01 October 2019

The turn of the 15th and 16th centuries in the Central and Eastern Europe is – among others – a symbol of the alliance concluded between the Polish Jagiellonian Dynasty and Hungary, as well as the ongoing fighting with the Ottoman Empire, which began to reach the southern territories of today's Slovakia.













The paths of Poland and Hungary had been crossing many years, but it was Barbara Zapolya, daughter of Hedwig of Cieszyn and Stephen Zápolya – the Palatine and Hungarian magnate at that time – who wrote her name in history as an extremely modest, devout and sensitive Queen of Poland.

Her marriage to the Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland, Sigismund I the Old (1467-1548), was to strengthen the Polish-Hungarian alliance against the Habsburgs.

The story of their love began at the Trenčín castle, which was often visited by the King of Poland.

At the age of 44, Sigismund I the Old asked the king of Hungary, Vladislaus his brother, for permission for the marriage. He received it relatively fast, and the betrothal ceremony took place on 2 December 1511 also in Trenčin.

One month later in Cracov, the wedding ceremony and Barbara’s coronation were held  The marriage lasted only three years and ended with the death of the Queen on October 2, 1515, most likely due to postpartum complications.


The fate of the Trenčín castle and Stephen Zápolya also brought together another couple in love, about which he legend of The Well of Love speaks.

The era of Turkish domination (15th – 17th centuries) lasting almost 150 years, brought forth many disasters and problems to the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Hungary at that time.













The territory of southwestern Slovakia was the arena of major and minor military operations and strikes.

Legend has it that one day a beautiful Turkish woman named Fatima was imprisoned at the castle in Trenčín along with Turkish soldiers.

Her beloved, a rich pasha, wished to free Fatima by delivering to Stephen Zápolya precious items.

However, he refused to accept the gifts, but made a condition to Omar that if he wants to rescue his loved one, the castle should have a direct access to water.

He justified his condition by the fact that Hungary and the city of Trenčin were struggling with a shortage of drinking water.

Omar and his Turkish companions started the search for water.


After three years and the death of nearly 300 people, the well was dug at the depth of 80 meters.














The pasha handed the Hungarian magnate water and, with tears in his eyes, said “here’s your water, but your heart is colder than the stone in which I dug the well”.

Stephen Zápolya kept his word and freed beautiful Fatima.

When the lovers were leaving Trenčin castle, scarf on Fatima’s head loosened and got caught on a bough at an inn called Závoj which was established in 1550.

Later, the inn was rebuilt into a restaurant that still exists today and is called Fatima.

Love at the castle of Trenčín – the story of the Queen Barbara of Poland and the legend of The Well of Love

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