Dear visitors,

welcome to the La femme fatale of Ľubovňa Castle exhibition. The texts found in this guide, are texts located on the walls of the room. They have their own numbers by the map located in the guide.

1. Femme fatale of Lubovna Castle

Women have been the part of Ľubovňa Castle since we remember, although, their position has been frequently neglected within history. The castle history has been predominantly dedicated to men so far – owners, governors, descendants, prisoners … Even though women were present everywhere, their presence was mostly shrouded in mystery. However, it was mostly a fate that has brought them to Ľubovňa Castle.

The position of women was constantly changing throughout history.

The approach towards them was strongly influenced by religion and faith in the Medieval Age. The essential understanding of a woman was faith according to which the mother Eve was the reason for sin and decline of humanity to disgrace and suffering. This approach threw women to a dark shade assuming the high inclination of women to sin.  The exact contradiction was the idol of a woman divided into two forms: woman – saint, woman – the symbol of love. Both forms were depicted in literature, art and cultural understanding of women.

Women were dependent on men since the early beginnings of European kingdoms – firstly, father, later husband and often as widow and son as well. Women of the Kingdom of Hungary were legally competent after the law reforms of Stephan I., but only regarding the property matters, honor and morality. The significant change was made in the half of the 16th century. The significant changes in understanding the role and the position of women in society were done at the top of humanism and Renaissance in the Kingdom of Hungary. Changes were mostly caused by the situation in the Kingdom of Hungary. Most men were fighting at the battlefields and women depended on themselves. They carried the entire burden of housekeeping what made a woman equal partner to her husband in terms of property management. The position of woman was significantly dependent on her social class membership. In comparison to the aristocracy, women in towns followed their own rights. They often took part in various jobs and were allowed to join craft associations. The vassal women, practically equal to vassal men, had a completely different position in society. However, in their case, traditional women activities, such as cleaning, cooking, but even health care were present at that time.

A significant change in the position of woman has been done in the 19th century. As a result of damaging the social class differences, there are more and more voices justifying the equalization of the gender positions. It was about the equalizing the rights of women mostly within their work conditions or other job positions, such as physician, lawyer, etc. The development of the gender equalization has been brought in the 20th century when women were forced to substitute men in many positions due to World War I.

Accepting the role of man in daily life has brought the equalization of rights in all areas of daily life.

Consequently, the erotic function of a woman was more thought of. This change has brought even some negatives as you can see within the title of the exhibition. Femme fatale were perceived as erotic objects, objects of passion. The 1960s was the period of completion of equalization of the gender position of women as the USA invented anticonception. Women were given the possibility to make decisions on their parenthood. They acquired “the control” over their own body, and equality towards men, they could decide what to do with their lives by themselves.  

2. In the beginning there was a woman

The beginning of Ľubovňa Castle reaches the last third of the 13th century. The first written evidence on the castle comes from 1311. The position of women was held within the spirit of medieval traditions. Women were determined by their social role in this period. The life of a woman could be divided into three main life stages: virginity, marriage, and widowhood.

The woman was considered the weaker gender and had to be protected (by man). That was the reason she was subjected to the mastery of father and husband later on. The position of wife and mother earned its significance no later than in the modern period of time.  The understanding of women was double-sided at that time. On one hand, the woman was a saint, on the other hand, the woman was a bearer of sin. The change in her position came with the Renaissance when the woman became the beauty ideal.  The ideal woman in Medieval Age was a saint living a virgin way of life. The steady faith, devotion to God and charity should be her major positive features.  The life of women was influenced mainly by external conditions and their natural function, mostly culture, determined their social position. Women were rarely involved in public administration that explains a low number of queens in the history of the Kingdom of Hungary and Poland.

