History of The West of Slovakia – Trencin and Trencin Castle

July 14, 2016

Trencin is one of the three oldest Slovak towns, located in the western part of Slovakia in the middle of the beautiful hilly countryside of the White Carpathians, Povazsky Inovec and Strazovske Hills, only about 120 km north of the capital Bratislava. Thanks to its strategic and geographical location in the valley of the Vah River, Trencin had always belonged to the most important towns in Slovakia.

Trencin and the Romans

At the beginning of our era, when the Romans pushed the boundaries of their empire closer to the Danube River and built their ingenious system of fortifications called Limes Romanus, they gradually set up fortified camps north of the Danube, too. In Trencin they left the original proof of their presence – the memorial inscription on the vertical wall of the castle rock commemorating the victory of emperor Marcus Aurelius and his son Commodus over Quads in Laugaricium in 179 AD. According to the Latin text on the inscription 855 Roman soldiers of the II. legion led by legate Maximilian were fighting in Trencin back then. The battles were part of a major military conflict taking place between 166 and 180 AD, so called Marcomanni wars.

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Trencin in the medieval times

First traces of the town lying underneath the massive castle date back to 1111 when it was a market settlement. The history of the town and its castle were closely connected in the following centuries. The town was ravaged during the invasion of Tartars in 1241. The good days came after 1275 when the castle became property of an important magnate Peter Cak, but mainly at the end of the 13th century when his son Matus Cak became ruler of almost the whole territory of present-day Slovakia. The town obtained various privileges and rights in the medieval times. King of the Hungarian Empire, Sigismund of Luxemburg, who also had Bratislava Castle turned into an impregnable gothic defense fortress, promoted Trencin to a free royal town in 1412.

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Trencin Castle

Trencin Castle is a splendid landmark and the dominant of the city. There was an administrative centre of the adjacent region on the site of today’s castle in the period of the Great Moravian Empire (approx. 900 AD). The castle was built in the 11th century as a border fortress guarding the important fords across the Vah River and the Carpathian passes which were the trade routes linking the north of the Hungarian Kingdom and its midland mining towns like Banska Stiavnica or Kremnica with Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and Poland. In the following centuries the castle became the seat of the border administrative unit, Royal and later Noble County. Today, there are expositions of Trencin Museum inside its ancient inner premises.

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Trencin at present

After 1989 the town has gradually changed into a very modern and welcoming city. The historical centre has been reconstructed; you can enjoy your meal and drink in one of the cozy restaurants on the central pedestrian zone in the nice and clean environment and with an outstanding view of the castle. If you plan to visit Slovakia, Trencin and Trencin castle are definitely worth a visit!

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Some more places to see in Trencin

  • The historical city centre
  • Parish Church
  • Parish stairs leading from the square to the church – built in 1568
  • Funeral chapel and ossuary of St. Michal next to Parish Church – the only preserved Gothic building in Trencin
  • The original Town Gate from the 15th century
  • Lower Gate (Turkish) – typical by the Gothic arch with two Latin inscriptions and the coat of arms. One of the inscriptions says: “If God does not guard the city then the one who does it does it in vain”
  • Roman inscription on the castle rock from 179 AD
  • Neologic Jewish synagogue from 1913
  • Baroque Piarist Church of Francis Xaver
  • Evangelic Church
  • Executioner’s house with a torture chamber – Matusova street, city centre

If you need to help plan your stay or would like us to arrange your tailor-made tour that includes Trencin or any other Slovak top spots, we will be pleased if you contact us.

Have a great day folks and don’t forget: Visit Bratislava – Visit Slovakia.