Nitra's Castle Hill - A Step Back in Time

in Pinmapple6 months ago

Some years ago I was convinced that I have seen most of Slovakia already. But the more I travel around the country the more I realize that it's not true. I love visiting places in my home country that I haven't seen before as we didn't travel at all when I was a child. When we go to visit my family we usually stay over night in Bratislava, but last time we decided to stay close to Nitra as we've been saying for ages that we would like to visit the city.

Nitra is one of the oldest cities in Slovakia as it dates back to the beginning of the 9th century. Of course, there were other settlements in this place before, but the city got its name in the 9th century and it also became one of the two principalities that formed the empire of Great Moravia. Nitra has great importance in the history of our country also because St. Cyril and St. Methodius stayed here during their work in Slovakia to bring religion to the Slavs in their native tongue. They had great influence on how our nation is formed even today and we learn a lot about them at school. There are also streets as well as a university named after them. History

Today, I will take you to the castle hill with us!

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It was such a hot day and we spent some time looking for a parking slot from where we wouldn't have to walk too far. At the end, we found a parking garage about 1 km away from the castle. It doesn't seem as far, but we were driving all night, and didn't have much energy to climb the hill anyway. But we were already there, and there was no way that we would leave the city without going up to the castle.

As you can see there is a forest on one side of the castle hill, and as it was the closest way to get up to the castle from where we were we decided to go straight through the forest without looking for a trail. When we approached the forest we noticed that there were more people with similar thoughts and there was a sort of a path leading us up. Well, it was not the best path for my slippers, but we managed and in less than 10 minutes we were already on top of the hill.

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When we arrived there we found ourselves in medieval Nitra. The houses date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, and are renovated in a way to preserve their historical value.

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The castle complex is surrounded with English-style park, and there is a long staircase that led us to the very top of the hill. I wonder how they keep the grass so green in such heat.

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The square in front of the castle complex is dominated by the Plaque column. The memorial commemorates the plaque outbreak in the 18th century that took way too many lives. Such memorials are built across many cities in Slovakia, and I'm sure that other countries have them as well.

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On top of the column is a golden statue of Virgin Mary, and below her are angels, saints, and lots of golden patterns. There is a lot of intricate details, and it's one of the most beautiful plague columns that I have seen. Somebody must be cleaning it regularly as it was shining.

Let's go inside of the castle complex!

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There are various tours that you can choose from. We took a long tour which was 6 EUR per person as it was the next available tour and we only had to wait for about 15 minutes. The tour includes guided visit of the cathedral tower, the cathedral itself, the diocese museum and the castle grounds as well.

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As we had some time before our tour we walked up a hill to a terrace with the statue of Pope St. John Paul II. This bronze statue was placed in front of the Bishop Palace in 2012. It's almost 4 meters tall and weights about 1500 kg. He visited Nitra in 1995. Statue

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This castle complex is unusual as it's also the seat of the Bishop who still lives in the palace. Some parts of the palace are open at certain times, but we were not lucky and couldn't visit it. We could only see the courtyard from behind the gate.

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And I also had to put my phone through the bars to take a photo 😊 I wonder how many people had to already ask for help to open the gate because their phone fell down behind it...

I have asked our tour guide to describe the interior of the palace and he told me that there were some genuine parts, but the biggest part of the palace was furnished in the style from the 70th as there was an institute in the premises during the Communism period.

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From the Bishop's palace we walked to the cathedral and we passed the Diocesan museum on the way. This would be the last stop of our tour, but we were not allowed to take photos there, so I can't show you what was inside. The museum focuses on liturgical tools, and there are also many relics as well as ancient chalices and monstrance. My husband is a big admirer of ancient chalices, so he had the best time there. Luckily, it was a guided tour as otherwise we would have spent there half a day!

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Let's go to the cathedral and first part of our guided tour - the cathedral tower!

The staircase leading to the cathedral is decorated with beautiful stone railing and some statues of the saints.