Women of significant position were part of the castle’s history at that time. The first woman of Ľubovňa Castle was the widow of Amadeus Aba, due to the written evidence. She gave up the properties of Abov and Zemplín County, Mukachevo and Ľubovňa Castle in a written form after the death of her husband in 1311. She handed the property over on paper only, as her sons stood against the king in the upcoming battle. And that is a different chapter of the men’s history. We know very little about the widow herself. There are very few references to herself within the documents published by herself or her children. There were two princesses – two queens – daughters of Louis I. the Great – Maria and Hedviga – who were more significant female personalities related to the life in Ľubovňa Castle. Louis I. the Great was a significant ruler having no male descendant. However, he succeeded to promote his three daughters as queens: Catharine, Maria, and Hedviga. He brought up his daughters in the spirit of the Kingdom of Hungary, strived for their education, especially in Latin. The oldest Catharine should take a throne of The Kingdom of Hungary, Maria should become Polish Empress and have been verbally-engaged since she was 8-years old to 2-year-younger Brandenburg margrave Sigismund. The youngest one, Hedviga, was engaged to William Austrian (Habsburg) and should promote cooperation and peace with Austria. However, the plans were changed as Louis I. the Great has died in 1382. In 1379, Catharine has died, the Kingdom of Hungary throne has been shifted to Hedviga. The Kingdom of Hungary aristocracy has chosen Maria as their empress after the death of the king. In her infant age, her mother Elisabeth Kotromaničová was her regent. Maria was crowned as the Kingdom of Hungary empress in 1382. However, the fatal difficulties caused she lost the queen’s crown, but she got it back thanks to her husband Sigismund Luxembourg, unfortunately not for a long time. In 1392, she spent a lot of time in Ľubovňa Castle where she met her sister Hedviga, the Polish empress. Three years later, being pregnant, she fell off horse hunting. Consequently, delivered the baby prematurely and lost the life of a baby and herself as well.

The fate of Maria’s younger sister Hedviga was very similar. After the Polish aristocracy had elected her as their empress, she was crowned as Polish king in 1384. She was forced to give up on her fiancé William and marry much older pagan Vladislav, the Lithuanian count. Both ruled equally, although Vladislav II. Jagiello had constantly strived to diminish the influence of his wife. In 1392, she met her sister in the Kingdom of Hungary where she tried to mitigate the pain of the position she experienced. The pregnancy of Hedviga became fatal. She delivered her daughter Elisabeth Bonifacia prematurely, unfortunately, she lived three weeks only. A week later, Hedviga died as well.

3. Enjoy he until her 10, up to 15 take care of her

The childhood and the upbringing the children is described mostly within the guides for the education and the methods to bring the children up. However, the understanding of adulthood was different in every single period. The ones who we consider children nowadays were usually considered adults back at the time. The maturity of women was set for 12-years old in the Medieval Ages because they could go to law at this age. Women, since they were 14, were responsible for the matters related to debts, deposits, golden and silver items and movable properties. Women in her 16 could freely own the property. This timeline has been slowly moved throughout the ages and settled on the age of 15 in the 20th century with the full legal maturity in her 18.  

The history of Ľubovňa Castle does not report the life of children in the castle too much, neither women in this sense. The first known children in the castle who we found numerous evidence of are the Zamoyski family children.

Two generations of the family brought up 12 children in the castle. Andrew and Carolina Zamoyski (the castle owners in 1881 – 1927) had seven children in total – Maria Joseph, Frank Joseph, Stanislav, Maria Isabella (Rosa), Maria Theresa, Maria Caroline, and Ján Kanty.  Caroline was a loving mother constantly writing about their cute children to her husband traveling the world.  They brought up the children in a strict and religious spirit. They read them the life stories of saints every day and prayed together every evening. Father blessed them with a virtual cross on their forehead before they went to bed. He treated them very strictly when they were naughty, he sat them on a bookshelf in his library. As they were scared of heights, they did not even move over there.  

Caroline was a loving mother, although afraid of her children, never intervened to the educational methods of her husband.

Children washed themselves with cold water in the tub every morning, no matter winter or summer. Such a strict education has taught all Zamoyski children not to let others know their feelings.

Ján and Isabella Zamoyski brought up their children in a similar spirit. They were the last private owners of Ľubovňa castle. Isabella was a very religious person and led their children the same way. They had four children: Carol Alfonse, Maria Christina, Joseph Michael, and Maria Theresa.  Children were taken care of by babysitters: sister Hedviga and Sister Dora, both from Austria. In 1937, children had a Polish teacher to learn them the language of their ancestors. Ján and Isabella loved their children. Ján let his children play with him and spent some time together in spite of being busy with his work. He developed various games and entertainment they played together with Isabella in the evenings. Isabella was interested in everything regarding the children. She played and studied with them. She was a very good and careful mother. Maria Christine was a very pretty child. She was relatively tall and her figure possessed some ruling features none of other Zamoyski children had. She had blue eyes and light short ear-tip-long hair clipped on a side. She was a calm child receptive of the natural beauties. The youngest child Maria Theresa was a restless child. She was born at Easter in 1938 and was a family sweetheart.

