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Variability in Perspectives on Current Issues in Social Sciences

by Daniel Bešina (Author)
Edited Collection 174 Pages

Table Of Content


Introduction

Social and human sciences are currently in a special position. On the one hand, they are subject to frequent doubts and mistrust while on the other hand, there is a view that the 21st century will be a century of social and human sciences, addressing their importance in solving key cultural and social issues of humanity. These disciplines, by means of their own research methods, acquire information that helps them to understand the world and the place of man in it; they make a significant contribution to the formation of cultural memory or represent a means of orientation in the varied pictures of the world.

In our social cognitive and evaluation connection to reality we can observe the decreasing interest in human and social sciences. However, the rejection of the importance of human sciences is based on a fundamental misconception of facts. Society’s education and culture is a prerequisite for the economic level of each country. Innovation is not only a matter of technical importance, it is equally important to understand human cultural behavior in the broadest possible context.

The publication contains a number of variable views on selected topics from social, human and historical sciences that demonstrate the relevance of the research in the area under consideration. Due to the variety of topics in this publication, it is possible to encompass the widest possible area of interest and to contribute to the completion of a more complex state of research in the subject area. The authors of the publications are PhD students of the Department of Archaeology, the Department of Ethnology and Folklore, the Department of History and the Department of Culture and Tourism Management at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Constantine the Philosopher in Nitra.

Daniel Bešina

The evolution and formation of small settlements in Europe, with an emphasis on the territory of Slovakia

Abstract: The chapter presents the development of small medieval fortifications in a wide area of Europe. The development of medieval fortifications is briefly followed from the early Middle Ages to the Middle Ages. The problem is gradually narrowed down to the territory of Central Europe and finally, the development of medieval fortifications in the territory of Slovakia is more closely addressed.

Keywords: Middle Ages forts, terminology, motte, castles, nobility

The concept of medieval feudal settlements of a specific structural and functional form usually coincides with the concept of the castle, which is characteristic of the Gothic period. But upon closer observation it is clear that as a formation a medieval settlement is a significantly differentiated type of architecture. The structure of settlements depends on the time of creation, the type of feudalism and, of course, the function and importance of the settlement (Hejna 1965, 513). The most famous medieval fortifications were based on long-term socio-organizational and military needs. In general terms, they can be described as feudal settlements. From these facts, feudal settlements can be considered representative, administrative, organizational, military and economic units of monarchical institutions, and secular and ecclesiastical nobility.1

The form of the settlements was influenced by landscape. Situational placement depended on terrain morphology, usually based on the decision of the architect, who took into account contemporary customs and plans for settlement construction. The establishment of feudal settlements is associated with a phase in the social differentiation process in which a ruling class was created and its development was justified by the permanent land ownership of a growing number of wealthier vassals.

In terms of architecture, the development of manor houses usually derived from ancient traditions, prehistoric traditions applied in the domestic environment and, finally, simple experience that was a result of the effort to maximize the relief to protect the structure.2

It may be concluded that the basis of the mentioned building traditions was formed in the Frankish, Norman and Ottonian environment. At the end of this evolution and formation there were the medieval castles and rural settlements of the medieval nobility. The territory, when it came to the creation of feudal settlements, can be defined geographically from northern France across the Rhine into western and central Germany. Territory in southern Italy and Britain can be described as particular peripheral enclaves. In the earlier professional theses of researchers, antique influence was valued and emphasized. More recent results of archaeological research show a significant proportion of domestic traditions in the formation of medieval fortified settlements. Ancient tradition was rather limited to its own structural character of settlement. Domestic building traditions had already been developed in the initial formation of settlements, in terms of the definition of situation and form, and in the method of fortification and internal layout. The essence of local building traditions should be the subject of exploration throughout the European environment. Individual layers of the nobility had already appeared in the prehistoric period (Copper Age and later Bronze Age) and to them was closely connected differentiation from other emerging sectors of society. This led to the formation of divided settlement areas emphasizing higher social status.3

From an architectural point of view, the beginnings of European feudal settlements are usually searched for in Roman architecture, particularly in military and, partly, in civil architecture. The Roman military built structures at the borders of the empire. These smaller fenced points of the borders are in the expert sources described as “turris”, “burgus” and “castellum”. The terms refer to constructions of different form.

The term turris refers to a guard tower structure, which was a very important element in most of the border fortifications in Europe, Asia and North Africa.4 Another structure of the Roman borders was the burgus. Unlike the guard tower turris, it represented a larger element in the defense system, but on the other hand, it is not possible to confuse it with the castellum.5 In connection with the above-mentioned terms, the problems of the Roman military fortification of the castellum type can be briefly outlined. Originally, they were fortified with a mound and wooden construction or without fortification, and of various sizes ranging between 0.6 and 6 hectares. They were built according to the classical patterns of “castro” camps, but differed in the size of military unit located inside. Roman civil architecture played a role too – specifically the “villa rustica”, a type of administrative rural settlement that was fortified with stone walls or by a mound.6

The impact of certain types of Roman military constructions on the formation of feudal settlements cannot be excluded. Importance and impact should be sought primarily in the sphere of architecture, particularly in terms of building technologies. Theories supporting the dominant influence of Antiquity have one serious weakness. Between the period of Roman building activities in Europe and the beginning of European feudal fortifications, we do not have enough knowledge about the direct impact or evolution of architecture.

This is the period between the 4th and 10th centuries AD, when there was serious political and social change (the disappearance of the western Roman Empire, and the great migration). In the archaeological research there is not enough information, especially about forms of settlements. Some continuity can be demonstrated in the sepultures, cult temples and fortifications of Roman military camps on the Rhine and Danube borders. Significant and fluent continuity can be seen in present-day France and Spain, arising from the old Roman “civitates”, religious centers housing the seats of bishops. During the reign of the Merovingian dynasty, the first known royal settlements were formed on the ruins of camps.7

Previously, it was mentioned that more intensive research on fortified settlements and deeper interest in the issue place an increasing emphasis on prehistoric building traditions in the formation of feudal settlements. These beginnings we can find already in the late Stone Age. From the end of the ancient period, one cannot fail to mention the influence of Celtic structural elements acting on both sides of the Roman border. It may be concluded that there was influence and exchange of building traditions between Celtic and Roman culture. Celtic society was considerably differentiated – it had its own ruling class with their own settlements. In connection with the Celtic environment, Romanization also appeared in the fortified courts of the Celtic nobility. In this context, it is important to mention the rural abodes of the Irish environment, called “crannogs”, situated on an artificial dam in marshy areas. From the same provenance came “raths”, which represented settlements on upland sites fortified with a mound and ditch. From the southern German region, we have the “Viereckschanzen” fortified residence of tetrahedral shape, probably of Celtic origin. Due to their small amount of settlement diversity, they have rather an iconic significance.8 Germanic architecture would become part of certain types of feudal court in the form of Germanic hall construction. This was a longitudinal one-room space, and it is noteworthy that this appeared in the British Isles along with the Anglo-Saxon invasion.

