Thursday, May 6, 2010
This castle is in the Small Carpathian Mountains in Slovakia, outside of Bratislava. It is called Hrad Cerveny Kamen (I know like six Slovak words, and one of them is "hrad"). What made it particularly interesting was that my friend had a summer job as a guide at this very same castle when she was in college. We saw several peacocks, including a white one. And a regular old peacock, but sitting in a tree- neither of us had ever seen a peacock in a tree before.
Cerveny Kamen (translated as "Red Stone" (the stone at the castle's foundations is red) was built in 1230 to mark the divide between the Hungarian and Bohemian realms by Queen Constance of Bohemia. In the 1500s, it was bought by a German family named Fugger that made a lot of money in mining copper. They rebuilt the castle, and in 1583 sold it to the Palffy family (who have some very nice palaces in Vienna). The Palffys lived there until 1945, and the estate was nationalized, along with everything else in Slovakia, in 1948. It's now a museum run by the national government.
Everything about the castle is immense, particularly the bastions, and you get a real sense of it as a fortification, as opposed to just a big house.
I liked the lion statues in the courtyard, because their open mouths make them look like they're smiling. The figure on the fountain is a stag standing on his hind legs, on top of a wagon wheel. If you tied antlers on my dog, he's look exactly like that that stag. It's a depiction of the Palffy family crest.