Soľnohrad (Salt Castle) – Zbojnícky Castle (Castle of Bandits)

Soľnohrad (Salt Castle) – Zbojnícky Castle (Castle of Bandits)

The most diverse castle – Soľnohrad (Salt castle) is also known as Zbojnícky Castle (Castle of Bandits).

Under the name Soľnohrad, there used to be two castles six kilometres apart. The first castle once stood on a hill south of Solivar. Today, however, no traces have been preserved of the castle. The second castle still stands on the hill Zámek (661 m. above sea level) in the mountains Slánské vrchy above the municipality of Ruská Nová Ves. Nowadays, however, it lies in ruins. In 1288, Juraj Bokš was handed over Sopotok (Soľná Baňa – Salt Mine) with a salt spring and forests stretching as far as Topľa for his military services in the campaign against the Czech King Otakar. At that time he also received a permission to build a castle on the donated territory, on the place where a wooden Soľný castle (Salt castle) stood. Soľný castle was destroyed during the second invasion of the Tatars in 1285 and was never restored to its former glory. The new castle “Castrum Sowar” was not even finished when it was seized and ravaged by the then lord of the Šariš Castle, Wyck. Wyck rebuilt the castle, but in a short time it was destroyed again. The new owners were feared by the locals as they made a habit of attacking and beating the locals – thus the name Zbojnícky castle (Castle of Bandits). In 1715, the Regional Assembly decided to demolish some local castles, including Soľnohrad. The castle fell without resistance.
Of the original buildings, only small remains of the stone castle have been preserved on a small promontory (45×35 m) with steep slopes in the north, south and west. Its significant descent to the east created two natural terraces which were of a huge help during the construction of the castle. From this side, the castle was protected by a 13 m wide moat, which is still 2.5-3 m deep today. The moat was closed on the north side by a rock wall, on the south by a slope. The access road led through the slope protected by a small forecourt measuring 8×4 m built in the middle of the moat. The castle was protected from the eastern side by a rampart fortification.
In the highest southwestern part of the “upper castle”, right at the edge of the plateau (45×13 m) there stood a square tower with dimensions of 8×8 m, of which only half has been preserved. The upper castle was protected on the edges of the rocky plateau by a stone perimeter fortification, of which a 130 cm thick fragment on the south side has been preserved. The considerable height difference (13 m) and the narrow path allowed only for pedestrian access to the upper castle. In the lower part of the castle, the “lower courtyard”, which is only 10 m long, a part of the masonry perimeter fortification with a masonry thickness of 120 cm and a part of a circular tower with a diameter of 5 m have been preserved (the north side). This perimeter wall apparently stretched along the entire length of the courtyard to the entrance gate.


How to get there

How to get to the castle:  Zbojnícky Castle can be reached along a red-marked tourist trail from Ruská Nová Ves or a newly built educational trail “Waterway” with information boards leading along the reservoir, wetlands, stream and three wells.

Route length: 2,500 m

Estimated time:  30 -45 minutes without breaks

Difficultysuitable for all ages, easy hike



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