The dominant of the oldest Slovak town Nitra is the Castle of Nitra. It was built in the 11th century on the site of a bulky Slav fort, the seat of the Nitra Princedom and Great Moravian rulers. Today it is the seat of the Bishopric of Nitra.
It was built in the 11th century and consists of several parts. The core of the Castle is the cathedral with the adjacent Bishops residence.
The oldest surviving part of the Cathedral is the Romanesque church of St Emeram from the 11th or 12th century. It was rebuilt after fire in the second half of the 13th century and after Matúš Čáks soldiers destroyed it, a new Gothic church was built next to it in 1317. From then on it served as what is called ”trustworthy” place of chapter and later as the treasury of the cathedral. Today, it forms together with the Upper and Lower Churches the most valuable structure in the area of the Castle - the Bishops Cathedral.
The originally Gothic Upper Church was built in the years 1333-1335 and three centuries later the Lower Church was added to it. A wide staircase connects both of them. The appearance of the Cathedral as we know it now, is from the years 1710-1736 and its interior is also from that time. Among the most valuable monuments of the interior is the main altar of the Lower Church made by the Austrian sculptor J. Pernegger who used the painting of D. Voltera as a model.
The originally Gothic Bishops Palace standing by these sacral buildings obtained its Late Baroque appearance in the second half of the 18th century.
Its outer fortifications with the oldest parts from the Romanesque period are especially interesting. The legendary Vazilova veža tower with square ground plan was several times rebuilt and adapted in the Romantic style. Allegedly the Hungarian Prince Vazul was imprisoned in this tower.
The Castle area and the Bishops Cathedral of St Emeram are accessible to public.
Access: driving as far as the castle - situated in the city centre on a hill, on foot from Župný dom it takes about 15 minutes