In the past, in Slovakia there were approximately 150 castles and manor houses. Fate was unkind to most of them, which is why their re-creation in model form is greatly appreciated. Miniature versions of about 50 castles, manor houses, palaces, and churches have been built in 1:50 and 1:25 scale. So why the Kingdom of Matúš? The artist decided to create the miniature castles from western Slovakia, which at the turn of the 14th century, belonged to the “Lord of the Váh and Tatras”, Matúš Čák of Trenčín (native form of his name was Csák Máté).
Juraj Hlatký’s ultimate goal is to complete 80-100 pieces. His miniatures, of course, are not meant to depict the ruins of today, but rather to recreate how these noble castles appeared around 1700. He is attempting to restore their former glory.
The number of visitors to the park only helps to confirm just what a unique idea this historical reconstruction is. Half of the visitors are tourists from the Czech Republic, and many others are from far-away countries, even as far as New Zealand. It seems that only we Slovaks have but scant interest in our culture and history. Visitors are often surprised at just how beautiful and, sometimes massive, our castles once were. After all, these castles played an important strategic role, not only in the middle ages, but in the early modern era as well.
It is not easy to create a model castle. This creative work first begins with documented drawings, if at all available. Other period photographs, paintings, drawings, and other documents are also used as well. Aerial shots, photography and other hand measurements also help. The process continues with drawings from the modeller’s documentation. In the case of more complicated structures, each part is created separately and then joined together as a whole. It can also not be overlooked that these castle models must stand on a firm foundation. The final phase is the landscaping, drainage of the courtyard and, finally, painting of the building. The entire process of creating one, demanding model may take up to two years. The first reconstruction was the model of the Branč Castle, which was begun in August 2003. This one was followed by models of Krupinská Vartovka and the Živánska Tower of the Holíčsky Manor House with farm buildings. During the winter the miniatures are covered as the water and snow could cause damage. Among the surrounding historic buildings that can be found here are models of the Beckov, Dobrá Voda, Čachtice, Nitra, Gýmeš, Oponice, Trenčín, Topoľčianky, Tematín, Smolenice and Hlohovec Castles.
These miniatures have spawned a number of educational, cultural and social events. The project has also been extremely helpful in promoting tourism not only in the village, but throughout the region as well. Various souvenirs, publications, posters, guidebooks, postcards, and, occasionally, commemorative stamps are also available for purchase. You and the children can enjoy concentration cards, folding (pop-up) castles, magnets, or a passport of the Kingdom of Matúš. Under certain conditions you can even become a citizen of the Kingdom of Matúš. You can find out about these conditions on site. Of course, you must not be afraid of ghosts or spirits.
The Park of Miniatures is located approximately in the centre of the village Podolie near the elementary school. During the summer school holidays it is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 4:30 pm. During the months of May, June and September it is accessible to visitors only by advanced booking.