This type of construction became part of the fenced courts in the pre-Romanesque period. From the coastal areas of northern Europe also comes the structure called a “wurta” (or warten, terpen). They were mostly situated on flat terrain. The origin of wurta is from prehistoric times, where it was possible to see the building of artificial dams and this phenomenon lasted until recently. Wurta settlements had a rural character; therefore they cannot be cited as an example of feudal forms of fortification. Situational forms, such as an artificially screeded hill, which could be affected by certain buildings of the lords’ settlements mostly in the Anglo-Saxon and Frankish context, cannot be overlooked.9

An individual group with considerable influence was the Saxon castles. In the area of Saxony, along with the large castles, there were smaller structures, frequently built with brick and with a circular layout with buildings around the perimeter. The central courtyard of the internal area was open and different from the karolinska castles in terms of the flatness of the area.10 Saxon castles provide a more complete and important type of settlement. They were built on inaccessible terrain and builders emphasized the strong outer walls. The fortifications were built on an embankment with a wooden construction. The origins of the Saxon castles date back to the period of war between Saxons and Charlemagne and their appearance corresponded with prehistoric building traditions.

Saxon castles are an important and characteristic group of buildings, the existence of which lasted until the 11th century. This group of fortified settlements were, mainly in the older literature, considered as essential in the placement and construction of settlements in the territory inhabited by Slavs, bordering the Carolingian and later Ottonian Empire.11 German researchers (Müller-Wille, 1966) concluded, based on years of research that among the Saxon castles there were two basic groups in the area of Saxony and Thuringia, as well as central Europe.

The persistence of the ancient culture can be observed mainly in the Franconian region, in particular in the formation of Merovingian culture. As an example it is possible to take the settlement of Merovingian kings verified by archaeological research in Quierey in Soissone, where continuity of settlement had occurred from the Roman period till the arrival of the Franks. This event is followed by the evolution of settlement units, which can be called courts. The court in the Merovingian and Frankish period grew on the basis of antique rural villas and building traditions in upland fortified settlements. Frankish written sources put the creation of the first settlements in the 7th century, when the royal entourage evolved into a certain social class, endowed with ranks and landed property, which was previously part of the royal estate.12

In western Europe, there exists in written sources from the Early Middle Ages (from the time of the Merovingians), specific mention of the existence and construction of fortified settlements, which later evolved into medieval feudal settlements. In the old provincial areas appears the Frankish court building “curtis regalis”. A Frankish court was characteristic, in contrast to the Roman model, of the construction of a certain peristyle type in each separate part, located inside a square fenced area. This phenomenon is identified with domestic building traditions or with influence taken from the shape of the Roman camps. Typical elements of the structure – the house, farm buildings and fortifications – are not only the oldest type of settlement of its kind in western Europe, but also form the basis for further development of medieval feudal residences, built with a clear application of ancient building traditions.13 A significant factor in the spread of Frankish court buildings was mainly the expansion of power of the Frankish Empire under Charlemagne in the years 772–804. The difficult problem of the infiltration of Frankish building tradition into the construction of courts and castles in conquered areas led to a detailed analysis of written sources, and the results of the research including topographic data and various archaeological findings. The Carolingian period should in addition to courts and castles be remembered for a building that is in its architectural form was original. The Carolingian palace has its origin in the Merovingian period and it is a testament to the progressive differentiation of fortified settlements. The palace had an earlier settlement and courtly character, in contrast with courts, which had mostly a watchtower function. The palace represented the power of the sovereign and therefore satisfied the requirements of court life. The original Carolingian palace is known in French, German, Bavarian and Northern Italian contexts.14

In central and eastern Europe, fortified settlements evolved independently, even without the direct influence of the Roman building tradition. At the turn of 5th–6th century, Slavic tribes settled in the territories. After the 8th century, when Slavic society had reached a certain degree of social evolution, forts had become not only common, but merely a typical abode. Within the fortification there was allocated the dwelling of an earl and this lasted for some time until neighboring noble residences were built which separated the settlements of lesser nobles as a reflection of the emerging feudal fragmentation.15

Fortified settlements of the Slavs in eastern Europe can be encountered from the 8th century. On the territory of present-day Ukraine, Russia and Belarus was the oldest Slavic fortified settlement from the 8th to 10th century located mostly on promontory projections or on river islands. In that earlier period, the Slavic fort had not already been recorded as a separately divided court, or other specific structure on the premises or outside.16 More complex division of position, form and size was developed in fortified areas in the period from the 10th to 13th century. The older forts of the Kievan Rus were assimilated into the old Russian “Gorod”, which represented crafts, commercial and peasant settlements. A large group of fortified settlements were represented by buildings whose size and shape was dictated by an artificial mound and ditch without being directly subordinate to the natural topography. For that type of construction, most characteristic was a circular, tetrahedral or sometimes semi-circular shape with a small footprint and enclosed fenced area.17 In the 10th–13th century, we observe in the whole East Slav area strong growth of medium-sized localities situated mostly on elevated promontory positions, as well as lowland marshy terrain. All these facts lead to the conclusion that the development of small princely courts in the Rus resulted from deep social changes related to the strengthening of the feudal social changes among the eastern Slavs.18 According to the findings of P. Tretyakov, N.19, it is possible to record aristocratic courts’ elevated position from the 8th century. In a similar vein, the idea that fortified villages and castles formed from the 8th century onwards from armed retinues to the courts of a feudal magnate was posited by another researcher, B. D. Grekov.20

Research on the territory of Kievan Rus fully correlates with the data found by Polish archaeologists. The development of feudalism in Poland was a decisive period in the second half of the 10th century, when there was a conversion of old settlements of tribal princes to new aristocratic castles, built on a territorial basis.21 From the 11th century, the older administrative center began to accrue castles (civitates, castella) with a guarding function, rarely built with an increased inner area. Castles as real feudal settlements were built from the 12th century, and especially from the 13th century they were created in the periphery of older centers – namely newly settled areas.22

No later than from the second half of the 10th century, a turning point in the evolution of fortified settlements occurred between the Oder and Elbe, as in Poland. From existing tribal centers there were created, in addition to large fortified settlements, relatively small fortified settlements of Slavic nobles. These small circular castles, mostly of a ring type, were built in the lowland and upland environment. From the end of the 12th century, the settlements of German feudal lords were built on their foundations. A similar situation also occurred in the territory of Lausitz and Saxony.23

In the Slavic region, there are circular fortified formations of old origin, as evidenced by study of Polish and Sliezka castles originating in the 7th and 8th centuries. An example of an ancient circuit castle with a fortified circular area with a residential unit inside the area is Tornow in eastern Germany. Therefore, it can be assumed that if a circular fortification in the 8th century in the Slavic environment were substantiated, it was probably also undertaken by the Saxons.

