Pohronie Region. A Magical Place of Unexpected Surprises

Pohronie is a region of the drainage basin of the river Hron. 300 kilometers long, it is the second longest river in Slovakia. Its spring can be found not far from Telgárt, and it flows into the Danube. The first shepherd tribes settled in its drainage basin in the middle of the 2nd millennium BC and learned how to use copper ores in the river’s valley. From the 17th century to the 1930’s, cargo of timber was floated on the Hron and its tributaries; important roads ran through the valley already during the Roman Period.

Today, the Hron on its way runs through 72 towns and villages, including Želiezovce and Jur nad Hronom. Even though Hron isn’t navigable for either freight nor passenger ships, it is navigable for canoes, rafts or kayaks. Everything you need for such adventure can be found in Jur nad Hronom.


Directly by the river there is Camping Vodník, which offers accommodation in simple cabins, caravans or tents. Can you also hear the guitar, rambler songs and smell the aroma of smoke and fried bacon in your head when you think of camping? That’s exactly how it comes alive at the start of the season with the voices of visitors – families, colleagues and friends, who came to experience a little wilderness.

Camping Vodník offers not only accommodation, but also basic infrastructure, hygiene and catering, the option to buy drinks, grill and barbecue and games for children. It’s a great starting point for trips to the surroundings in the Tekov region. Visitors needn’t be at a loss as to where and how to go, because all information is willingly provided by the camp’s manager.

Camping Vodník is a favourite paddlers’ destination, who can sail down and pass from Jur nad Hronom to Želiezovce or even to the Danube, to Štúrovo. River rafting is possible in the opposite direction as well – from Kalná nad Hronom to the home base. Camp workers can willingly drive you to Kalná nad Hronom by appointment and if you don’t have your own paddlers’ equipment, you can borrow everything necessary on site.

Sailing down the river will be safe if you follow the instructions and experience of camp workers. But beware! As the boss of Camping Vodník and lifelong paddler pointed out to us, the view of the world from water is completely different. Maybe you’ll become enthusiastic paddlers after your first passage as well.


Folk House Duba Tájház

The authentic house of the Dubovci family is also located in Jur nad Hronom. It’s no open-air folk museum, but the original house from 1860. It is completely furnished with hundreds of items from everyday life of the household. The kitchen, the room, the storeroom and the stove transfer visitors to the times when the whole family used to meet and live in the house.

Wardrobes full of period clothing and everyday items create the impression that one only needs to move in again and the house will come alive.

A well-maintained farmstead belongs to the house as well and the visitors can see numerous original farming tools. One of the house’s rooms is a furnished school classroom with rich pedagogical documentation from the 1900’s.

The house’s surroundings are picturesque, they radiate peace and prove long-time loving care of their owners. All I can do is say thank you for preserving this piece of history for us. How? The best way is by genuine interest in and respect for troubled fortunes and times which people have experienced in the last 150 years.


The House of Battle Glory

The Pohronie region was inspirational not only for Franz Schubert. It inspired Marcus Aurelius too, a Roman emperor with the unwritten title Philosopher King. During one of his military campaigns around year 168 around the river Hron, he wrote the opening sentences of the 12-book cycle which is known today as “Meditations”. The timeless work dealing with stoic thoughts still speaks to readers today.

One of the relics reminding the battles of Roman armies near the Hron is the Column of Marcus Aurelius in Rome, which depicts scenes from battles in this territory. However, these battles were not the only ones witnessed by the river Hron.

On March 25, 1945, the Bratislava-Brno Offensive commenced. The river in Kalná nad Hronom became the key place in the liberation battles. History enthusiasts are certainly aware of the Offensive, the rest of us can pay our respects to the liberators by visiting the House of Battle Glory in Kalná nad Hronom.

The place is not only a memorial site, but also an exposition with detailed overview about the liberation battles including period weapons, maps and written documents. The sight of a long list of names and weapons, now harmlessly lying in display cases, unwittingly moves a person. I personally read with interest the original period written documents, which, using plain bureaucratic style, suggested how common people in nearby villages lived, too.

The premises of the House of Battle Glory are easy to recognize – you can see war equipment in its courtyard, which is located near the main road Levice – Nitra.



