The castle was built around the middle of the 13th century from the foundation of Andrew, son of Ivank, a member of the Hont-Poznański family and at the same time the founder of the noble Forgacs family. At the beginning of the 14th century, the fortress was conquered and occupied by the armies of wielding the western part of today’s Slovakia, the Hungarian magnate – Matthew Csák. Some time later, the castle was taken over by the royal army, and returned to the Forgacs.
In 1576, Gýmeš was conquered and destroyed by the Turks. During the reconstruction, a southern ward was created, the castle was also adapted around 1613 to the fire defense, bringing bastion fortifications. In spite of this, in 1619 it was again invaded and destroyed, this time by the army of the prince of Transylvania, Gábor Bethlen. After this event, the Forgacs rebuilt the castle and despite continuous Turkish attacks and invasions (in 1663 and 1671) they lived in it until the beginning of the 19th century. Then the stronghold was so neglected and destroyed that the family decided to leave it.
The castle was erected on the top of rocky mountain at an altitude of 514 meters above sea level. The earliest phase consisted of a circumference of defensive walls that closed the triangular inner courtyard. On its southern side a four-sided tower was erected – a keep, serving a residential and defensive functions, and on the eastern side a semi-cylindrical tower. The keep from the south-east and south-west sides was strengthened by powerful buttresses. Additional building was attached to the south-eastern curtain.
At the end of the 13th century, Thomas, one of the sons of the owner of the castle, Andrew, erected his own castle on the eastern side of the fortress, at a distance of 35 meters. It had the form of a four-sided, irregular shape, and at that time it was not yet connected by a defensive wall with the original castle. The merger of both buildings took place in the first half of the 14th century during the reign of Matthew Csák. From the north and south-east sides, two lines of defensive walls were then led (south-east was twice slightly bent), which separated the eastern ward. In its southern part, a four-sided gate tower was erected. Until the end of the Middle Ages, two more residential buildings were erected in the upper ward.
The castle has survived in the form of a ruin with significant fragments of defensive walls, preserved to the level of the second storey with the main tower, partially preserved semi-cylindrical tower and a early modern castle chapel. Recently, cleaning and rescue works have been carried out. Entrance to the fortress area is free.
Bóna M., Plaček M., Encyklopedie slovenských hradů, Praha 2007.
Wasielewski A., Zamki i zamczyska Słowacji, Białystok 2008.