4. When she gets 20, pay the one who pays plenty

The understanding of a woman in the past is characterized the best in a description of the life of a girl in a parable: “Enjoy her till her 10, up to 15 take care of her then, guard her till her 20 and when she gets 20, pay the one who pays plenty”. Small girls were perceived as cute beauties of an aristocratic family. Ladies reaching their lawful age were getting ready for the basic role of their lives – wife and mother. The greatest worries at their age was a good marriage for them and especially their parents. Girls had to be under the protection of their guardians (parents, grandparents, and others) until they reached the age of maturity. In the later period of time, the adulthood border of women had been set for 24.

In case the women wanted to reach the age of maturity earlier, they had to get married. In medieval age, it was possible after they’ve reached 12, later on in 16.

P. Pazmány recommends the age of 17 as the best for getting married at the beginning of the 17th century. The most significant and splendid picture of a woman before the wedding can be seen in the modern period. It is related to great changes in Ľubovňa Castle, especially to great names of Lubomirski family representatives. Girls and women had a significant role there. The significance and the property of the family were increasing along with great weddings.

Many of the Lubomirski family women surpassed other ladies in this period. The first representative of Lubomirski family had eight children, six of them were girls. Two of his daughters, Anna and Eleanora have decided to join the monastery. The oldest daughter Catharine had the most productive wedding in 1597. She married Janusz Ostrogski, Cracow castellan at that time. She was one of the richest women in Poland. Neither other wives of rulers in Ľubovňa Castle were just ordinary women. In 1613, Stanislav got married Zofia Ostrogski, granddaughter of the last woman from a royal Piast family in Mazovsko. His son Sebastian was married twice and had seven children. His descendants divided the family into several lines. Ľubovňa Castle is related to the so-called Łańcut line. George Sebastian had daughter Christine with his first wife. He married her with Felix Potocký in Wisnicz Castle on September 15th to 25th 1661. The most significant representatives of Poland were invited to the wedding. They ate 60 oxen, 5 thousand roosters, 8 thousand chickens, 18 thousand eggs, the wedding included 4 days of the feast, therefore they had 13 thousand fish as well. They drank 270 barrels of the best Tokai wine. Stanislav Heraklius, the member of the Lubomirski family, had a pretty good selection of women. His first wife was Zofia Opalinska, considered to be the most well-educated Polish woman of that time. Their daughter Elisabeth became the owner of the royal castle in Wilanow in 1720. She was very proud and sarcastic. Her daughter Zofia Maria became the richest inheritress in Poland at that time due to the properties of Lubomirski and Sieniawski families (her father was Adam Nicolaus Sieniawski). The second wife of Stanislav Heraklius, Elisabeth, the countess Doenhof, was well-known for her beauty altogether with her sister Catharine. The most interesting marriage was one of the last members of the Lubomirski family, Theodor. Theodor, aspiring for Polish throne, began the life with wife of the merchant Ján Christic in 1721. He married Elisabeth Culler-Cumming in 1727. She was well-known for her beauty and converted from Protestant to Roman-Catholic because of Theodor. She has got thirty thousand Polish zloty right after the wedding as the gift of her husband. The family has never approved the marriage and strived to get the money from Elisabeth back after the death of Theodor. Older daughter of Theodor and Elisabeth got married Nicolaus Esterházy happily and moved to the Kingdom of Hungary.

5. A good wife is a representative of her husband

According to the tradition, the keystone of life of every woman is a marriage. The sign of the right Christian marriage was an exclusive equal relationship of a man and a woman, its resistance, stability and deep connection of both partners in a lifelong partnership with unconditional acceptance of the main goal – reproducing children. A woman becoming and getting the status of a wife and mother gained the generally accepted role of mother, as well as a housewife or the administrator of property acquired by her husband.  The key moment for creating her identity was motherhood.  The understanding of marriage in the Kingdom of Hungary has changed after the Marriage Charter by Joseph II in 1787. The role of women was freer as the attention was emphasized in their education. The first emancipation efforts appear in the world in this period (England, USA). A woman has been understood as a good wife in the Kingdom of Hungary.

Due to former rules, the perfect wife ought to be a representative of her husband, she should mind her language, eat and drink accurately.

