The ruins of Spiš Castle in eastern Slovakia form one of the largest castle sites in Central Europe. The castle is situated above the town of Spišské Podhradie and the village of Žehra, in the region known as Spiš . It was included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1993 (together with the adjacent locations of Spišská Kapitula, Spišské Podhradie and Žehra). This is one of the biggest European castles by area (41 426 m²).
History : Spiš Castle was built in the 12th century on the site of an earlier castle. It was the political, administrative, economic and cultural centre of Szepes County of the Kingdom of Hungary. Before 1464, it was owned by the kings of Hungary, afterwards (until 1528) by the Zápolya family, the Thurzó family (1531–1635), the Csáky family (1638–1945), and (since 1945) by the state of Czechoslovakia then Slovakia.
Originally a Romanesque stone castle with fortifications, a two-story Romanesque palace and a three-nave Romanesque-Gothic basilica were constructed by the second half of the 13th century. A second extramural settlement was built in the 14th century, by which the castle area was doubled. The castle was completely rebuilt in the 15th century the castle walls were heightened and a third extramural settlement was constructed. A late Gothic chapel was added around 1470. The Zápolya clan performed late Gothic transformations, which made the upper castle into a comfortable family residence, typical of late Renaissance residences of the 16th and 17th centuries. The last owners of the Spiš Castle, the Csáky family, abandoned the castle in the early 18th century because they considered it too uncomfortable to live in. They moved to the newly built nearby village castles/palaces in Hodkovce near Žehra and Spišský Hrhov.
Access : Coordinates: 49.000556, 20.768333 / Location: Košický kraj, okres Spišská Nová Ves, Žehra / Access: driving to the parking lot under the castle, then walking about 10 minutes, on foot from the village Spišské Podhradie (it takes about an hour).
Opening Hours : The Spis Castle is closed during winter. Season starts in April. The castle is open daily 9:00 – 18:00 (October – April: 9:00 – 16:00). Admission fee for an adult is 8€, for a child 4€. Contact : SNM – Spišské múzeum , Námestie Majstra Pavla č.40 – 054 01