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Nitra Castle

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NITRA CASTLE

The Castle of Nitra is considered to be one of the most signifi cant features of Nitra. It was built on a limestone rock, which is surrounded by the meander of the Nitra River from three sides. The Castle of Nitra is a cultural heritage and together with the Upper Town on the southern slope of the castle hill was proclaimed a Town Conservation Reserve. The Castle of Nitra consists of four independent parts: the cathedral, bishop palace, outbuildings and outer walls with one entrance gate.

The Parts of the Castle of Nitra
The castle area can be approached by an entrance gate with an oblique ground plan. The inner renaissance gate of Bishop Mošóci was built in the 16th century. The outer gate of Bishop Pálfy from the year 1673 with the great support of artillery had a very important role in a defence of the castle in the past. There is located the Cathedral of St. Emmeram in the castle area. It was created by the connection of three buildings of diff erent architectural styles. These are the Romanesque Church of St. Emmeram (11th century), the Upper Church (14th century, originally gothic) and the Lower Church (17th century).

The Church of St. Emmeram is considered to be the oldest part of the cathedral. The Romanesque church has a Romanesque apse in a shape of a horseshoe, which is separated from a square nave by an arch from the 14th century, and similarly as the nave dates back to the 14th century. The original building was damaged and then shortened, to make enough space for supporting pillars of the Upper Church in 1328. After finishing the constructions of the gothic church, a part of it was used as an archive. In 1465, after it burnt down, the Romanesque part of the castle church was raised and vaulted by ribbed vaults. Interior part of the church was rebuilt to its present form during years 1930 and 1931 as a part of the preparations for Pribina Festival in 1933. It was artistically decorated by works of Slovak artists: J. Poslíšil – stylized state, county and Slovak emblem on the western wall; Karol Kmeťko – relic remains of St. Cyril; Ľ. Fulla - colourful stained glass windows with the figures of St. Andrew and St. Benedict. Other precious works include a beaten silver chest from 1647, which hides remains of saints and patrons of the church and a relief sculpture from the 13th century, which was found in 1930. For it depicts a donator sitting on the model of the church, it is known as the donator relief.

The Upper Church (gothic church with one nave) was built on the highest point of a rock elevation between years 1333 and 1355. The church ensured its gothic appearance until the beginning of the 18th century. The Upper Church was modified – the Lower Church was built to it. The whole inner part was united; outer adaptations involved an erection of baroque Chapel of St. Barbara. The author of frescos and paintings of the chapel is an Austrian painter of Italian origin A. Galliarti. The main altar of St. Saviour with massive columnar architecture sanctifi ed in 1732 belongs to most valuable relics of the Upper Church. The renaissance font (1643) was placed to a niche. The font was created by M. Weigel in Banská Bystrica. On the occasion of Cyril and Methodius celebrations in 1933 the Upper Church was enriched by a huge organ made by O. Važanský.

The Lower Church was added only at the period of conquering troops of Gabriel Bethlen and is the youngest part of the castle cathedral. Interior of the Lower Church is decorated by a beautiful altar from 1662. It is considered to be one of the most precious artistic relics of the whole cathedral. The main part of the altar is a work of an Austrian sculptor J. Pernegger, a plastic relief called the Deposition from the Cross. Under the main plastic a marble relief named the Saving to the Grave was placed. Except these two plastics there are also three side-on altars from the 18th century and three tombs of Bishops of Nitra from the 15th and 16th centuries in the Lower Church. One of the last discoveries in this part of the cathedral is a gothic fresco. Painting techniques and style of uncovered fragments lines this fresco to signifi cant examples of spreading the Italian Trecento in the Middle European painting around the year 1400. The entrance to the Lower Church is also the entrance to the cathedral. In 1642 a church tower was added to the southern wall, next to it is situated a two storey sacristy with a high number of artistically valuable liturgical objects (chalices – late gothic, baroque and classicistic, baroque monstrance from 1692, baroque incense from 1775, which originally belonged to Zobor Monastery and many other exceptional works. On the territory of the Castle of Nitra are situated some crypts. One of them is a crypt under the sanctuary, which was ordered to be created by Ladislav Adam Erdődy, the Bishop of Nitra between 1706 and 1736. The crypt was a burying place of bishops and canonists. Today, the entrance is from the outer side, in the wall of the Upper Church from Vazul´s tower. The first Bishop buried at this place was Bishop Ján Gustíni – Zubrohlavský. There have been several Bishops buried in the crypt after 1988: Ján Gustíni, Jozef Kluch, Jozef Vurum, Imrich II. Paluďaj,Augustín Roškováni, Imrich III. Bende, Karol Kmeťko, Eduard Nécsey and Ján Pásztor. The canonical crypt is situated in the eastern part of the castle hill courtyard close to the castle well. The crypt was created from the artillery casemats of a northern bastion, the entrance was covered with a stone plate. Canonics have been buried here since 1863.