Time in Pohronie

On the banks of the Hron sat Marcus Aurelius, Franz Schubert, the armies of various nations and today even us. Pohronie is a magical place, where perceptive visitors feel history almost tangibly. So much happened! A river flows like human life, like time. So, safe passage and visit Pohronie sometime!

Pukanec, a Former Gold-mining Town

Pukanec is a former free royal mining town located on the southern slopes of the Štiavnické vrchy Mountains. The nearby Sitno and other ancient volcanoes created silver and gold veins in their underground. It is because of these precious metals that mining engineers and miners from Germany were invited to this town. They formed the architectonic character of the future town. Apart from gold and silver, Pukanec has a favourable climate for fruit farming, gardening and viniculture.

Pukanec’s history dates back to the 11th century. For decades, Pukanec was the home of miners, nobility, scientists and ecclesiastical figures of Hungarian, German and Slovak nationality. Warlike conflicts over the centuries didn’t spare Pukanec, be it Turk raids or battles of Hungarian nobles or bishops’ armies. Thick defensive walls witness to troubled times; they are still preserved in some places and contribute to the characteristic atmosphere of the town. However, even though they were under construction for almost twenty years, they were never completed and in 1640 there came, as recorded in the archives, the Terrible Night of Pukanec, when the town almost completely burned down. It wasn’t the only instance when Pukanec burned down and in the early 18th century, plague spread through the town. The relics from these tragedies and troubled fortunes as well as works of skilled craftspeople can be seen by visitors of Pukanec even today. Let me invite you for a tour.

Town Square

The square with a typical German ground plan has a Protestant church directly at the centre. The original Protestant church originated in Pukanec with the arrival of German businesspeople already; the residents of Pukanec were mostlyProtestants (during the time of the Reformation) and the worship services took place in St. Nicolas Church. During the Anti-Reformation Period, the sanctuary had to be returned to the Catholic Church and after the issue of the Patent of Toleration by Joseph II., a toleration Protestant church was built on a hill behind the city walls between 1783 and 1784. In 1934 to 1935, a new Protestant church was built in the square in the place of a demolished pharmacy. The church is a prominent landmark of the square to this day. If you admire functionalism, don’t miss it.

In front of the Protestant church there is a Holy Trinity column, a baroque sculptural group from 1740, a few steps further across the road there is a small building of the Fire Station, today serving as a museum.

Fire Brigade History Museum

Visitors can admire a functional historical fire engine with its equipment directly from the street, but it is worth visiting the upper floor with the fire brigade museum exposition as well. The exhibits include uniforms and commemorative items.

The most important ones are written documents and fragments of a chronicle. Due to the fiery past of Pukanec, very strict anti-fire rules applied in the town. Do you know what the penalty for arson was in Pukanec? The convict was not only sentenced to three years of prison, they also had to suffer regular fasting and beating with a stick!

St. Nicolas Church

Directly near the Fire Brigade Museum there is the entrance to St. Nicolas Church. Honestly, I have visited many churches in various countries in my life. For a time, I agreed with my friend Carlos from Brazil, who claimed that all churches in Europe look the same on the inside.

Well. They do have something in common. The altar, the pews, the chandeliers, the statues. The stained-glass windows.

And then there are churches that leave one breathless with their atmosphere. Churches like the one in Pukanec, which has a fascinating, unique ceiling, extremely beautiful gothic altars – there are four smaller wing altars apart from the main one in the church – and many other valuable historical artefacts. If you were to see only a single church in your life, hurry to Pukanec. Maybe you too will forget what day it is and why you came.

Mining, Crafts and Fruit Farming

Nothing stays forever, not even the silver and gold supply in Pukanec mines. In the 19th century, the last mine was closed and, sadly, that was the end of the most glorious period of Pukanec’s history. In 1876, Pukanec stopped being a free royal town and in 1891 it became a village.

In the 17th century already, mining started to be replaced by crafts. Coopers, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, locksmiths, cobblers, wheelmakers and potters. What masters those were!

You can admire the works and the tools of the old masters in the Pukanec History Museum. You can visit an original and functional potters’ workshop on the Štiavnica Road, you just need to make an arrangement. Master potters work in the workshop, creating clay items for everyday use including mugs, bowls, dishes, but also roasting pans and marble cake moulds or decorative trinkets. After firing the vessels, they paint them with traditional as well as more modern ornaments.