During the 9th century, a certain type of fortification represented by an artificial circular embankment called a “motte” achieved the next stage of development. Fortified formations of the motte type consisted of an artificial embankment, replacing a natural ridge, which would protect residential buildings on top of a hill. Mottes were largely concentrated in the flatlands of Great Britain to the eastern regions of Germany. They are considered to be forerunners of medieval water castles.24 Lowland motte-type castles were mostly part of a larger fortified area. The artificially formed body of the motte, usually featuring a wooden tower, had a centrally or eccentrically located position toward the fortified forecastle with a different layout. They could be rounded, square, oval, rectangle or of irregular shape depending on the environment and the manner of construction. The bailey was created by structures of a farming nature (stables and craftsmen’s workshops).25

The most significant part of the motte complex consisted of a residential tower building on an artificial hill, and thus together they created a new situational element that influenced the form of feudal seats throughout the European region. At first the origin of the motte was identified mainly with the antique building tradition especially with towers on the Roman border. More recent data makes it clear that the origins can be found after the end of the 9th century, in the 10th century in areas west and south of the Rhine.26 The building of artificial embankments was preferred mostly on flat terrain in the lowlands or in the immediate vicinity of the watercourse, which only increased the potential of the building’s defenses. In connection with the construction of the tower on top of the embankment is derived the word “motte”, of unclear etymological origin. It tallies with the Normans, who started to build their settlements in northern Europe from the second decade of the 10th century, after the conclusion of the peace of St. Clair in 911. The view of H. Hinz, who considers the “rundwall” and “motte” types of settlement as a display of the same tendency of water vicinity use to protect the settlement, appears most believable.27 This led to the improvement of the circular castle by the motte, as can be seen in the small castle of Husterknupp. Compared to the simple circular castle, the motte is a specialized situational form of settlement. Its discovery in the system of fortified settlements meant a certain type of situational disposition.28 The origin of the motte cannot be clearly deduced from only one particular context. Initial classification into the system of feudal settlements took place in the territory west and south of the Rhine of the ancient traditions, in the Frankish and Norman environment. In the English terminology, fortified artificially built circular mounds are known as a “keep-and-bailey castles”. It is a fortified formation based on a subsoil motte. Some fortified circular formations were likely to have been built before the Norman invasion, originating in the domestic Irish-Scottish traditions: as an example, after the year 1050 the Hereford and similar Totnes castles, which in contrast to the typical motte were a combination of a circular castle with a motte. The difference was in the upper part, where there was no tower construction in the circular palisade, but the palisade itself had become part of the settlement layout, similar to Saxon castles. Wooden structures formed around the outer rampart a ring which formed inside a small open area. This scheme is in Anglo-Saxon termed a “shell-keep” and it grew up next to the classic Franco-Norman donjon. A prime example of a “shell-keep” is the Restormel stone castle with a diameter of 40 meters and a circumferential ring with a width of 7 meters. A castle with a tower on raised terrain is named “Turmhügel” (Burghügel), but it should be noted that this term cannot be regarded as uniform because of imprecise definitions. In southern Germany, they are usually described by the term “Buhl”.29 The term “Hausberg” refers to all the castles on raised terrain in Lower Austria.30 In Poland, they are named “grody stożkowa”.31

In the German terminology, the terms are considered synonyms but P. Grimm distinguishes the names “Turmhügel” and “Burghügel”. A freestanding tower settlement “Turmhügel” is subordinated to the term “Burghüge” which includes all fortified settlements in a raised position. Most researchers derive the “Turmhügel” from “motta”, from the Franco-Norman region in northern France. In large and medium-sized examples we can observe a built-up area around the perimeter-tracking palisade or wall. The tower on the embankment in the middle of the site is mainly a smaller formation. These differences in construction are a basic criterion for internal segmentation. The common element is a raised embankment with a settlement that was sequentially applied on natural slopes and hills.32 From the central German region, the tower castle arrived along the Danube to the area of Austria quite early.

The region of Lower Austria was, in the Early Middle Ages, part of the Slavic settlement area on the central Danube, undoubtedly belonging to the advanced central area of Great Moravia. Two structures were found here. At the beginning of the 20th century their original purpose was very unclear. The dominant opinion was that they were cult structures of the Quads and Rugias and after gradual research they were recognized as feudal castles.33 The situation in Lower Austria was described in detail by H. P. Schaden.34 In his own words he very extensively reviewed the remains of small feudal castles. An example is Drösing from the mid-11th century – a bipartite castle with a rounded motte with a diameter of 35 meters, and the still undated Oberrhausen, also a type of bipartite castle with a diameter motte of 40 meters.35

Written sources from the 11th to 12th centuries tell us quite clearly about the design and interiors of the tower castles. In addition to written sources, we have even rare pictorial sources, of which the most famous is the tapestry of Bayeux, where even the building of a small castle is captured. On a rare woven painting, there have been identified a Dinant castle made from wood, with vertical beams with a tower on a raised embankment and surrounding buildings attached to the tower. From written sources there is only the record of Tartarius, who writes about castle Chatillou sur Loire, belonging to Sequin. The building is described as a “towering structure made from wood, because the Lord of this small castle was strong and came from a wealthy local family” The tower had an upstairs room – a solarium occupied by the owner and his family. Downstairs was a room with many storage vessels. The solarium had a wooden floor.36 From the early 12th century there is the preserved record of John of Colmieu, which states that “next to the hall of the church was a kind of castle very high and built according to the habit of the land (Belgium) many years ago”. Further he writes: “It is customary for the wealthy and prominent people in this country, the more you have the habit of living in enmity and war, the more likely they are building a fortified residence for their own safety, to maintain their own authority, to suppress the peers or for the oppression of their vassals…”

In the Danube region, as in central Germany, the motte would eventually come into contact with Slavic settlement. In the 11th century, only very rare evidence of motte occurrence can be cited, but until now evidence dating back to more widespread occurrence of mottes in central Europe dates from the 12th to the 13th century. The motte influenced the adjustment of old circular residential buildings of simple or complex character. Secondarily they occurred in the corners of older fortified settlements with residential, guarding and defensive functions, or a central function in the area of smaller circular castles with a large fortress.37 A well-known and typical motte from the Lower Rhine is Husterknupp. In Hoverberg an interesting castle has been reviewed.38 Important archaeological research in Gommerstedte has shown the close relationship of lower nobility to individual farming. The existence of a castle on Gommerstedte in Böslebene dates back to the 11th–12th century.39

Progress in Lower Austria is wholly consistent with the spread of building traditions in Moravia where the oldest building of this kind already dates back to the 12th and the first half of the 13th century.40 Their spread and development reached the Austrian Danube region from the southern German region where the motte had existed since the 11th century.41 One of the reasons for the proliferation of this type of residence through each area was a certain advance in the process of feudalization.42

In the Czech region, a relatively large number of courts (fortresses) were maintained, which with their size, double ditches and mounds revealed a considerable range of earthworks. Historical and archaeological research informs us of their form. Among the many works about Czech courts, the work by A. Hejna České tvrze excels.43 The author briefly describes 250 localities of which 61 are photographically documented. The situation in the Czech region before the 13th century suggests that the courts and castles cannot be solely considered settlements of minor feudal lords.