Late baroque Bishop Palace was added to the castle cathedral from the western side. It consists of three floors and a courtyard. Its present appearance dates back to years 1732 – 1739. Recently the Bishop palace was used by Archaeological institute of Slovak Academy of Science, but it is a seat of Nitra Bishop again today. In front of the entrance to the courtyard of the Bishop Palace is situated a courtyard of the castle with a park and a terrace.

Cathedral Church – the Dome of St. Emmeram
Open to public:
April - October Monday– Saturday: 9.00-12.00, 13.00-18.00 h, Sunday: 10.00-12.00, 13.00-17.00 h
November – March Mo – Su: 9.00-12.00, 13.00-16.00 h

 

Diocesan Museum of Nitra Diocese
The part of the castle area is also Diocesan Museum, which was opened for public in former outer building as the first diocesan museum in Slovakia in 2007. On the ground floor of the museum are deeds, diff erent documents connected to the beginning of the Christianity at our territory, models of archaeological discoveries, for example pyxidis from Čierne Kľačany, the oldest manuscript on the territory of Slovakia – the Nitra Gospel from 1083, copies of Nitra Deeds from 1111 and 1113. There is a collection of liturgical objects in a basement, such as chalices, monstrances and crosiers. The most interesting are the chalice of Udalric de Budy, baroque chalice and monstrance of Bishop Jakub Hašek.

Diocesan Museum of Nitra Diocese
Phone.: +421 (0)37 772 17 47
Opening hours: April – October Tuesday – Sunday: 10.00 – 18.00 h, November – March Tuesday – Sunday: 10.00 – 15.00 h


Vazul´s tower and the castle well
Once on the place of the present Vazul´s tower stood a fortress which was gradually being rebuilt. Vazul´s tower originally had two floors with two entrances from courtyard and the castle gallery. Downstairs were situated loopholes for cannons, upstairs two windows were placed eastward and one northward. Vazul´s tower doesn´t have a sloping roof on older photographs. It was built only during the last reconstruction of the castle. The wall and the tower form a small close with the castle well, which depth used to be 60 metres at least. There was the pumping equipment with a big wooden drum for hauling water above it.

The Casemates
The exposition of the casemate is situated in a south-eastern bastion of the castle. It is an archaeological exposition presenting ventricular Great Moravian wall and changes of a fortification system of the Castle of Nitra. The Casemate was created during the reconstructions of walls after the war between Turks and imperial army in 1664, when the whole fortifi cation of the castle was severely damaged. From this period also comes the new bastion fortifi cation. Western and southern walls of the bastion form walls of the present casemate. Though, this space was filled with filling fortifying masonry walls in those times. A surface of the terrain was on a level of a lower part of a vault. In 1663 the castle was conquered by Turks. A year later imperial army to capture the castle dug so-called conquering corridors on western and eastern sides of the castle hill. One of them, which also led to a south-eastern bastion, joins the southern wall of casemate, can still be seen today in this exposition. After these battles Bishop Tomáš Pálffy built a new castle fortifi cation. The older south-eastern bastion was fenced by a new wall on the southern side. The space between walls of old and new bastions was not filled up, but vaulted and remained empty. That was the time then the present image of casemate with loopholes was shaped to protect an access to the castle gate.

Casemates

Phone: +421 (0)37 772 17 47
Opening hours: April – October: Tu – Su: 10.00 – 18.00 h

Permanent exposition “From the Great Moravian wall to the baroque bastion.


The Gothic Ditch
An inner ditch of the castle formed a fortifi cation system in Middle Ages. Today, after the reconstructions in the year 2011, is being used as a summer open-air theatre. During the summer months outdoor film projections and concerts take place there. The Gothic ditch is freely accessible for each visitor. It is situated in the south – eastern part of the castle area.

 

Castellum Cafe
Námestie Jána Pavla II. č.7, tel. 0915 882 354
coffee, restaurant
open daily 10.00 to 22.00 h
www.nitrianskyhrad.sk/castellum-cafe

 

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