Black Mulberry

The most famous Pukanec fruit is the mulberry. On the Pukanec estates, there grow as many as 470 such trees, some of which are more than 300 years old. A massive tree with fruit, which can readily be classified as superfood due to its content of medicinal substances, is at home in Pukanec.

You can find here not only the beginning and the end of an educational trail, but also growers and breeders, who will willingly show and tell you what the mulberry can do. All you need is to arrange a visit.

Wine and Rest in Pukanec

We concluded the visit of Pukanec in the Greatest Pukanec Cellar. It is located out of the town, in the forest and it really deserves its name. Wines mature in it and it is possible to taste them after an appointment. Accommodation in a furnished cottage is also available near the cellar.

Forest silence, the cellar and the vicinity of a mining road gives unique atmosphere to the town. Maybe, like us, you will be reluctant to leave Pukanec, but at least you’ll promise yourselves that you will return here.

Levice Town Cellars

The town of Levice covers 61 square kilometres. However, no one can probably count how many secret passages and cellars are in Levice underground. One of such spots is almost directly on the Heroes’ Square in the town centre.

When visitors carefully descend via steep stairs, they immediately know where they are. The smell of wine and wine yeasts gently tickles the nose. Today, the cellar is stylishly illuminated so that visitors can fully enjoy the view of the period stone walls and vinicultural tools.

Heavy wooden barrels, presses, mills, baskets for straining pressed grapes, iron scissors and many other tools remind us how hard it is to change grapes into wine.

At present, it is possible to arrange a tour of Levice Town Cellars with a professional guide commentary. It is also possible to visit them as a part of traditional cultural-gastronomic programmes or wine tastings.

When visitors come out after spending time in the town cellars’ premises again, they are disorientated for a while. The thing is, time in the underground passes differently, as it is a time of centuries of vinicultural work and a time of wine.

Víno Svetík. Wine Archive and a Secret Cellar in the Centre of Levice

If you are a lover of natural, unfiltered wines, maybe you know Víno Svetík. If not, let me introduce you.

You can find Víno Svetík in Levice on Bátovská cesta street. Unexpectedly, only few meters away from the Levice Polyclinics, behind a small door, there is a spacious and deep cellar carved in stone. It is not just a cellar, it is also wine archive, with more than 40 samples of wine of traditional local varieties since 1992.

“Around fifteen years ago, a thing happened in our region – almost all winemakers became infatuated with new technologies and took against traditional, old handicraft procedures. Their wines suddenly became intense, fruity, but all had to be drunk fast. They didn’t mature over time and told nothing about the quality of given years. In our winery, however, we wanted to observe how “slow wines! behave over time, we wanted to discover the character of the individual years, so we had to create our own archive full of traditional regional varieties such as Blaufränkisch, Alibernet, Grüner Veltliner or Pinot Blanc”, Ján Svetík told us.

Visiting the Cellar

The cellar is a world of its own. It has its own unique micro-climate consisting of darkness, humidity, stable temperature and time. Wine yeasts smell in the air and wine matures in barrels. The Svetík cellar is extensive, surprised visitors discover room after room. In the light of a headlamp, they slowly move through the corridors as on an adventurous expedition. Bottles full of wine rest in niches and wait for their time. They are in no rush and visitors shouldn’t be either.

The visit of the Svetík cellar is an excellent idea for visitors with a sense of romance and adventure. One should prepare for adventure not only mentally, but also by proper clothing – firm shoes and warm clothes. After a while, the visitors forget that they are in a town in the 21st century. As if they moved through space-time to a completely different dimension with a different, wine reality. In the flickering light they inadvertently lower their voices and smell the aroma of wine from a glass through the nose. They first familiarize themselves with it through smell and slowly proceed to take the first sip.

Tasting in this unique environment is different from the somewhat rushed wine tours. The wines don’t compete, they complement each other, as the guide explains. Drinking glasses cheerfully glitter in hands, blood starts flowing faster and even speech is more dynamic and more cheerful. The host willingly answers all curious questions. Time flows, but you have no idea how fast.

The variety is the mother of wine,

the soil is its father

and the year its destiny.