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In the beginning, we thought that it would be only the two of us with our tour guide, but soon other people joined us too. They didn't read the instructions properly and went inside of the cathedral instead of waiting outside, so they almost missed the tour. I actually wished they missed it as our tour guide said he could speak English if it would be only us. In the end, he translated some interesting facts to my husband too.

I am not sure how many stairs there are to get to top of the tower, but I think it was around 150. The staircase was wide and comfortable, so it was easy to climb.

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From the tower we enjoyed the views of the castle grounds as well as Nitra...

The tower was recently renovated and open to public only in 2015.

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Before we walked back down we could also climb a wooden ladder to see the old church bells. I didn't dare to do that in my slippers, and at first nobody seemed to be thrilled to climb it until my husband said that he would love to try it. Then we had to wait another 10 minutes as suddenly almost everyone wanted to do that.

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From the tower we walked directly to The Cathedral of St. Emeram. The cathedral was built and rebuilt over many centuries, but its oldest part dating to the 11th century is this small church.

It's such a magnificent construction with way too many details to see during the tour. I loved the marble walls until I learned that some of them are fake to save money. You can't see it, but when you touch it the fake marble is kind of warm while the real marble is cold. I didn't want too touch too many spots, so I touched only the two that our tour guide pointed at and he was right!

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During the last renovation work, this fresco of the Virgin Mary from the 14th century was uncovered. It was hidden behind an altar and this is probably why its condition is remarkable.

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The Upper church was added to the old church in the 14th century. The cathedral is one of the most important sacral constructions in Slovakia and its interior is impressive. There is so much gold that it almost hurts your eyes! 😊

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On the other side of the upper church is a colorful pipe organ as well as apartments of the bishop. The cathedral is directly attached to the palace.

There are many ceiling paintings and frescos. Can you see the painting of people looking into the cathedral through 'the open windows'?

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The cathedral used to be the only church far away, so all people had to walk up the castle hill to get there for the service on Sunday. Today, there are many churches in Nitra, but the cathedral remains active as well, and there are still services on Sunday.

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Our tour guide gave us some time to walk around a bit more before leaving the cathedral and going to the castle grounds.

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The exterior of the castle shows us various periods of its construction. There are some original parts, but most of the castle appearance as we know it today dates back to the 17th century. The newest part is the castle tower which was bombed in 1945 and rebuilt after the war.

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There is a small castle cafe located next to the well, so we took a break and ordered lemonades.

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We had the best views of the castle from there!

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Before we continued our trip we had lunch in the newly built restaurant attached to the castle wall from outside of the castle. It's a charming trendy place with great views of Nitra.

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I ordered what was labeled as a stew, but to me it was a curry 😊 Don't get me wrong. It was delicious, but it wasn't a stew.

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My husband had a vegetable tartar which was delicious too, but it wasn't enough for him, so we had to get a bag of crisps as well.

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After lunch, we walked back to the car and continued our trip to visit our family...

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It was a long and tiring day, and we didn't manage to see everything that we planned, so we will have to visit Nitra again 😊

Thank you for reading!

Cheers!
Martina

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Looking at your work I just felt the same emotion that I felt as a child of about 11 years old while browsing a magazine called "Geomundo" where I found articles full of beautiful photos and facts about related to distant places (it was the 70s, we only counted with those types of magazines and TV to quench the thirst of knowing places)... That's how good your work is!... Thank you very much for sharing!... I send a big round of applause and my best wishes for you and your people around @delishtreats friend!

!discovery 40
!VSC
!PIZZA

Thank you very much for your kind and thoughtful comment! 😊 I'm happy that you enjoyed my work! I was not around in the 70s 😁 BUT I enjoy reading National Geographics and GEO these days..

Have a lovely day!

What a marvelous place, it is precisely what I like! I've only been in Slovakia for one day, so obviously I need to go back in the future to visit what I can, but this place would be on my list for sure. Good thing we have pinmapple with its pins :)
The foooooooood looooooks deliciouuuuuuuuuuuus!!!!

