The castle was built on the site of an old hillfort from the Púchov culture and newer from the 10th to the 12th century. Its name appears for the first time in 1315, when king Charles I of Hungary gave it for a loyal service to the Zvolen zupan Donch. The stronghold itself was established a bit earlier to protect trade routes along the river Vah and north to Orava and to Poland. After 1330, when Donch became zupan of Komarno, the castle returned to the king and was managed by castellans.
In 1430, Likava was donated to Barbara of Cilli, the wife of the emperor Sigismund of Luxemburg, but after a year she lost the stronghold for the Hussites, who stayed in the castle until 1434. After their retreating, Sigismund donated castle for war merits to John Hunyadi. Under his rule, Likava was transformed into a strong, large fortress.
In the second half of the fifteenth century its administrator was Piotr Komorowski, but in 1474 he was deprived of the castle for favoring the Jagiellons dynasty in the struggles for the Hungarian throne. Because the Old Liptov castle was then destroyed, the seat of the county was moved to Likava. From 1478, in the castle resided the illegitimate son of king Matthias Corvinus, John, and from 1495 the stronghold was owned by the Zapolya family. It is noteworthy that the Likava castle was one of the few that had glass windows at that time. In 1533, the castle came under the government of the Liptov zupan, Louis Pekry, who made another expansion. In 1651, the castle became the property of Stefan Thokoly. In 1670, during the hunt for members of the anti-Habsburg conspiracy, it was occupied by the imperial troops and devastated. From that time, it served as a headquarter for the army and prison. At the beginning of the 18th century, the Hungarian insurgents of Francis II Rákóczi occupied the castle and after withdrew, destroyed it. Since then, the castle is in ruin.
The castle in its oldest form consisted of a five-sided residential house on the east side and a semi-circular tower located opposite, on the west side. Both elements were joined by a defensive wall which course was adapted to the edge of a rocky hill.
At latest at the beginning of the 15th century, the castle was reinforced with an external wall, but only on the north side, because only there on the rock you could place additional fortifications. Along the new fortifications, a route to the upper castle was led. In this period (the beginning of the fifteenth century), the southern palace was also erected.
From the end of fifteenth century, the upper castle consisted of three residential ranges in a U-shape with a small courtyard in the middle. From the southwest, the gate was covered by a square defensive tower. On the western side, the outer bailey was shaped by a fortified wall with a gatehouse and two towers. The third semicircular tower was added directly to the castle rock on the south side. Another, smaller outer bailey was located on the north side of the castle.
The castle has been preserved in the form of a ruin. Unfortunately, despite the long-lasting renovation and reconstruction works, only the outer bailey is open to visitors. Entry is possible from May 1 to May 31 on Saturdays and Sundays from 10.00 to 16.00, from June 1 to September 18 from 9.00-17.00 every day and from September 19 to October 2 from 10.00 to 16.00.
Bóna M., Plaček M., Encyklopedie slovenských hradů, Praha 2007.
Wasielewski A., Zamki i zamczyska Słowacji, Białystok 2008.