Pronounced 'spish', this impressive now partial ruin towers 200 metres above the surrounding countryside. A national cultural monument, the medieval castle dates back to the beginning of the 12th century, originally a boundary fort at the northern frontier of an early Hungarian state, it was the seat of the head of the Spiš region for many centuries. In the second half of the 15th century the castle was transformed into a stately aristocratic residence with the addition of a palace, knight hall and chapel of St Elisabeth. In 1780 the castle compound was destroyed by fire and the proud Spiš Castle gradually fell into ruin. The total decay of the castle has been prevented through preservation of the walls and palaces, threatened by the instability of its rocky base.