The Slovak forests hide a great mystery. In the Považský Inovec Mountains, hidden under the crowns of huge trees, is a Slavic fortified complex. The city was never built in its place, and the nearest modern settlement is the village of Bojna. The rich and prosperous fortified settlement suddenly disappeared in the Middle Ages, we can only assume its cause, but we still do not know the obvious reason. Historian and traveler Pavol Croft wrote an article about this mysterious place.
Today, the main fortress is called Bojná Valy and is located in the Považský Inovec Mountains in the Nitra region of the Topoľčany region. A Slavic fortified settlement was established here at the turn of the 8th-9th centuries. At that time, several routes passed through the mountains and Pogna became one of the most convenient transitions to the basins of northern Slovakia and at the same time a link between Bonitezi and Bovaci. During the reign of Pripin, the fortified settlement of the Nitra principality flourished. Hradisko had a dense settlement not only on the Acropolis and the fortress, but also outside the fortifications. There were castles and smaller settlements to guard the adjacent hills.
industry and prosperity
Iron mining and processing was one of the primary sources of fighting wealth and prosperity. The Slavs did not have a developed monetary system, so we were looking in vain for Slavic coins. Instead, the Slavs mainly used the hryvnia iron as currency.
And here, in the fortress, an iron treasure was found – 201 hryvnia. Centuries ago, the owner hid this wealth in a stone oven. He and his children never stopped after him again. Archaeologists have discovered the treasure and it is the largest deposit of iron hryvnia ever found on our lands.
Shopping and crafts
Hradisko was established directly on the trade route and gradually acquired the function of a toll station. Buyers who wanted to cross the mountain pass simply couldn’t get around Bogna. So they had to stop here, pay for the relocation, and at the same time have space to sell their goods and buy local products.
I can imagine that medieval merchants loved our bogna. The local craftsmen were very skilled and made beautiful things, whether it was ceramics, heads, or gilded bronze fixtures. And such, at first glance, trifles, like the results of the keys, testify to the fact that the inhabitants of Pogna were far from simple. They owned many valuables and protected their many belongings under locks for boxes.
Their treasures were guarded not only by castles, but also by proper fortifications. Bojnou’s Recharge was a real nut. Today, this clear fence and moat emphasize this. The walls wrap around the perimeter of the entire complex, which in some places reach a height of 5 meters on the inside and even 10 meters on the outside, where they are also protected by the aforementioned advanced trench. And to complete the picture of the perfect fortification, there is a reconstruction of the two-story gate from the present period.
Christianity and Paganism
The significance of the place is demonstrated not only by the well-being or security of the inhabitants, but also by the spiritual life. The fact that Christianity played a strong role in the life of the inhabitants of the fortified settlement will tell about the group of the most important discoveries that were made here. These are three bronze bells and a set of six gilded panels. Perhaps the panels decorated with angels were part of the portable altar. In these vaults, ritual objects or relics of saints were kept. Thanks to these results, we can say that Bojná was a kind of mission stop on the way to the Ducová and Nitrianská Blatnice regions, where were the sacred buildings of the rotunda.
But the bronze bells give us more questions than answers. One is generally preserved if only two fragments are preserved. The question is why the two bells were completely broken? Can this be linked to religious conflicts between ancient pagan religions and emerging Christianity? The bells could have been symbolically destroyed in such a struggle. It is possible that a pagan uprising occurred here, which could also be one of the reasons for the first destruction of the fortress in the time of Priben. But we know that it was not a final demise and that the life of the castle went on.
the secret of extinction
The inhabitants lived in a place that was well protected from the point of view of the natural site and also from the point of view of the fortifications. Archaeological finds tell us about the prosperity of trade, crafts, wealth and the spiritual life of its inhabitants. What drove Pogna to sudden devastation?
Hradisko even has two periods of her demise. The first of them dates back to the period of the Pribin principality at the beginning of the ninth century. In these times, Bojná probably experienced the greatest expansion and was destroyed for the first time. We cannot say for sure whether the stronghold of Mogmir, who conquered the Nitra Principality, was destroyed at that time. Fortunately, the residents recovered from this and continued to live.
The second and final demise of the fortress occurred at the beginning of the 10th century, but we do not know when exactly. It could have happened after the Battle of Bratislava in 906, but that’s just a guess so far. The cause of death may have been devastating raids by ancient Hungarian forces, as is often interpreted. But this version also raises questions from an archaeological point of view. The fact is that ancient galactic arrowheads were found in the extinction layer, but in addition to this, there were also a number of non-galactic objects. Therefore we cannot say for sure whether it was a raid or a period of cooperation between the fort’s inhabitants and the Bedouins.
We have to wait for the answer. Archaeological research is still underway in Bojná and it will take some time. Although we do not know the reason for the demise of this Slavic settlement, the fact that it remained preserved in time helped us get to know the lives of our ancestors better. And in the summer months, life comes back to the castle. Thanks to the village of Bojná and the civil associations from Slovakia and the Czech Republic, we can immerse ourselves in the Slavic period during the celebrations of Cyril and Methodius.
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