The price for the mystical atmosphere is subjective discomfort, therefore we recommend the visit of the cellar to visitors looking for unusual experiences. If you suffer from claustrophobia or anxiety, you should rather taste the wines produced by Víno Svetlík in the nearby Rotunda in the Levice Castle. If you have no conditions, don’t miss the opportunity during your visit of Levice and enter the mysterious space-time and breath in the atmosphere of the living cellar. An unforgettable experience and quality wine await you.


Levice Castle: Tekov Museum and Celtic Treasure

Unlike hundreds of other castles scattered across the hills of Slovakia, the Levice Castle is conveniently accessible by car, because it is exceptionally located in the residential area of the district town Levice. Visitors only need to take a few steps from the busy centre and they find themselves in the time-space of distant past.

The ancient walls could speak about the castle’s owners such as Matthew Csák of Trencsén, István Dobó or István Koháry. The last owners were the famous Eszterházy family, later the Schöellers. It was István Dobó who built the prominent Renaissance manor house, around which visitors go to the Captains’ House, which houses the Tekov Museum today.

The Tekov Museum has several expositions. Archaeology, history of pharmacy, history of the castle, guilds and crafts, social life, folk clothing and Ladislav Bielik – 1968. One of the most prominent exhibits, however, is the Celtic treasure, placed in the Treasures of Tekov Museum exposition. As you’ll see, the Levice castle offers many surprises.

The Tour

 The tour of the Tekov Museum begins with the exhibition of artefacts from the most distant past. Visitors find themselves in a room with lit display cases, in which they can admire the skills of people of this region. The archaeological collections contain vessels, weapons, jewellery, and statues made by hands of ancient masters from the Bronze Age, the Roman Period and the Migration Period. The reconstruction of a dwelling with a fireplace reminds us how humanity lived before the onset of civilization. Not only numismatists will be interested in a unique and tastefully organized collection of Roman coins and also copper coins from the Austrian-Hungarian period, left by merchants and residents of these places.

Each room of the museum represents a different world. From the times of the original settlement of the region, visitors move to a stylized armoury. Unlike armouries commonly set-up in castles, this one is clean and lit. Various weapons and an exemplary armour will leave no-one in doubts about people’s diverse ingenuity in arming. The room is dominated by a majestic bust of István Koháry, who was hit by a bullet in summer 1664 during a battle near Levice, in which the Imperial and the Turkish armies clashed. Before he died, he had became famous as a successful warrior and ruler.

The Celtic Treasure

The biggest Celtic treasure was discovered in 1930 by a resident of Levice on a town property called „mrchovište“ (animal cemetery). The Residents of the town used to bury dead animals and later dump construction waste there.

”The labourers, working on a new settlement, discovered one heavy vessel, which they threw aside without interest, because they thought it was a weigh from a lamp. The vessel on the dump was later found by a Gypsy, who paid more attention to his discovery. In a grey vessel with the proportions of an ordinary flowerpot, to his great surprise, he found a large amount of old coins. Since the Gypsy started selling the coins, the police became aware of it and pursuant to the law, they confiscated the find and handed it over to the respectable district court … The police got hold of 150 pieces of silver coins and 5 pieces of gold coins from the Levice find. According to an expert on numismatology, both types of coins are categorized by numismatists as having “barbarian” origin and the site of their discovery certainly deserves attention and is worth exploring.”

The first information about the find in the regional weekly magazine Bars from October 19, 1930.

Numismatists can recognize the Levice Celtic treasure easily – all silver tetradrachms have a vertically positioned wedge sharply driven under the belly of the horse at the core of the coin.

“The Celts were not only good craftsmen, but also skilled falsifiers. They could silver-plate or gold-plate a common little bronze disc and pass it for a genuine coin. This deep incision proved that the whole coin is made of silver and is therefore genuine,” says Peter Pleva, a historian from the Tekov Museum.

The Pharmacy

Not only history lovers will cheer up after entering a replica of an ancient pharmacy. Pedantically polished shelves, drawers, ampoules, scales, flasks, bottles, jars, distillation apparatus, till and the whole interior create the impression that mister pharmacist nipped out for a spirit or herbs and is coming back soon to serve curious customers. As they leave, they can check one more time if something doesn’t drop from the distillation apparatus after all – but no – so we move further through nicely heated, bright rooms. Secrets of townspeople’s houses and guilds await us. Maybe ladies listening to a beautiful gramophone with fairy-tale -like loudspeaker used to go for their medicine to the very pharmacy we have just left.