She ought to be neat and mind the cleaning. She shouldn’t spend the money given by her husband immediately. She should be able to cook well, keep the silence more than speak when dining, shouldn’t look at other men, shouldn’t roam on the streets and gamble, or even drink with strangers.  The women of Raisz family met the above-mentioned rules of an ideal wife. George (III.) Felix Raisz bought Ľubovňa Castle in 1825. He moved with his wife Apollonia Teöke Csépánfalviova from Levoča to Ľubovňa Castle after 22 years of their marriage in 1827. Apollonia was sad to leave a cheerful Levoča society and their former cozy home. She had a happy marriage together with George Felix. They had four children: Alexander, Anna Nepomucena, Julius and Constantine. The Siblings of Felix visited them in Ľubovňa Castle quite often, except Augustine, the well-known Spiš archivist. Sister Anna Maria, the wife of Melichar Detrich, was welcomed in the castle, as well as brother Ladislav with his wife Maria Berzeviczy.

Apollonia was a carrying mother and good wife. When coming to Stará Ľubovňa, their children were grown up. The oldest Alexander was 19 and had major health problems. As a student, he fell in love with the sister of his classmate Paul Soós. The young love approved even by the family was over as Alexander has died in 1929. Apollonia was totally down because of a death and blamed herself for the death of her son. She blamed harsh weather conditions at Ľubovňa Castle. Their second child Anna got married Adam Mariássy in her 20 on May 16th, 1831. Their marriage was relatively happy. She gave birth to their son Rudolph. Their younger son Julius made his parents less happy. He was very ambitious and strived to find his place in higher society. It is used to say he has got an affair with the member of the imperial family during his stay in Vienna that made him leave the city. He married Clara in 1839, widow Biro, née HendreyMarocsai. His father addressed him a note he does not live his life due to his diligent work but out of his wife’s mercy. The cutest child after the death of Alexander was the youngest son Constantine. His parents loved him too much and kept in a written touch in tensely. Once, his father addressed him in his letter “to finally take care of what you need for your happiness – a wife. But not to be your mistress but a soul mate in life!” Constantine took the advice of his father literally and has got married the prettiest woman in the Kingdom of Hungary, Maria Irma Ujházy in Ľubovňa Castle in 1846. The wedding was poetically described even in a guest book of Raisz family. Apollonia Teöke has died in the castle in 1860, George Felix has died a year after her death a well, supposedly because of grief over his beloved wife. Constantine with his wife became the inheritors of the castle. They had to sell the castle in 1880.

6. The will of God must be accepted

Since we remember, older ladies and widows had a special position among the women. Widow had a special widow right established at the time of Stephan I. The main idea of a widow right was to provide a dignified adequate life of a widow after a husband’s death.  Widows in Ľubovňa Castle appear no later than in the 20th century. The period is related to the emancipation and possessing equal rights as men had within the history of women. On one hand, emancipation has brought legal equality between the position of men and women, but on the other hand even the abuse of women as an erotic symbol. As it is used to say, there is the right time for everything.  

The most well-known widow in the history of Ľubovňa Castle is Caroline Zamoyski de Bourbon.

The 20th century has brought the women of Zamoyski family not only pleasure and love but mostly suffering and pain.

Caroline Zamoyski de Bourbon was not only the loving and caring motherin the eyes of her children but even the model grandmother. Children in Podzamcze, where she spent the time living with her son František, remember her as a very pretty woman. She was good at advising, helped the poor and always had some treats for children. She spent most of the time with her son Ján in Stará Ľubovňa. The war times were very difficult for the entire family. The family was interned as vassals of the emperor (of the czarist part of Poland) during World War I and had to stay in Stará Ľubovňa. Caroline had experienced the hard times after the death of her son Stanislav a year ahead of the war began. On the brighter side, she enjoyed the marriage of her daughter Maria Isabella (Rosa) to Stephan Belino – Brzozowski. It was a marriage of convenience, but very happy. In 1916, her daughter Theresa was born, everybody called her Therinka. The oldest daughter was married to JánBisping, they had 13 children. The youngest daughter of Caroline (having the same name Caroline) got married to Reinier de Bourbon des Deux – Siciles in 1923. The wedding took place in Vyšné Ružbachy. The couple lived in La Combe in France. Andrew Zamoyski died in 1927 and Caroline became a widow for fourteen years. Their last daughter Theresa had the need to join the monastery first, consequently joined the Order of Warsaw Canonists in 1936. She married the count Juraj Jezierski in 1938.

