This floating castle appears to be from an enchanted fable, but in actuality it is Europe's best preserved Renaissance water castle.
Since the Prussian prince Christian Craft Hohenlohe-Öhringen bought it for half a million gold pieces in 1879, the Javoriny estate lies within the Tatra National Park (est. 1949) and is the most naturally preserved area in Slovakia – it also happens to be one of the rarest regions of the High Tatras mountains (aprox. 24,700 acres of land).
“It takes a village to raise a child,” some may say, but with Tatranská Javorina, “it takes one wealthy Prussian prince to raise a village.” This imposing stark maple-rich hunting lodge’s construction was ordered by the prince from 1883-85. In order to make sure his lodge would become a Slovakian flagship for Aristocratic game hunting across Europe, he employed dozens of locals to keep it up and assigned other establishments to be constructed including a hydroelectric power plant, bakery, Catholic church, and other small woodland industries.
The prince went such great lengths to entertain his highly refined company that he imported bison, ibex, and American deer to be hunted on the estate grounds. Hunting trophies, weapons, photos and paintings of the Hohenlohe family, a rare telescope and a gong for sounding social events adorn the insides of the lodge with pride.
Once Prince Hohenlohe died in 1926, the lodge became an economic burden to his succeeding family and was sold to the Czechoslovak Republic.
When the Javorina State Forest Administration was established, control of the lodge came under Tatra National Park, which preserved its appearance and interiors to this day. In 2009, the lodge was considered a national cultural monument and since has been used for the administration of the National Council of the Slovak Republic.
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