How People Lived and Worked

The exposition testifies that towns were inhabited by people who improved their dwellings by upholstered furniture, impressive clocks, and elegant porcelain services. The walls weren’t short of pictures and mirrors, chests of drawers of tablecloths and silver candleholders.

The craftsmen, organized into traditional guilds, lived more modestly. However, the remains of their clay vessels provide a more enjoyable sight for lovers of the past than the Celtic treasure. If you have a soft spot for clay moulds, pots, jugs or plates, it might be a shame for you that they are safely placed behind a glass display case. They are certainly perfectly functional!

Apart from the pottery collection, visitors can also admire collections of folk clothing and fabrics, jewellery, various practical and decorative products from withe, straw and corn leaves. The exhibition also includes a collection of farming equipment and folk furniture.

The craftsmen’s skill is also represented by examples of traditional tools and papers which all guild members had to have, be their craft blue print, button production or other. When visitors tear themselves away from craftsmen’s and townspeople’s idyll, they enter another story.

Year 1968

Visitors will be amazed by an over life-size replica of a celluloid film. Rectangle after rectangle the story unfolds. Everyone who lived or grew in Czechoslovakia probably knows it. Ladislav Bielik, a native of Levice, documented among other things also the famous moment when a person, a man, helplessly tore his shirt and stood in front of a Russian tank with his bare chest. The photograph went around the world, the story of its protagonists was a bit different, less famous, less visible.

Rectangle after rectangle the story unfolds, telling of frowning soldiers, telling of boys in uniforms crawling out of tanks. Telling of men drawing weapons one by one. Telling of something unbelievable and yet real happening on the street in broad daylight.

The pages of period newspapers, also over life-size, offer the opportunity to visitors to read declarations of politicians, both our and foreign. In this austere room, visitors can spend more time than expected in silence and meditation.

A Village Is a Good, Healthy Place

The weight of political decadence wears off at the entrance to the exposition with the exhibition of folk clothing and jewellery. The famous Tekov folk costume with an opulent bonnet, which is placed on a leather cap resembling lining reminds visitors of scenes from the famous Feather Fairy. Who can remember today that the width of the ribbons, with which the girls bound the gathered sleeves of the blouse, spoke of their wealth, as did the number of skirts they wore?

Apart from collections of artefacts, the historical information is supplied also by photographs depicting various life situations.

Not Only In the Past, But Also Today

The Tekov Museum and the Levice Castle are also a nice place for contemporary people. The concert hall and the concerts attract music lovers; the amphitheatre comes alive with music and movie atmosphere during summer months. The Tekov Museum actively participates in the life of the region by informing about events such as exhibitions and markets in Levice and the Tekov Region. If you would like to know what you can do during a visit to Levice after seeing the museum, ask the willing guides who accompanied you during the tour. And don’t forget to mint a coin for luck and as a keepsake.

Would you like to visit the Tekov Museum? Adult entry fee is 2 Euros, children and pensioners pay half the price. The opening hours are from 9AM to 4PM, from June to September to 6PM during workdays as well as weekends.

Bátovce. (Not only) Queens’ Town

Bátovce is located at the centre of Levice, Banská Štiavnica and Dudince. Today, its population is 1165 inhabitants; in the past, however, it used to be a royal town. The town’s attractivity is enhanced today not only by historical buildings, but also by beautiful nature, as the town is located directly in the centre of Bátovská dolina valley, at the junction of Sikenica and Jabloňovka brooks. Do you know that there is a stone baroque bridge over Sikenica? Bátovce is full of such surprises.

Like Pukanec, Bátovce was populated by German mining engineers and workers in the 13th century. They didn’t work in Bátovce though, but they traded on markets, which have had a long tradition in Bátovce. It is because of the markets that Bátovce has the inseparable title of “queens’ town”. During the early Middle Ages already, it was a market centre, which belonged to the queen’s estates.

The markets in Bátovce aren’t just a thing of the past. Even today, regular Farmers’ Markets and the famous Bátovce Fair, which is visited by 5000 visitors annually, take place here.

Bátovce also hosts an international arts festival thanks to the Pôtoň Theatre; sportspeople could enjoy the Run Around the Queens’ Town. I visited Bátovce out of season, so to speak, so I visited sacral and historical sights and local nature thanks to a local guide’s willingness.

