Are Haunting Shells Of Their Former Glory

Published September 9, 2020
Updated September 30, 2020

The Abandoned Spiš Castle In Slovakia

Spiš Castle Photo

mariejirousek/FlickrSlovakia’s Spiš Castle, known to Slovakians as Spissky Hrad, is one of the largest castles in Europe.

The Spiš Castle has a patterned history. It changed hands numerous times and it was often destroyed or rebuilt in a new style.

First built in the 12th century on the site of an even older castle in the northwestern region of Eastern Slovakia, the castle was destroyed soon after during the invasion of the Tartars.

In the second half of the 15th century, the Hungarian king donated the castle to the noble Zápoľský family and they rebuilt the once-Romanesque palace in a Gothic style. Zápoľský added a chapel dedicated to Saint Elisabeth and a knight’s hall. He also had the castle’s tower refortified, making it taller and sturdier.

The castle was long renowned for its architectural beauty and later became the birthplace of Ján Zápoľský, the last king to rule Hungary before the reign of the Habsburgs, who then gave the castle to Turzo family, who then rebuilt it in the Renaissance style.

Ascent To Spiš Castle
Castle Ruins
Church Near Spiš Castle
Inside Spiš Castle
Explore Spiš Castle
View Gallery

Finally, the last family to own the castle was the Csákys, but they left it in ruins after a fire in 1780. They held ownership of the palace until 1945, though.

Presently, the 900-year-old castle is owned by the state, which has transformed its impressive grounds into a hot tourist destination.

In addition to being one of the top tourist attractions in the country and a popular historical filming location, Spiš Castle was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993.

Natasha Ishak
Natasha Ishak is a staff writer at All That's Interesting.