Dominant of Žilina
Budatin Castle is a dominant feature of Žilina, at the confluence of the rivers Váh and Kysuca. The castle is reconstructed and opened to the public. Next to the castle is the oldest park in Žilina and its surroundings – Budatín Park with an area of almost 5 ha.
Its largest and oldest part is a large four-storey cylindrical Romanesque tower with elements of Gothic architecture, which was later rebuilt in the Renaissance style.
Budatin Castle was built as a guard castle in the second half of the 13th century at the confluence of the rivers Vah and Kysuca. The castle originally belonged to the Balass family. In the 14th century it was acquired by Matúš Čák, who enriched the castle with a defensive wall and built a residential palace in the fortification area.
It stands on the site of the original water castle, which guarded an important trade route to Sliezko. Initially it was royal property, later belonged to several noble families.
The park, which ends at the confluence of the rivers Váh and Kysuca, is also a very interesting place due to the surrounding nature and landscape.
There is a permanent exhibition on the history of Slovak tinkering art in the castle. Visitors are exposed to the history of the original tinker craft from its wandering beginnings to factory production, pointing out the business success of Slovak tinkers abroad.
A story about beautiful Catherine
The castle is connected with the story of beautiful Catherine, her father bricked her up alive.
It was at a time when Gašpár Sugoň and his family lived in Budatín Castle. He had a daughter, beautiful Catherine. The news of her beauty went far and wide. She fell into the eye of Knight Frank Forgac. But Father’s love surprised Catherine. He did not agree to the betrothal – he told his daughter that he had promised her to Jakušic, the lord of Vršatec Castle.
Jakušic came and the castle was celebrated with great engagement. Only Katarina was sad and her eyes were crying. Knight Franko Forgáč wanted to see and embrace his beloved once more. He bribed a servant with ducats, and he led him to Catherine at night. But Father Sugoň learned this and he thwarted his intentions.
The father acted strictly and wanted to sever the daughter strictly from the beloved. Therefore, he opted for a cruel punishment. He gave Catherine a wall. She became a prison in a niche near the main stairs towards Žilina.