Churches in Bátovce

The Roman Catholic St. Martin’s Church is originally a Romanesque building from the 1st half of the 13th century, visible from several kilometres’ distance.

The original Romanesque nave is thanks to its dimensions one of the biggest of its kind on our territory, which suggests a lot about the importance of Bátovce during the building of the first church. The Gothic period is observable primarily in the western and southern portals. The church’s interior is breath-taking and even visitors who aren’t history enthusiasts can appreciate the beauty of the altars and the wall paintings.

As it was with Pukanec, German residents brought Lutheran creed to Bátovce. Bátovce can therefore boast two prominent churches, too. The view of the church from the outside is monumental, but it fades in comparison with the view that visitors can enjoy as they enter the church. Regular clear lines and huge space suggest great acoustics not only during worship services, but also during concerts.

The Curia

The originally yeoman curia has a rich history and used to have multiple functions. According to available information, it served as a pub, there was a dance room upstairs and its cellar was used as the village jail.

Today, the renovated premises serve as a marriage hall; there is a small village museum upstairs which informs about the life in the past in Bátovce. Visitors can see the furnishings of a peasant room, farming equipment, historical photographs, and various written documents. A fun part is an exposition of socialist curiosities, many of which we remember as parts of our households.

In the Fresh Air

Do you want to go on an outdoor trip? There is a 5-kilometre-long educational trail starting in Bátovce square. The first stop, where you’d like to spend some time, is the water reservoir Lipovina. Its surroundings are suitable for barbecue and fishermen can use the opportunity to catch carps.

The educational trail continues, however, and on the second bank of the reservoir you will discover a forest path, which leads to traditional vinicultural cellar houses. Today, they are used primarily for recreational purposes as cottages, but some residents still process or store wine here.

There is a beautiful view of the village landmarks from here. Looking at churches’ towers, peacefully rising surrounded by the beautiful nature, it was clear to me that this wasn’t my last visit of Bátovce and that I would at least watch for the date of the next Bátovce fair.



Želiezovce. A Small Town with a Big Story

FOTO: FOTO OPA Kristián Opavský

Želiezovce is located in the east of the Danubian Hills (Podunajská pahorkatina), on the right bank of the river Hron. Even though it is a smaller, or rather, a small town based on the population, Želiezovce is great based on its history.

At the end of the 19th century, it became the home of the noble family Esterházy, thanks to whom now famous historic figures such as Franz Schubert or the Sacher family came to Želiezovce. Let me invite you to a short trip into the past. I believe that Želiezovce will excite you at least half as much as it excited me. And it excited me greatly.

The history of Želiezovce and its surroundings is documented by the Town Museum and Franz Schubert Memorial Room in Želiezovce. It is there where I started my visit.

The Museum

The museum is located in the so-called Owl Castle. It is a classicistic building built in 1822 only 125 metres away from the Esterházy manor house. It was named after the image of an owl – a symbol of wisdom – on the front façade of the building – which is still visible today.

The reason for its construction was the return of Franz Schubert, who was invited in 1824 the second time already by Ján Karol Esterházy to teach his daughters Mária and Karolína to play the piano. Unlike during his first visit in 1818, it was no longer appropriate for a young man, who Franz Schubert was at the time, to live under a single roof with young adolescent ladies.

Franz Schubert spent 4 months in a room on the top floor in the Owl Castle. It’s here where the memorial room is located. It looks as if the sad young artist just left for a little while for the nearby park. His correspondence and personal items were preserved as mementoes of his artistically fruitful life.

The today’s museum building offers one more rarity. In the underground, there was a kitchen in which Franz Sacher worked between 1842 and 1843. He was invited by Ján Karol Esterházy’s widow, countess Rozina Esterházy de Galantha.

Does the name Sacher sound familiar? Franz Sacher was the head chef of the Esterházy family and his son Eduard, who was born in Želiezovce, later became the author of the famous Sachertorte cake. After the end of his service for the Esterházy family, he bought a hotel in Vienna, named it, of course, Hotel Sacher – and the rest is history.

In the museum, visitors can admire a wide range of exhibits from the Neolithic age through the times of the Roman Empire, the Second World War as well as more recent past. The exhibits also include examples of Želiezovce culture, the collections of typical Neolithic shards and ceramics.