The data in written sources rather refers to ownership by a monarch or wealthy ecclesiastical or secular feudal lord. Changes come in the 13th century, when the number of small nobility settlements of a certain type increased. Frequently, the only building in the complex was a fortified tower built of wood or stone.44 The oldest form of small fortified settlements in the Czech Republic can be observed in the private courts in the fort at Štítor and probably in the left fort in Stará Boleslav and Prague Castle (the Bishop’s court and the court of the priest Pavol). Some courts from the 13th century had buildings built to the peripheral wall of the fortress. This type of court we find in Martinice near Votice.45 At the same time there was an interesting type of court in the territory of the Czech region, in whose fortifications a church was built. In a part of this area, there were farm buildings also. The mentioned type of court was archaeologically documented in Chvojň in Benešov.46 The gradual disappearance of court settlements with tribunes’ churches happened in the 13th century as one of the consequences of major economic and social change. Another type of court was the discovery uncovered by research in Zvírotice, where the court was protected by a moat and it was possible to enter the tower via a gateway. Two towers stood in two corners of the fortification and in the other corner was located a residential building. Similar courts were built in the 15th century, but more attention was devoted to the fortifications as a result of the extension of conflict.47

From the late Middle Ages there appear in some settlements rich architectural elements linked to courts, and their traditional economic facilities oriented toward associated industries, for example beer brewing, sheep farming, viticulture, fruit growing, etc.48 Medieval manor courts played an important role in the economy of the medieval village. They are a special feature in the structure of villages from a manufacturing, spatial and construction standpoint. The historical background and common destinies of the Czech Republic, Moravia and Silesia should encourage deeper attention and study of material sources.49

The evolution of the medieval feudal settlement in central and western Europe has not been entirely fluent and has been influenced by many factors. An important change was the tendency toward an upland location and for the construction of stronger fortifications, where we can include the construction of stone fortifications and of settlements from stone towers or of a morphologically different character. Castles gradually became solely settlements of feudal lords and their families.50

Great Moravian manorial courts

Approximately from the middle of the 8th century, there was a merging of territorially smaller principalities into larger units, and this process accompanied the formation of nobles’ and princes’ fortified settlements.51 The Moravian organizational structure from the 9th century cannot be judged by one model or generalization. Specific local and territorial features of evolution played an important role in the differentiation of the entire organizational structure. Nitra can be marked as a “castle city” (civitas) in light of the current research. Besides the prince and court nobility, members of military retinues belonged to the leading groups in Great Moravian society.

The retinue probably consisted of members of the nobility or members of newer military forces with layers of freemen. The power of manors grew during the reign of Svätopluk I. The military retinue as a newly emerging element formed, in terms of military service, part of the prince’s army. Power and separatist conflicts between members of the new nobility could manifest themselves at critical times, as after the death of Svätopluk I, when there was an internal conflict which resulted in the ruin of the fragile structure of the country.52 From archaeologically explored courts, it is obvious that full organizational value was achieved by courts after the middle of the 9th century.53 In terms of evidence in particular palisade fortifications, the geometric footprint of the area, the presence of secular and religious buildings and the overall diversity of buildings from the surrounding peasant or production houses can be observed. A particular problem in the case of land survey is to identify palisades. For this reason, courts were recognized in central Europe much later than forts. Locating palisade trenches is only possible with systematic archaeological research and with soil under suitable scientific conditions, as was the case for example in Břeclav-Pohansko.

Central European courts from the 9th century have their closest analogy particularly in the Franconian area, but we cannot speak about a direct continuity. They primarily reflect the social elements in the evolution of central European medieval aristocracy. The social superiority of courts owners should be demonstrated by their location.54 Small forts (castles) probably functioned as smaller local centers or had a guarding function. Some smaller and partly different fortified hill-forts (castles) could fulfill the function of courts, which could be described as some form of early medieval castle.55 A direct clue to the existence of courts exists in several Great Moravian locations. Near the princely court in Mikulčice and in Staré Město were smaller settlements of nobles. So far, we know three cases in which courts constituted a separate functional unit, and that they were solitary buildings.56

In Moravia is perhaps the best studied Great Moravian court, in Břeclav-Pohansko.57 The court in Pohansko probably represented the fledgling center of an early feudal manor, where dues were collected. The identified housing stock allows one to suspect that the inhabitant of the court did not directly deal with agriculture but that they primarily organized agricultural production as landowners. Buildings were relatively large, mostly of an aboveground character, or with an intricate post-hole construction arranged in regular rows, or functional units.58 These purpose-built groups of buildings were used as a specialist craft zone or as a space for autonomous economic entities.59

In Slovakia, two Great Moravian courts have been studied, in Ducové and Nitrianska Blatnica.60 The courts in Ducové and Nitrianska Blatnica represented new formations which arose probably around the middle of the 9th century and took over the guarding function from older extinct castles. Both courts arose after the fall of Great Moravia, but neither of them had the characteristics of direct continuity to the Middle Ages.61 The location of churches in the areas of settlements and the related ownership of churches such as the rotunda in Ducové and Nitrianska Blatnica bear witness to the adopting of a new religion “from above”.62

In connection with the previously mentioned knowledge of the Great Moravian courts, one cannot fail to mention the discovery of the courts in Transdanubia in the center of the Pannonian manor of Zalavár. The mentioned court was found in the location of Borjúallás, originally situated on a slightly emerged island, which stood out from the swampy terrain on the southern edge of Lake Balaton (Blaten).63 Finds from graves, mostly personal items, suggest a possible link with the territory of Moravia, while weapons and riding gear are characteristic of Carolingian art.64 The author of the study, R. Müller,65 described the court as “Carolingian”.

Due to previously known information from the review of the Great Moravian courts (Ducové, Nitrianska Blatnica and by uncertain indications Dražovce), it can be stated that fortified villages with various forms of buildings were a common type of private residence and represented a higher social class in the early Hungarian period. Uphill variants of courts often merge functionally and also terminologically into the category of castles.66

From the research of northern castle areas in Slovakia emerge surprising results. An upland area of a court type with a masonry structure has managed to be partially uncovered at Trenčín castle, whose origins are from the mid-11th century.67 At Spiš Castle there has also been discovered much older monumental architecture dating back further than the castle itself, a Romanesque castle from the first half of the 13th century. The origins of the mentioned locations (similar to the situation of potential continuity sketches in Bojnice and Brekove) date back before the period of the gradual connecting of Slovakia to the Hungarian state. The situation may be similar also at other locations, but we cannot yet talk about the direct continuity of the organizational structure of the Great Moravian period.68

Political and cultural development after the collapse of the Great Moravian Empire in the territory of Slovakia took place in two different areas. Southern territories in the early 10th century came under the control of old Hungarian veterans. Some of the former large military centers (Nitra, Bratislava, Starý Tekov) remained with the same level of fortification and during the 10th–11th centuries they were rebuilt into district (comitates) castles.69 Northerly locations remained largely in the periphery of the old Hungarian ethnic group and were incorporated into the emerging early Hungarian feudal state only during the 11th and 12th centuries.70

Evolution of small manor houses in Slovakia in the High and Late Middle Ages

The settlements of the minor rural nobility were the clearest expression of the advancing wealth and social differentiation of the medieval countryside.

The minor nobility had been forming since the 11th century from castle warriors, vassals and villeins and the impoverished nobility.71

The territory of Slovakia had started to integrate into the emerging Hungarian state after the year 1018, i.e., from the second half of the reign of King Stephan I. Signs of hereditary land ownership along with servants and own military entourage held by nobles (maiores) date back to the first half of the 11th century. Courts are first mentioned in written sources from the 10th century, where they have a double meaning.

