Ancient Cathedral dominates the castle grounds. Centuries of reconstructions have left the building a conglomerate of the different styles. Bishop John Telegdy’s radical Early Baroque reconstruction in the 17th century had a significant impact on today appearance of the Basilica of St. Emmeram. During this reconstruction, the cathedral complex on vertically different levels was created. Upon the initiative of Bishop Ladislaus Adam Erdödy, the Church acquired its precious unified Baroque interior decoration, which ranks it among the most marked monuments of Baroque art in Slovakia. St. Emmeram, St. Svorad Andrew and St. Benedict are patrons of the Cathedral. Basilica has been restored in the years 2005 – 2014 and this extensive restoration brought a number of important discoveries. The most remarkable was the discovery of the late Gothic fresco depicting the Death and Coronation of the Virgin Mary in the Lower Church. The fresco has been restored and made accessible to the public.
The Museum of the Nitra Diocese is located in the centre of Nitra Castle main courtyard. It is considered the first diocesan museum in Slovakia. The exhibition consists of two parts. Preceded by the period of difficult preparations, the first part was opened on the 5th of July 2007, on the Day of Sts. Cyril and Methodius. A permanent exposition of literary documents related to the beginnings of Christianity in our territory was named When the writing speaks. The Museum expanded in the year 2008, when the Treasury exposition called The jewels of St. Emmeram’s Cathedral became accessible to the public. The exhibition focuses mainly on the liturgical objects from the Cathedral, particularly ancient chalices and monstrances.
The Cathedral Tower was opened revealing some of its secrets to the public in 2015. As part of the magnificent late-baroque reconstruction in 1710 – 1732 the Tower was heightened, so Bishop Erdödy could place there the Cathedral Library. It formed the basis for the present Diocesan Library, transferred to the so-called Great Seminary in the Upper Town in the19th century. However, the precious furniture, bookshelves and tables remained in its place and used as a study room. Walls of the Cathedral Tower are today decorated with a permanent exhibition of liturgical vestments that date back to the various periods. They were commonly used in liturgy and often worn by bishops. Visitors can particularly enjoy picturesque views from the Balustrade, restored in 2014. Find out more HERE.
The archaeological exposition is hidden in one of the fortification’s walls. The casemates consist of a corridor and a smaller room from which guarding of the entrance gate and bridge was ensured. The exposition displays remnants of prehistoric and early-medieval life at the top of the castle hill as well as some parts of the Renaissance and Baroque fortification. The so-called miners corridor dug by the imperial soldiers sieging the castle in 1664 is also considered an interesting example of history’s twists and turns.
The former strategic point of the castle fortification system has fallen into disrepair for many years. The reconstruction started in the year 2011 and the unused gothic ditch closed for public, overgrown with trees turned into an open-air amphitheatre and gallery. Every summer it becomes a well-known venue for cultural events, film screenings, concerts, and exhibitions.
The Bishop’s Palace is open to the public only once a year, on the Day of St. Cyril and St. Methodius, on the 5th of July.
Together with the Cathedral, the Palace constitutes the dominant part of the Castle. After many reconstructions, the Palace acquired its present appearance under the Bishop Ladislaus Adam Erdődy in the 18th century. Based on the information from the inventories, its function did not change much during the years. Representational rooms, Bishop’s bedroom, guest rooms, dining hall, storeroom for food, bakery, kitchen, library and Bishop’s archive all remain hidden behind the Palace’s walls. Only the function of the attic changed. Before the fire, there was a storeroom for food, an archive and offices of bishop’s officials. Then, until the beginning of the 20th century, the attic became unused. The Archaeological Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences resided here in the 20th century. Since the 1990s it fulfills residential and office requirements.
The Diocesan Library was ceremonially inaugurated on the 30th of November 1885. Its history, however, begins with the Capitular Bibliotheca, established by Bishop Ladislav Adam Erdödi at the beginning of the 18th century. He located the new institution in the tower of the St. Emmeram’s Cathedral at the Nitra Castle. Collection of the books expanded with the passing years and premises in the tower became unsuitable. Bishop Augustín Roškováni decided to build a new bibliotheca. He entrusted construction of the premises to architect Joseph Lippert and builder Friedrich Schmidt who designed an extremely impressive interior in the north-eastern part of the Seminary of St. Gorazd. At present, the library collection contains 66,000 books. Incunabula, books printed before 1501, are considered the most valuable parts of the collection. Altogether 78 volumes are deposited in the Diocesan library while an additional four were discovered bound with other 16th century prints during the review of the 16th century texts. In total, the collection comprises pieces in 37 languages, even a Braille magazine.
In the Memorial room dedicated to one of the significant personages of the 20th century, Cardinal and Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Nitra J. Ch. Korec, visitors can explore an overview of his life and work. The Memorial room is located on the ground floor of the Episcopal Palace. More information about Cardinal Ján Chryzostom Korec’s life you can read HERE.
Right below the walls of Nitra Castle you can enjoy quality food and excellent coffee in our restaurant. Castellum Cafe is set in the Castle hill in the historical heart of Nitra. The exceptional architectural arrangement offers a breath-taking view of the city. The restaurant was designed so you can see the ancient Castle wall. History and modern architecture blend together and we believe that the experience of Nitra Castle will be even more intense after visiting our cafe. For more information click HERE.