The Esterházy Family Manor House

The manor house was built in 1720 and its original purpose was to be the summer residence of the family – which it was. The baroque building was rebuilt in the 19th century in the classicistic style. The manor house is surrounded by a beautiful park with a stream, there are precious old and massive trees including sycamores, oaks and bald cypresses.

Even though the manor house calls for reconstruction, it is neither forgotten nor neglected. Sadly, the passing of time and weather are currently winning over the funds. Nonetheless, the manor house is an impressive building. The genius loci is almost tangible and with a bit of imagination, it is no problem to imagine how beautiful it was in its time.

There are benches in the park in front of the manor house and on the wall, there is a shelter and something like a stage. The thing is that the manor house is a venue for various cultural events even today, the most famous of which is the summer Schubertiad, which is an opportunity for young musicians playing serious music to show their skill. The organizer of the Schubertiad is the  and culture patron Mr. Pavel Polka, who willingly accompanied us during our visit of Želiezovce.

St. Jacob’s Church

If you are in Želiezovce, don’t miss out the visit of St. Jacob’s Church. Maybe you will tell yourself that you have already seen many churches. Maybe you have. However, I personally don’t know any with such fascinating history.

In 1350, Želiezovce was under the administration of the main district governor of Tekov, who was also the castle manager of the Levice Castle, Imrich Becsei. His middle son George was the favourite of the Hungarian king Louis I of Anjou. In 1348, he travelled with the king as a member of his closest royal guard to southern Italy to avenge the vile murder of his brother Louis. During this adventurous campaign, he gained huge wealth, not exactly in an honest fashion.

After the return from the Naples military campaign, he transported the stolen loot to Budín under the king’s protection without problems. However, he considered the transportation to Želiezovce too risky. As a hiding place for the transportation, he therefore used a stolen roman sarcophagus from a Roman burial site.

 The transportation of the gold was successful. However, after some time, under the weight of burdensome memories he came to the need of honest repentance. He therefore initiated and richly funded the building of the Želiezovce gothic church, in which he also placed the sarcophagus. Apart from that, he also decided to go on a pilgrimage of repentance through the whole of Europe. He first came to the Spanish town Santiago de Compostela to the worshipped remains of St. Jacob (hence the church’s name). However, not even after the pilgrimage could his soul find peace, so he travelled to Ireland as well, where, during a religious ritual as he descended into St. Patrick’s cave, he died.”

 After various military troubles, during which the church was repeatedly destroyed and renewed, it was finally repaired by the Esterházy family. It was then when this sarcophagus was found in the underground. It has served as the base of the altar to this day.

Esterházy Family Tomb

No life is eternal and the Esterházy family’s final resting place is a mausoleum with twelve tombs. The individual tombs are marked with boards of red marble.

Eleven members of house Esterházy dream their eternal dream in the tomb. The twelfth family member, Ernestína Esterházy, is buried abroad, where she had emigrated. Ján Karol Esterházy de Galantha, too, rests in Galanta. However, since Želiezovce was a matter of the heart for him, his heart is placed in the tomb next to his wife Rozina.

A Farewell to Želiezovce

 I somewhat lost the sense of time in Želiezovce. I didn’t want to leave the beautiful story, I didn’t want to say farewell to the Esterházy family, to Schubert and to the Sachers. The hours spent in the manor house, in the tomb and the church, however, took their toll in the form of hunger. My first aid was a Sachertorte in a local cake shop.

If you’d also like to go on a trip to Želiezovce, group visits of the museum must be arranged by phone or email at least three working days in advance. The general opening hours are otherwise daily from 10AM to 5PM.

Museum in Želiezovce



The Levický Castle

The Castle is the most important dominant of the town Levice. It is from the end of the 13th century. It stands on top of volcanic rock protuberance above the swamps of the Hron river. It was the sentry fort guarding the road leading to central Slovakian mining towns.

Its role was crucial in time of Turkish wars when the Turks occupied the territory south of Levice. It was then when the Levický hrad Castle was fortified, widened and the bulky Renaissance bastions were built. In summer 1664 the Turkish troops suffered a heavy defeat here, which stopped their expansion further to central parts of the country. This battle is known as the battle of Levice where the legendary hero of the Kingdom of Hungary, Štefan Koháry was killed.

