HIDDEN CASTLE RUINS IN THE FOREST: BIELY KAMEN

It was one of those days when I was sitting at work and I couldn’t concentrate at all. Sun was shining through the windows and I was excited about my upcoming trip after work. My friend knows that I love all the “secret” places out and about Bratislava and I was promised a trip of this kind. The minute I got out of work, the sky went dark and it started raining. Typical. I was afraid that my friend would cancel but, to my joy, he didn’t. We drove to Svaty Jur, a village approx. 15 km from Bratislava and by the time we got there, I knew where we were going – to the Biely Kamen castle ruins. After a short walk in the forest, we reached our destination – I was surprised that the ruins were so extensive and it made me think how great it had to look centuries ago when it was still a castle in its full beauty.

Biely Kamen castle or what is left of it was originally a medieval castle built in 13th century and destroyed in 1663 by Osman invasion. The general opinion is that the castle was built to protect the west borders of Ugoria thanks to its good location. The last owner was the Pallfy family who, however, preferred its castle downtown and after Biely Kamen was destroyed by the Osman invasion, there were no reasons to rebuilt it. So eventually, the castle became what it is today – ruins hidden in the forest.

There is a legend tied to Biely Kamen saying that on Saint John’s day, a woman was scything nearby the ruins with her little son who was playing in the grass. After a while, the woman looked over her shoulder to check on her son but she couldn’t see him anywhere. She ran looking for him but by that time, her son got close to the castle ruins and once he saw his mother chasing him, thinking that she wanted to play he disappeared in a hole in a rock. The woman chased to the hole but just as she was about to grab him, she noticed that there were gold and diamonds lying around in the grass. She hurried to pick up few pieces and carried it back to the place where she was scything. When she returned for her son, the woman realized with a horror that the hole disappeared and her son stayed inside the rock. With a despair, she looked for her son the whole night without any success. And what was worse, gold and diamonds she picked up turned into normal rocks. Poor woman confided a local vicar who advised her to return to the same place exactly in one year and once the hole re-opens, to grab her son and take him to safety. The woman waited the whole year and when the day of Saint John came, she impatiently waited close to that same rock for the hole to open. As soon as it happened, she spotted her son who hadn’t changed a bit and was just sitting there in the same clothes, clean and happy, playing with colored pebbles. She grabbed him immediately, not noticing anything around and ran back home, happy that she got her son back. The boy still held few pebble which turned out to be small diamonds and they kept them to remember this particular night.

Legend or no legend, Biely Kamen is definitely a nice place for a trip, easily accessible from Bratislava by both a bus or a train. Once you get to Svaty Jur, just follow the yellow signs and you will find your way to the ruins. There are also few places for a barbecue, so make sure you bring something for barbecuing and just enjoy!

A Penny For Your Thoughts..

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