They exist as either a royal court or a settlement with established populations forming an economic center with significant property and with a particular organizational structure. In the properties held by secular feudal lords the courts (curia, curtis) appeared in the 11th and intensified only in the 12th century.72 Courts in the Middle Ages represented a complex of buildings with economic and administrative or guarding function. Constructions comprised of the lord’s abode, along with servant dwellings, or those for retinue or slaves. The private residence of the lord at a later period became separated from the farmyard and there emerged fortified castles and castles with a significant military function.73 In written sources from the 11th century they mention manor houses, more precisely courts, as the oldest form of settlement of high nobility. The difference between courts and castles is mainly that in courts we can find the remains of natural fortifications.74 M. Kučera considers it certain that court organization was built on the economically more advanced territory occupied by the Slavic ethnic group; this suggests a longer-term development of the court’s genesis.75 Development of the court organization was mainly in the 12th century, and written sources from the early 13th century attest to its gradual disintegration, but this issue is answered only marginally. The first mention of a specific court is from the year 1061 in the Somogy district, alongside comprehensive private property. The oldest record from Slovakia about the interiors and villages themselves comes from the testament of the old Hunt-Poznan branch of the monastery in Hronský Beňadik, dating to 1165. In Slepčany, there is a mention of an orchard and a mill belonging to the manor house. From the 11th and 12th centuries through royal grants, these cities become the property of the church and secular lords. Examples include the old royal court in Pastovce, from the second half of the 11th century belonging to the wealthy Hunt-Poznan clan. In the leading strata of society in the first half of the 11th century it is possible to recognize the lower nobility, who owned smaller properties. They were in a militarily dependent employment relationship with the king. As well as the monarch, the lower nobility were linked to a higher secular or ecclesiastical feudal lord via a vassal relationship. Evidence of the relatively large lower layer of feudal lords from the 11th century is provided by the testament of Lambert of the Hunt-Poznan family from 1132 to the Bezovicka monastery, which lists a number of properties purchased by Lambert from minor feudal lords. Interesting records in connection with inherited property are mentioned in connection with the death of Stoislav. The nobleman died in 1185 on a Bela III expedition in the Balkans. Stoislav had no heirs and therefore King Bela III gave lifetime use of his estate to his mother, which was quite a remarkable act, because in other cases the property would usually be acquired by the crown.

The estate in Upper Nitra (included in the estate was also Nitrianska Blatnica) was gained by the Bishopric of Nitra after the death of Stoislav’s mother.76 From the 11th and 12th century, villages become the property of the church and secular nobility.77

To the royal courts became appended royal servant settlements, which represented a typical component of their territorial spread throughout the country.78 The property of the king was managed by the monarch, and a system of courts and servant settlements consolidated his organizational apparatus. This controlling and adapting of the organization demonstrates the strict functioning of the country, not least the low social division of labor.

The sovereign was thus forced to wander with his army and court across the kingdom, while the services of the inhabitants of royal servant settlements and courts were used.79

In the first Code of Štefan I, the “curia regalis” – the royal court – is mentioned. The record comes from the years before 1038 and an early stage is possible to find at the turn of the 10th and 11th centuries. Royal courts featured from the end of the 10th century as one of the determinants of royal power. Functionally a royal court is a power center, but also the economic center of the surrounding villages with their subjects. For optimal function of the royal servant organization, the court economic hub was a base. In case of the stay of the ruler in the area, courts were also residential private settlements.80 The small number of written sources greatly limits the obtaining of a more accurate picture about the deployment of courts, in particular in properties which did not change owner. There is a crucial role for research in the future, especially archaeology, which can give us specific information about the organization of courts in Early Medieval Hungary.81

During archaeological excavations, these settlements are usually found in urban or rural medieval villages. There are occasions when they occur also at greater distances from villages. Buildings inside rural settlements are detected without significant trace of natural fortification. Notable is their difference from villein abodes in the village. They differ in their larger dimensions, siting on uphill ground, complicated construction and also material basis.82 In terms of archaeological research, there has not been much success in finding one of these settlements from the early Hungarian period, although several royal courts were identified in the field (for example, in the vanished colony of Dvorčany, Šoporňa, Tešedíkova, the Court of Zittau). In connection with the royal court, it is necessary to mention the upland settlements of a court type with a significant fortification pattern performing a watchtower function. A border-guarding function on the Hungarian-Czech border was also performed by the lowland Wyvar on the Morava River in Holíč.83 So far the only indication of the Hungarian aspect of the royal court was in Zirec near Veszprém. In this court died King Andrew II in 1061. In 1182, King Bela II gave the court with its church to the Cistercian Order. The court was built over several phases. There were recognized remnants of a large secular building with a larger church and even remnants of a stone perimeter wall. The diameter of the circular court area was 80 meters. Koppány declares that the court in Zirec was already of pre-Hungarian origin, as evidenced by the finding of residues of wooden beams of the church, which was replaced in the 11th century by a new stone church.84

In Slovakia, there are preconditions for the existence of courts in Dvory nad Žitavou, mentioned in 1075 as the property of a new monastery in Hronský Beňadik. In the location of Palota in Hrhov, archaeologists managed to discover a court acting as a royal residence in the second half of the 13th century. In the location of Palota near Šoporňa was, based on field observation, a localized court with vestiges of defunct architecture. Not all royal courts referred to in the documents have been possible to locate. Such a case is the court in Pastovce, which the king had already in the last quarter of the 11th century given to a person of high nobility, and later, in 1132, through the Lambert donations it was given to the monastery in Bzovík. Before the 13th century there are mentioned other hitherto undiscovered royal courts, for example, in Nitra – Dolné Krškany (Dvorčany-Curtoiz), Tešedíkovo (Udvardi rét) and Boleráz near Krušovice (Zequi). Some toponyms also inform us about a possible court (dvorníky, udvarház, yard, porch, palace…).85

From the 11th century, as well as the district centers, also other fortified focal points served to protect the territory of the kingdom or to protect important roads, fords, mountain passes and also new colonized territory. These small fortification structures were situated in strategic positions. Construction was initially formed by timber towers with supports, protected by a moat or also with a wooden or stone mound. Such structures were the castle in Nitra-Chrenová (Mačací zámok), in Kamenín (Várhegy) and in Malé Kosihy.86 The tower initially consisted of multiple functions (residential and economic). Based on the results of locality research there can be seen a gradual transfer of functions to the newly constructed buildings arising out of the tower. This leads to a widening of the area of the whole construction. Smaller medieval strongholds and courts were gradually rebuilt and adapted to the new conditions of warfare and housing (Topoľčianky, Partizánske-Šimonovany).87

Till the 12th century, they were classified on the basis of the remarkable results of archaeological research on the nobles of Velčice and also the lowland court in Bratislava-Dúbravka, with origins from the beginning the 11th century. The court was situated on a gentle slope which is protected on one side by the edge of a swamp. From the fortifications remained only a channel and from residential buildings remained remnants of a brick building (10 x 6.5 meters) with shallow foundations and an oven in the corner. Remains of fortifications with residential buildings are in superposition with structures from the 9th to 11th centuries and discovered material dates back to the first half of the 12th and the first third of the 13th century.88 In that century it was possible that nobles also built settlements on the upland promontory above Drážovce, where the Church of St. Michael is still standing. However, archaeological research has not yet confirmed this possibility.89 The courts from the 11th–12th centuries may indirectly point to rural churches where the empora represented the allocated space for the landlord and his family. Because of this manorial courts are searched for close to this type of church.90 So far, only in rare cases can the relationship between manor houses and churches be safely documented. These are settlements found in Partizánske-Šimonovany, Skalica and Nemešany-Zalužany. Most of the locations have no sacral buildings registered in their vicinity.91 Certain indications exist in the locality Baratka near Levice where two Romanesque churches stood. Geophysical locality exploration has managed to locate remains of a larger building, probably from the Middle Ages.92