The Castle served the purpose until 1709 when its bastions were considerably damaged in the period of the Rebellion of Estates. Then it gradually lost importance as a military fort. Its conserved ruins and somewhat younger small fortified structures in the lower castle known as the Dobóovský kaštieľ (Manor House of Dobó) are the witnesses to the famous history of the Castle. The manor house of Dobó, two-storied Renaissance fortress bears the name of its owner, Count Štefan Dobó, one of the heroes of counter-Turkish wars. The manor house was built in the second half of the 16th century and it is the most extensive structure of the whole castle area. In the former unusually wide dike the castle park was planted.

Today the Castle houses the Tekovské múzeum (Museum of Tekov), which contains archaeological, historic, ethnographic, and nature collections gathered in the region.  Various events take place in the Castle – one of them is the Castle Festival of Levice, now more attractive, as it is held in a newly constructed amphitheatre.

The popular place in the Castle is its tea room located in one of the medieval bastions. The mysterious and reserved atmosphere of the place opened to public, which offers a varied assortment of exotic teas and drinks and the romantic silhouette of the Castle in background provide a pleasant experience to visitors.

Access: driving as far as the castle

Location: Nitriansky kraj, okres Levice, Levice

GPS: N48°13’17” E18°36’7”

Tekov museum in Levice

Are you one of those science enthusiasts and do you enjoy learning the history of various cities? If so, you should definitely visit the Tekov Museum in Levice, which is located in the premises of the Levice Castle from the end of the 13th century.

The museum was established in 1927 thanks to the generosity of postmaster Jozef Nécsey, who donated his collection of archaeological objects from the environs of the town of Vráble and the Lower Požitavie region, ethnographic objects from the northern part of the Tekov county and the environs of Zvolen, paintings, family archives and books to the town of Levice and that is how the history of the museum in Levice started. At present, it is a regional homeland studies museum with particular focus on folk culture and natural sciences and is situated in the premises of the most significant cultural monument of the region – the Levice Castle.

The collections of the Tekov Museum include more than 100,000 items from the areas of history, archaeology, folk culture, visual arts, numismatics, and both organic and inorganic nature. Currently, visitors to the Captain`s Building and the Dobó manor house can admire exhibitions focused on various topics and a permanent exhibition concentrating on the archaeological sites in the region, history of Levice Castle and pharmacysocial life in the town of Levice, crafts, August 1968 and folk costumes.

The concert hall is worth a special mention, as it meets the requirements of the most demanding music lovers. Primarily, concerts of classical music, events for expert audience and events with cultural and educational focus are held here, but it is also a place where you can marry your beloved one. An amphitheater has been built in the area of the south-western bastion; the museum uses it for events corresponding with the historical atmosphere of the Levice Castle (A Week in the Museum, The Night of Museums and Galleries, Levice Castle Festival, Folklore Festival, Christmas at the Castle, etc.)

The Tekov Museum in Levice administers expositions at other locations: Rock dwellings in Brhlovce and Water wheel mill in Bohunice.
The Museum in Levice looks forward to your visit!

Permanent exhibitions: Archaeology – History of the Castle – History of Pharmacy – Social Life – Guilds, Ladislav Bielik August 1968 – Folk Costumes

Source: Michal Lachký, Tekovské múzeum v Leviciach

Opening hours

November – March
Monday – Friday: 9:00 – 16:00
Sunday: 10:00 – 16:00

April, May, October
Monday – Friday: 9:00 – 16:00
Saturday – Sunday: 10:00 – 16:00

June – September
Monday – Friday: 9:00 – 18:00
Saturday – Sunday: 10:00 – 18:00

Kompletné otváracie hodiny poskytne prevádzkovateľ


1. Entry fee for one museum exposition:

– Children and pensioners0,30 €
– Adult0,60 €
Pri komentovanej prehliadke
Children and pensioners1,00 €
– dospelí1,50 €

2. Entry fee for permanent exposition:

Children and pensioners1,00 €
Adult2,00 €

3. Entry fee for all detached exposition of Tekov museum in Levice :

Children and pensioners0,50 €
Adult1,00 €


Tekovské múzeum v Leviciach

Ul. Sv. Michala 40

934 69 Levice

Phone: +421 (0)36/631 21 12

E-mail: tmlevice@nextra.sk

Web: Tekovské múzeum