Imagine never being more than a mile from a castle, seeing one every time you take in your surroundings. For most of us, this sounds like nothing more than an escapist fantasy. But for the citizens of Slovakia and the Czech Republic, this is part of their everyday life.
Between these two countries, there are over 2,000 castles and and chateaux. While this number is not split evenly between the two (with the Czech Republic containing the most castles in Europe), each country offers an exciting and unique take on castle style and architecture. Once belonging to lords, kings and aristocrats, these ancient structures have endured many battles, raids and catastrophes, representing power, wealth and authority. Now they offer insights into the rich history of our past while providing those of Czech and Slovak descent a connection to their cultural heritage.
Although there are a multitude of castles across the two countries, there are two that deserve highlighting: the Bezdez Castle in the Czech Republic, and the Spiš Castle in Slovakia. The Bezdez Castle is one of the most significant pieces of Gothic architecture in Czech Republic. Having deep roots in both history, folklore and literature, it offers a panoramic view of the landscape. The Spiš Castle dates back to the 12th century and covers 41 thousand square meters, making it the largest castle in Europe. In ancient times, its size allowed it to become the political, economic and cultural centre of the region.
The Czech and Slovak castles act as a way of preserving our connections to our European heritage. If you wish to know more about how Czech history can help you reconnect with your Czech identity, watch this video. Otherwise, you can contact our EU citizenship team here.
By Jarrod Iacovou