Oh, let me know for sure when you go to Slovakia, I can give you way too many tips 😁 There are many places to see and you for sure need much more than one day 🙂

My ex-partner was born in Slovakia and we worked together here in South Africa and in the neighboring countries for 20 years. Now we are both retired, and I never knew that Slovakia was such an interesting place. The country certainly has an interesting history, and that castle is beautiful.
!PIZZA

Does that mean that you speak a few Slovak words? 😊 So she fled the country during the Communism period? I would do it too if I would be around at that time 😁

No, I think that I can remember only one swear word !LOLZ
It is he, as we were partners in a business long ago. He and his brother escaped hidden inside some big gas bottles from what I can remember. A very clever guy and still a good friend.
I won't blame you as apparently they had it very difficult under the communist rule.

I swapped our double bed for a trampoline without telling my wife.
She really hit the roof!

Credit: reddit
@delishtreats, I sent you an $LOLZ on behalf of papilloncharity

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Reading your post I discovered that even when I was a kid I didn't go on too many holidays, my parents were more careful and didn't let me have too much freedom, probably this is also the result that today I like to travel a lot.
By the way, your post is amazing (as are all your posts for that matter) following the specific pattern, the captivating description, the attractive pictures and the message sent.

In my case it wasn't as much about the freedom as it was about not having the money to do it 😊 But luckily, we can do whatever we want now and travel as much as we want 😊

I'm glad that my posts are not getting boring. I like to have a specific structure in all my posts and was worried that at some point people will get fed up with that...

All of your posts are some of the best I follow here in the community, I confess this to you without flattery or anything else, for me it is very simple whether I like or dislike what I read and see I am honest and if appropriate express my opinion.

My family (I mean my parents) even though we went through the communist period where we all know that there were extremely restrictive measures, they had the money to send me on holidays but they didn't want to let me for the simple reason that they wanted to protect me.

They were very afraid to let me go on children's camps or other trips for the simple reason that they were very worried about accidents, and I mean the means of transport used.

I'm not upset about that, since I've been financially independent, I've seen many, many amazing places.

While the exterior among the nature fascinated me, the interior with so much detail is really beautiful, those works of art are incredible.

Thank you for your wonderful trips and for sharing them with all of us @delishtreats , I love them!❤️

Thank you! 😍

Thanks to you for these trips!❤️

Every time I see a post from Slovakia, I really feel like i missed out by not visiting when I was travelling. I shall add this post to my scrapbook too, ready for the day I may be able to throw on a sack and hit the road once more.

Thanks for sharing and best wishes :-)

I hope that you get a chance to travel again. There are soooooo many places to see 😊

Thank you for stopping by!

Great to find a treasure like this near your family 🙂 We drive a lot to places in the States. People think we are crazy but we see so much of the country that way. Love the altar. Nice lunch too. Makes it easy to visit again haha

In terms of the size of the country it is not really near my family... it's actually on the other side of Slovakia 😊 but in terms of the US it's not even on the other side of a state.. it's about 500 km.

I find it important to see your own country to understand your history. It's great to travel abroad too and I love to do it, but there are way too many people who don't know their own countries at all.

The view from that high of a vantage point is really wonderful. The grounds are well maintained, and the initial column looked majestic. It's a shame that you weren't able to see more parts of the ground, but the Cathedral was mind blowing. I haven't been to a lot of cathedrals, but I've seen a good amount of paintings in them. This might be one of the best I've seen. It's like the whole inside of the cathedral is the canvas. The details of the painting are so impressive, and even the marble/wall used served as a sort of frame for some of the paintings.

My mother likes a lot of religious things, and I can't wait to show her the pictures. Thank you for sharing.

You said it so well, it's indeed like a canvas. I was also surprised to see a cathedral like this in Slovakia as we don't have many churches that are so full of paintings and frescos.

Say hello to your mom for me 😊

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The way we see old places that are much more beautiful is that their maps are also much stronger and the way we see that this place is located in a beautiful place where we have many there are also natural sights to see and when we have gone inside, there are many special things and there are many old things, the history of which increases a lot in human knowledge.

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