The existence of the castle is confirmed in 1321, but it was created a little earlier, probably at the end of the 13th century. The Balass family is considered to be its builders. At the beginning of the 14th century, it was taken over by the magnate Matthew III Csák, who sovereignly ruling the western part of today’s Slovakia. After his death in 1321, Lietava was taken over by king Charles I of Hungary, and then by Louis the Great. In 1360, the castle was granted by the king to Stefan Bebek, and his descendants ruled the stronghold for another hundred years.
In 1474, Matthias Corvinus granted the castle, along with all the property to Paul of Kiniza, which resulted in its greatest expansion in the years 1475-1494. The next owners were John Zapolya and Nicholas Kostka. The daughter of the Nicholas married a rich nobleman, Francis Thurzo, who is associated with the further development of the castle and rebuilding in the renaissance style. In the 17th century, it became an impregnable fortress in which the Thurzons protected their most valuable possessions during wars and unrest.
In 1616, the Hungarian palatine George Thurzo died, and his only son Imre gone away childless, five years later. The castle became a common property of sisters and daughters. The ownership situation was difficult to regulate and meant that no one wanted to get involved in maintaining the stronghold, so in 1698 it was almost deserted. There was only a family archive here, which in 1760-1770 was moved to the Orava castle. In the nineteenth century, the castle Lietava has already fallen into total ruin.
The original medieval stronghold was limited to the later upper castle, which consisted of a square tower measuring 6×6 meters and a small courtyard surrounded by defensive walls with a residential building in the north-east corner, a chapel erected in the farthest part of the rock spur and economic buildings. The tower had timber ceilings and a entry accessible by ladder from the north. The whole area occupied the highest part of the hill and was incorporated into the rocks.
In the second half of the fifteenth century, a second, larger courtyard on the western side was added. From the south it was closed by a residential tower next to which the entrance gate was located. In the sixteenth century, it was walled up, and the new entrance was located on the opposite north side of the courtyard and reinforced with a cylindrical tower. Another horseshoe tower (the so-called Red Tower) was erected from the north-east still in the second half of the fifteenth century, near the oldest part of the castle. In the sixteenth century, another courtyard was created (actually the zwinger on the western and northern sides) called the second ward, reinforced with two horseshoe towers (northern from the second half of the sixteenth century and south-western from the first half of the sixteenth century). The road to the upper castle then led through five gates, along the old defensive walls. On the eastern side, a half-round, large wall with a diameter of 25 meters was added.
The castle survived as a ruin in the form of the XV-XVI century with clear elements of the oldest complex. Among others a square keep up to a height of about 14 meters preserved on the upper castle. In the middle castle, that is the first bailey, in the best condition is a horseshoe tower and a residential and defensive tower. In the worst condition, the lower castle with a defensive tower with two gates has been preserved. Currently, the castle has restoration works, aimed at securing and providing ruins for visitors.
Bóna M., Plaček M., Encyklopedie slovenských hradů, Praha 2007.
Wasielewski A., Zamki i zamczyska Słowacji, Białystok 2008.