World War 2 has brought the major suffering to women of the Zamoyski family. When the war began in 1938, Caroline had to stay in her apartment in Warsaw being financially supported by her sons František and Ján. She was relatively sick. Besides the Elisabethian Sisters, who she supported during the interwar period, her daughter Theresa took care of her.  Her husband has been violently deported to Russia in 1940 and has never heard of him anymore. During World War 1, she was a nurse in a hospital train of Maltese cross. After the death of her mother in 1941, Theresa determined herself to know something more about her husband and joined the revolt. She has been caught by a German patrol in 1944 and they sent her to a work camp in Čiernavoda in Silesia. She spent there 10 months, her duty was to peel potatoes, therefore her new nickname “potato countess”.  Her sister Rosa also moved to Warsaw during World War II. As they had no finances, she had to work as a sales assistant. She’s got inspired with a job of her daughter Therinka who worked as a waitress. She wanted to have a rest with her sister in Vyšné Ružbachy where they owned the villas and then continue to France to meet other sisters.  During World War II, their oldest sister Josepha got to France. They interned them all together with husband, left her out later on and sent her husband nobody knows where. Josepha, with the help of the Italian royal family, got to Italy first, and France later.  Theresa and Rosa wanted to leave Czechoslovakia but failed to succeed. They were forced to stay in VyšnéRužbachy where they lived in very poor conditions. Theresa has died first in 1953 and Rosa in 1968.

7. The women of the museum, the museum of women

We cannot conclude the history of the Ľubovňa Castle with the deaths of the last private owners. Its history continues up to the present. In 1960, the first director of the Geographical Museum in StaráĽubovňa, Andrej Čepiššák, established the castle museum. Women have intervened the history of the castle since early beginnings. The  first museum documentarist was the daughter of director, JozefínaČepiššáková. Director employed his wife as a cleaner. In the upcoming period, there were many women related to the activities of the museum. They performed various functions. The most common female functions were related to the cleaners’ positions.

Aesthetic managers of expositions (as we usually term the position here in the museum) fill the significant role.

The first thing visitors take note of is whether they do their jobs properly or not. Another position filled exclusively by women is the position of an economist. Women filled various positions here: documentarist, ethnographer, historian, art historian, lecturer, exposition manager, administrative technician, archeologist, human resources officer, marketing officer, and secretary.

All of these positions belong to the significant and inseparable part of the museum. The only woman directing the museum was Mgr. Monika Pavelčíková in 1994 – 2011. There were 115 women working in the museum so far, including 18 of them who still work in the museum at present. You can see the pictures of the ones who worked in the museum (or still work) for more than 10 years as well as the present female employees of the castle hanging on the wall here.

8. Become of the woman of the museum

All female visitors to the castle are the women of the museum. Every single one of them leaves at least some trait on the ground or a signature in the guest book. Today you can become the female employees of the museum. Have a try and clean after guests leave. There are a broom and bucket in the corner. Feel free to take them and help us to do your small part in making our castle a bit more beautiful place.

You can easily enjoy even other professions here. For instance, try the job of the museum documentarist. Design the collector’s item the museum should get for our collection fund. If you know any item, donor or seller, we will be glad you let us know. If you feel any of our items are not described correctly, please, experience our professional employees and help us to improve the technical and professional level of our museum. Drop your suggestions to the box writing SUGGESTIONS.

You also can experience the role of our marketing officers and professional admins. Design the event you would like to experience in our castle or the open-air museum. Recommend any event. Offer the topic of the exhibition, including performance recommendations. Suggest the research topics you would be interested in. Drop your ideas to the box writing EVENTS and EXHIBITIONS.

Do you have a feeling it is still not enough what we could offer you to become a team member of the Ľubovňa Castle? Drop any idea, suggestion or even complaint to the box writing IDEAS.

Every single one of us creates history, either personal or general. All of us are part of one great cycle of the world full of men and women.

Are you interested in our exhibition and would you rather read this information in the comfort of your home?

Here you will find the full version of the accompanying texts from the exhibition.


    ® AUTOR Mgr. Františka Marcinová, PhD., Ľubovnianske múzeum – hrad v Starej Ľubovni, www.hradlubovna.sk