The large development of small minor nobility settlements in southwestern Slovakia falls mainly in the 13th century. In that century occurred the massive construction of castles as a result of the devastating Tartar invasion. The manor house, together with the castle, comprised the complex defense system of the country and was a symbol of the social status of the owner. Unlike western Europe, the building of small medieval fortresses in southwestern Slovakia was less intense. A similar situation existed in what is present-day Hungary, which demonstrates that the socio-economic situation in Hungary in the 12th–15th century did not require the increased need of building settlements for the petty rural nobility.93

Medieval castles are now preserved only in a fragmentary form or completely destroyed by mining, landscape cultivation or modern development. Remains of the castles mostly take the form of a hill in the shape of a truncated cone with traces of the fortified line with a moat. The beginnings of construction of the castles date back to the second half of the 12th century. Their origin is specified by findings from archaeologically studied localities in Branč, Chotín, Kamenín, Malá Mača, Malé Kosihy, Nitra-Chrenová, Topoľčianky, Trakovice and Velčice.94

From the 11th century, medieval castles appeared across a relatively large area of central and western Europe. These castles with their small size and strategic location had a defensive function with only few defenders. In addition, they also performed a kind of psychological and symbolic role in society’s perception of vassals.95 Together with other settlements of the lower nobility, small castles are the largest group of fortified settlements in the framework of the Middle Ages. On the central part of the hill stood the tower, most often made of wood – in exceptional circumstances from stone. They were mostly on the top or to the backs of hills and promontories or on sand or loess dunes. The situation on the ground depended on the design of the fortifications.96 Castles represent a less fortified residence of minor rural nobility located mostly outside the village on a natural or elevated position. Water castles in the plains protected natural and artificial waterways or ditches.97 In addition to strategically located high-rise locations, the castles were built in the vicinity of watercourses which provided natural protection and drinking and process water.98 In consideration of the reality that they were bound to medieval surroundings, they couldn’t be located in very remote places. Owners of the castles had to supervise the work of vassals. By building mounds and ditches they were raising the defenses of selected positions. An elevated position is a large advantage in the protection of a fortification. In the lowland area, the construction was conditioned by an increase in defense by an artificially formed embankment. Lowland plains’ disadvantages were compensated by using different natural phenomena, such as river meanders or elevated river terraces. On raised embankments in the shape of a truncated cone was the tower of a small castle. It was important that the heaped embankment remained compact and resisted erosion. J. Unger99 found on the basis of research of mottes from the 13th century in South Moravia that the slopes were consolidated by pieces of moss placed on each other around the perimeter ridges. There was a continuous grass surface created to avoid potential landslide of the soil.100

A motte from the territory of Western Slovakia had under previous knowledge a circular or elliptical shape of embankment with a core diameter of 10 to 45 meters and an average height of 2 to 7 meters.101The artificially formed cores of castles rarely appeared in hilly areas. Castle cores were located inside the fortified area that protected the fortification or they were separated by a ditch from their own bailey. Castles built in hard-to-reach places were protected by dry moat at the place of easiest access.

However, the question is why in strategic and difficult terrain they increased the size of the cores of castles. F. Jasso presents as a possible explanation, the military defense function of the embankment. The artificial upslope of the core prevented the use of some mining equipment, such as burning carts or rams. The structure of a wooden castle’s tower could be relatively safe from ignition.

Castles on a hill or promontory without artificial raising of surfaces represented a numerous and diverse group. This phenomenon was a result of the very rugged topography of Slovakia. Builders of castles adapted fortifications to the most efficient use of natural areas. Very often old fortifications from prehistoric times or from the early Middle Ages were used, but not the entire surface of a former fort, only the top part. According to current knowledge the sides of hilltops were often used and also their promontory extensions. As well as promontory positions, builders also used the side of small hills which permitted the enlargement of the fortified area protected by a mound and dry moat.

The heyday of medieval castles dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries. Current research does not determine the start of construction of castles in Slovakia. The results of research in neighboring countries state that castles date back to the 12th century, more precisely, in the second half of the century. Findings from Slovakia that date castles back to the 10th–11th century are still archeologically insufficiently substantiated. In written sources the minor nobility is mentioned sporadically from the 11th century, of which it can be deduced that the start of castle construction dates back at least to the 11th century. It should be borne in mind that castles of the motte type in the period before the 12th century did not appear in Slovakia. A less frequent occurrence of mottes is observed in the territory of modern Hungary, and in eastern Europe they are almost completely absent. For now, it remains questionable in what context they came to our territory, and without comprehensive research that cannot be answered. Another, perhaps local reason is based on the fact that many castles were in natural elevated positions fortified with mounds and without an artificially raised central ridge. In this case the possibility might be considered that these castles were created by simplifying and reducing the major tribal or indigenous princes’ fortified settlements. The question of their gradual decline is unresolved. In terms of material artifacts obtained around these fortifications, it is clear that the youngest findings from the 15th and 16th centuries bear witnesses to a gradual extinction sometime in the 16th century. The gradual disappearance of castles could have been caused by the new economic and social situation and innovation of architectural fortification of facilities as a result of the development of military technology.102 One possible cause of the castle’s end was also the increasing demands of nobility for housing.

Manor houses and palaces provide more comfortable and more spacious housing, unlike castles where housing was much smaller. In the 1540s and 1560s, castles were still used by bands of Hussites.103 During the 15th century, in connection with the orders of the sovereign, several castles were demolished in order to not fall into the hands of insurgents.104


1 Ruttkay, Čaplovič and Valašek, Stredoveké feudálne sídla na Slovensku a ich hospodárske zázemi, 241–254.

2 Hejna, K situační a stavební formaci feudálního sídla v Evropě, 513–583.

3 Hejna, K situační a stavební formaci feudálního sídla v Evropě, 583.

4 Kiess, Die Burgen in ihrer Funktion als Wohnbauten, 28.

5 Kiess, Die Burgen in ihrer Funktion als Wohnbauten, 332; Radig, Die Siedlungstypen in Deutschland, 30.

6 Kiess, Die Burgen in ihrer Funktion als Wohnbauten, 332.

7 Hejna, K situační a stavební formaci feudálního sídla v Evropě, 513–583.

8 Filip, Keltové vě střední Evropě, 551.

9 Reinerth, Vorgeschichte der deutschen Stämme, 367 s.; Kiess, Die Burgen in ihrer Funktion als Wohnbauten, 35.

10 Hejna, České tvrze, 15.

11 Radig, Die Siedlungstypen in Deutschland,183; Rahtz, The Saxon and Medieval Palaces at Cheddar, 53; Hejna, K situační a stavební formaci feudálního sídla v Evropě, 524.

12 Kiess, Die Burgen in ihrer Funktion als Wohnbauten, 332; Uslar, Studien zu frühgeschichtlichen Befestigungen zwischen Nordsee und Alpen, 290.

