One of the oldest castles still standing in the territory of Slovakia is located in the north-eastern outskirts of the city of Partizánske, in the suburb of Šimonovany, which in the past was a village separate from the city – one with a rich history. The present day outline of the Gothic-Renaissance castle dates from the 15th century, when, in 1426, King Sigismund permitted the local lords of Šimonovany, the Simonyis, to rebuild the defences of their fortress. However, for a long period of time, the site had been occupied by a small Late-Romanesque castle that consisted of a bastion that was strategically located in a meandering loop of one of the branches of the River Nitra. It is this that gave the object its name “The Water Castle” (“Vodný hrad” in Slovak). In addition to the river forming a natural obstacle, the building was also protected by a number of artificial embankments and ditches. Such a bastion would have had local strategic importance, as the River Nitra region was crossed by an important trade route. After the bastion was torn down, it had served its defensive purpose from the 12th to the 14th century, the Simonyis rebuilt the castle with the approval of King Sigismund. In the 15th century the building was expanded with a two-storey palace that contained living quarters and with a massive entrance tower. This original Gothic construction was modified over the course of the 16th and 17th centuries to take on a more Renaissance appearance.
The last great reconstruction of the castle took place at the end of the 19th century. It was done in the spirit of historicising Romanticism and made an effort to approximate to the form of the castle from the Renaissance period. Between 1985 and 1988, archaeological research into the Šimonovany Water Castle premises took place under the auspices of the Institute of Archaeology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences. This research provided new information about the history of the castle and important pottery finds. In the late 1990s the first significant restoration took place throughout the whole castle which was showing damage from the destructive forces of time. Thanks to the Municipal Office in Partizánske as well as the Centre for Historical Monuments in Topoľčany, the whole castle was repaired and its appearance as a Gothic-Renaissance seat for the nobility was returned to it.
Another important restoration of the Šimonovany Water Castle took place in 2015. It was co-financed by the European Union with funds from the European Fund for Regional Development. The renovated Šimonovany Water Castle is currently administered by the Municipal Artistic Agency, Partizánske.
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