13 Jankuhn, Die frühmittelalterliche Seehandelspätze im Nord-und Ostseeraum, 6.

14 Kiess, Die Burgen in ihrer Funktion als Wohnbauten, 45.

15 Hensel, Archeologia o początkach miast slowiańskich, 187.

16 Grekov, Kyjevská Rus; Treťjakov, U kolébky staré rusy, 347.

17 Hejna, K situační a stavební formaci feudálního sídla v Evropě, 535.

18 Hejna, K situační a stavební formaci feudálního sídla v Evropě, 535.

19 Treťjakov, U kolébky staré rusy, 347.

20 Grekov, Kyjevská Rus, 580.

21 Hejna, K situační a stavební formaci feudálního sídla v Evropě, 539.

22 Kamińska, Grodziska stożkowate sladem posiadłości rycerskich XIII - XIV wieku, 44–45.

23 Hejna, K situační a stavební formaci feudálního sídla v Evropě, 550.

24 Novotný et al., Encyklopédia archeology, 579.

25 Jaššo, Stredoveké hrádky na západnom Slovensku, 129.

26 Hinz, Motte und Donjon, 131; Hejna, K situační a stavební formaci feudálního sídla v Evropě, 557.

27 Hinz, Motte und Donjon, 131.

28 Hejna, K situační a stavební formaci feudálního sídla v Evropě, 558.

29 Hejna, K situační a stavební formaci feudálního sídla v Evropě, 575.

30 Schadn, Die Hausberge und verwandten Wehranlagen in Niederösterreich, 20–24.

31 Kamińska, Grodziska stożkowate sladem posiadłości rycerskich XIII - XIV wieku, 43–46.

32 Hejna, K situační a stavební formaci feudálního sídla v Evropě, 576.

33 Nekuda and Unger, Hrádky a tvrze na Moravě, 20.

34 Schadn, Die Hausberge und verwandten Wehranlagen in Niederösterreich, 268.

35 Schadn, Die Hausberge und verwandten Wehranlagen in Niederösterreich, 268.

36 Hejna, České tvrze, 11.

37 Hejna, K situační a stavební formaci feudálního sídla v Evropě, 577.

38 Nekuda and Unger, Hrádky a tvrze na Moravě, 366; Herrnbrodt, Stand der frühmittelalterlichen Mottenforschung im Rheinland, 77–100.

39 Timpel, Gommerstedt bei Bösleben, Kr. Arnstadt. Burghügel und Siedlung des Mittelalter, 142–144; Nekuda and Unger, Hrádky a tvrze na Moravě, 13.

40 Schadn, Die Hausberge und verwandten Wehranlagen in Nie derösterreich, 268.

41 Müller-Wille, Mittelalterliche Burghugel im nordlichen Rheinland, 113; Hinz, Motte und Donjon, 131.

42 Kouřil, Měřinský and Plaček, Opevněná sídla na Moravě a ve Slezku(vznik, vývoj, význam, funkce, současný stav a perspektivy dalšího výzkumu), 129.

43 Hejna, České tvrze, 179.

44 Nekuda and Unger, Hrádky a tvrze na Moravě, 366; Herrnbrodt, Stand der frühmittelalterlichen Mottenforschung im Rheinland, 16.

45 Nekuda and Unger, Hrádky a tvrze na Moravě, 18.

46 Kašička, Tvrze středních Čech: Středisko Státní památkové péče a ochrany přírody středočeského kraje, 60.

47 Nekuda and Unger, Hrádky a tvrze na Moravě, 19.

48 Kašička, Tvrze středních Čech: Středisko Státní památkové péče a ochrany přírody středočeského kraje, 61.

49 Chotěbor and Smetánka, Panské dvory na české vesnici, 47.

50 Hejna, České tvrze,17.

51 Ruttkay, Sídla spoločenských elít na strednom Ponitrí v 9. - 13. Storočí, 77.

52 Ruttkay, Sídla spoločenských elít na strednom Ponitrí v 9. - 13. Storočí, 79.

53 Ruttkay, Sídla spoločenských elít na strednom Ponitrí v 9. - 13. Storočí, 78.

54 Ruttkay, Sídla spoločenských elít na strednom Ponitrí v 9. - 13. Storočí., 80.

55 Šalkovský, K problematike opevnených sídiel vo včasnom stredoveku na Slovensku, 60.

56 Ruttkay, Slovensko vo včasnom stredoveku, 137.

57 Dostál, Břeclav - Pohansko. Velkomoravský veľmožský dvorec IV, 243–247.

58 Dostál, Břeclav - Pohansko. Velkomoravský veľmožský dvorec IV, 247.

59 Dresler and Přichystalová, Břeclav - Pohansko. Veľkomoravské hradisko 2014, 47.

60 Ruttkay, Výskum včasnostredovekého opevneného sídla v Ducovom, okres Trnava, 138.

61 Ruttkay, Ruttkay and Šalkovský, Slovensko vo včasnom stredoveku, 138–139.

62 Ruttkay, Sídla spoločenských elít na strednom Ponitrí v 9. - 13. Storočí, 82; Ruttkay, Včasnostredoveký sídliskový komplex a Rotunda sv. Juraja pri Nitrianskej Blatnici, 55–61; Dorica, Rotunda sv. Juraja pri Nitrianskej Blatnici. Jej nové miesto medzi najstaršími sakrálnymi stavbami na Slovensku, 62–67; Ruttkay, Správa o výskume v Nitrianskej Blatnici v roku 1980: výskumná správa, 256–258.

63 Szőke, Pannónia a Karoling-korban. In: Akadémiai doktori értekezés tézisei, 6.

64 Štefanovičová, Blatnohrad. Osudy Pribinu a Koceľa po opustení Nitrianska, 76.

65 R. Müller, Karoling udvarház és temetője, 91–98.

66 Ruttkay, Čaplovič and Vallašek, Stredoveké feudálne sídla na Slovensku a ich hospodárske zázemie, 246.

67 Nešporová, Výsledky historicko-archeologického výskumu na Trenčianskom hrade, 142–143.

68 Ruttkay, Čaplovič and Vallašek, Stredoveké feudálne sídla na Slovensku a ich hospodárske zázemie, 246.

69 Ruttkay, Sídla spoločenských elít na strednom Ponitrí v 9. - 13. Storočí, 82.

70 Kučera, Sociálna štruktúra obyvateľstva Slovenska v 10.-12. Storočí, 53.

71 Habovštiak, Stredoveká dedina na Slovensku, 122; Kučera, Sociálna štruktúra obyvateľstva Slovenska v 10.-12. Storočí, 28.

72 Kučera, Slovensko po páde Veľkej Morave, 367.

73 Novotný et al., Encyklopédia archeology, 211–212.

74 Fiala, Habovštiak and Štefanovičová, Opevnené sídliská z 10. - 13. storočia na Slovensku, 437.

75 Kučera, Slovensko po páde Veľkej Moravy, 368.

76 Ruttkay, Sídla spoločenských elít na strednom Ponitrí v 9. - 13. Storočí, 83.

77 Ruttkay, Ruttkay and Šalkovský, Slovensko vo včasnom stredoveku, 144.

78 Kučera, Slovensko po páde Veľkej Moravy, 373.

79 Kučera, Slovensko po páde Veľkej Moravy, 381.

80 Ruttkay, Ruttkay and Šalkovský, Slovensko vo včasnom stredoveku,144.

81 Kučera, Slovensko po páde Veľkej Moravy, 368.

82 Habovštiak, Stredoveká dedina na Slovensku, 122–123.

83 Čaplovič, Stredoveké feudálne sídla na Slovensku a ich hospodárske zázemie, 83.

84 Koppány, XI. századi királyi udvarház maradványai Zircen, 142.

85 Ruttkay, Ruttkay and Šalkovský, Slovensko vo včasnom stredoveku, 145.

86 Ruttkay, Čaplovič and Vallašek, Stredoveké feudálne sídla na Slovensku a ich hospodárske zázemie, 247.

87 Ruttkay, Príspevok k poznaniu malých stredovekých opevnení na juhozápadnom Slovensku, 258–259.

88 Ruttkay, Ruttkay and Šalkovský, Slovensko vo včasnom stredoveku, 146; Bazovský and Elschek, Osídlenie v Bratislave-Dúbravke v 9. -13. storočí II. Stredoveký dvorec, 85–96.

89 Ruttkay, Sídla spoločenských elít na strednom Ponitrí v 9. - 13. Storočí, 84.

90 Fiala, Habovštiak and Štefanovičová, Opevnené sídliská z 10. - 13. storočia na Slovensku, 439.

91 Ruttkay, Príspevok k poznaniu malých stredovekých opevnení na juhozápadnom Slovensku, 258.

92 Bešina, Zaniknutý románsky kostol sv. Martina na Baratke pri Leviciach, návrh na prezentáciu, 79.

93 Ruttkay, Príspevok k poznaniu malých stredovekých opevnení na juhozápadnom Slovensku, 260.

94 Jaššo, Stredoveké hrádky na západnom Slovensku, 123.

95 Jaššo, Stredoveké hrádky na západnom Slovensku, 125.

96 Fiala, Habovštiak and Štefanovičová, Opevnené sídliská z 10. - 13. storočia na Slovensku, 437.

97 Polla, Slivka and Vallašek, K problematike výskumu hrádkov a hradov na Slovensku, 361.

98 Jaššo, Stredoveké hrádky na západnom Slovensku, 126.

99 Unger, Zpevňování svahů u opevněných objektů jižní Moravy 13.století, 525.

100 Unger, Zpevňování svahů u opevněných objektů jižní Moravy 13. století, 525.

101 Jaššo, Stredoveké hrádky na západnom Slovensku,133–136.

102 Habovštiak, Stredoveké hrádky na Slovensku, 8.

103 Jaššo, Stredoveké hrádky na západnom Slovensku, 137.

104 Polla, Slivka and Vallašek, K problematike výskumu hrádkov a hradov na Slovensku, 362.

Viktória Bíziková

The importance of cultural heritage in education

(In upper secondary education with a focus on tourism)

Abstract: Cultural heritage demonstrates the development of society; it is the essence of the individual, regional and national identity and collective memory. In order to recover the contents of cultural heritage, it needs to be integrated into the existing society (not only) through the educational process. The usage of cultural heritage in the context of education is the current requirement of teaching cultural heritage to the younger generation. In our article, we emphasize the importance of cultural heritage in terms of its educational function.

Keywords: Cultural heritage, education, cultural education, cultural competence, educational process

Cultural heritage is an irreplaceable asset for a society. Discovering, exploring and assessing the significance of various objects of cultural heritage is conducted consciously and unconsciously in different situations, in different social groupings and by the individual, at all levels – local, sub-regional, regional, continental and global. In its broadest conception, it includes the cultural heritage of the Earth its memory and history from the beginning to the present in the form of tangible or intangible, animate and inanimate.1

The issue of cultural heritage is currently the subject of research of multiple disciplines, including ethnology, cultural studies, museology, tourism and others. The variety of fields in the study of cultural heritage highlights the need for an interdisciplinary approach.

The intention of our article is to consider cultural heritage in the context of education and address cultural heritage from the perspective of its educational function. The thematic conception of the article requires research in cultural-educational terms.

It also reflects the current increasing interest in the cultural values of past generations, whose importance is increasing as a result of the global activities of many institutions. Regarding the importance of cultural heritage and its usage in the education of the younger generation, the object of interest here is presented as a value, form of knowledge, educational tool in shaping identity, a means of cultural reproduction and a significant factor in ensuring cultural continuity.

The importance of cultural heritage in education is evident in the content of numerous current policy documents and pieces of legislation at national, European and even global level. Their aim is, in a sustainable way, to systematically involve young people in the process of the protection and enhancement of cultural heritage through targeted education in this area.

The article is based on the principle of implementation of knowledge on cultural heritage in the process of teaching, in order to improve the application of culture in the educational and upbringing process in formal (institutionalized) education. The focus on the importance of cultural heritage in education also reflects the priorities and actions manifested in the policy document Development Strategy of Culture for the Years 2014–2020, which aims to build a cultural need and demand for culture through education.

In the article, we concentrate on the upper secondary education of the current educational system in the Slovak Republic with a focus on tourism, which provides vocational education and training for professionals working in tourism, the hotel industry in management positions of first contact with customers and front line management. The starting point is the theoretical intersections of three spheres – cultural heritage, tourism and education.

Objectives and methodology

The review article suggests that the role of an advanced knowledge society is2 to promote awareness of cultural heritage, ensure cultural continuity and build the cultural identity of the younger generation, through the educational system.

The aim of the study is to concentrate on a new theoretical approach via a reflection on the parallels and interactions of culture, cultural heritage and education. It also analyzes the current legislative and policy support of the usage of cultural heritage in education and highlights selected aspects of cultural education.

The aim of the review article is to analyze the content and scope of the usage of cultural heritage in formal education in existing educational programs in upper secondary education with a focus on tourism. Within the methodology, we apply the elements of cultural heritage in teaching technical subjects in the example of the chosen field of study: hotel management.

As a part of the research problem, we seek answers to the following questions: What is the connection between cultural heritage, tourism and secondary vocational education with a focus on tourism? Is it important and necessary to use cultural heritage in the educational programs of fields of study with a focus on tourism? What is the current status of the usage of cultural heritage in the content of existing educational programs and what factors affect it? Is it possible to optimize the usage of cultural heritage in the content of educational programs?

In this article we apply the method of desk study, which is aimed at the exploration of cultural studies and available educational literature. A practical pedagogical study was conducted using the method of action research, oriented toward reflections of our own professional and pedagogical experience and solutions for technical-methodical problems of teaching. A supporting method is the content analysis of valid curricular documents.

List of key sources to research problems

In Slovakia, enough quality-processed and content-exhaustive literature and sources on culture, cultural heritage and its individual components are currently available. However, the importance of cultural heritage in education is a more closely specified area of scientific research and social discourse. Today there is an absence of a comprehensive look at this definition of the subject. In a review of key works and supporting studies, we present those in which the Slovak and foreign authors directly and indirectly engaged in the specified topic in different contexts.

Biographical notes

Daniel Bešina (Author)

Daniel Bešina works as a lecturer at the Department of Museology, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra (Slovakia). In his academic work, he focuses on research on landscape-historical monuments and new modern computer technologies in the research and presentation of monuments. His teaching activities include the methodology of research on prehistoric and historical landscapes.

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Title: Variability in Perspectives on Current Issues in Social Sciences