The castle was built on the order of the Hungarian king Bela IV on the site of an older, abandoned settlement from the 1st century BC, probably shortly after the great Mongol invasion of 1241-1242. It was first mentioned in writing in 1262. It guarded the western part of the Liptov Basin, including a busy trade route running through the Sesterska Valley to Orava and further to Poland.
In the fourteenth century, the castle was ruled by the powerful Upper Hungarian magnate Matthew Csák, and after his fall in 1321, the zupan Donch. Since 1340 it was the seat of the Liptov zupans. At the end of the fourteenth century, it was occupied for a short period by the Moravian margrave Prokop, and in the years 1431-1434 was under the control of the Hussite troops. During their removal, the castle was destroyed, as mentioned in documents from 1440 – 1441. Since 1454, the castle remained in the possession of Pongrác, who rebuilt it and enlarged by the eastern bailey. After him from 1459, the castle was ruled by the Polish magnate Piotr Komorowski, who favored the Jagiellonians in their attempts to win the Hungarian throne. After an unsuccessful expedition of the young Casimir Jagiellon for the Hungarian crown in 1471, Matthias Corvinus forced Komorowski to give away the castle, which in 1474 he ordered to burn and demolish.
The castle stood on a rocky hill, falling on two sides with vertical rock walls, and on two falling very steep slopes. Placed at an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level it was the highest placed castle in today’s Slovakia.
The original castle consisted of a residential building and an irregular perimeter of the defensive walls. Perhaps the northern part of the building had the form of a square tower, but its existence in newer literature is questioned, and the square part is considered only as a separate room of the residential building. This would be indicated by the same thickness of the wall as in the rest of the building, although some wooden or half-timbered superstructure of this part cannot be ruled out, as it was the highest place of the castle. The wall on the north-west side had an unusual thickness of up to 4 meters. It secured the castle from the access road, creating the so-called shield wall, protecting the inside of the castle from missles. A miniature courtyard was located in front of the building, housing a rainwater tank (it was not possible to dig a well at such a high altitude), followed by a larger economic ward. The original entrance gate was unusually located in the south-west part of the building, but before the mid-fourteenth century it was moved near the new quadrilateral tower on the south side. Inside tower, a second rainwater tank was placed.
At the end of the 14th century, the eastern outer bailey was fortified with a stone wall, although this part was probably earlier protected by timber fortifications. Perhaps the new wall was reinforced with a four-sided, corner tower on the north side. The first gate was moved to the north-west side of the four-sided tower with rainwater, from where, after passing the drawbridge and reaching the eastern courtyard of the outer ward, the road turned to the middle and upper castle, through a rock carved ditch and a wooden bridge placed over it. In the eastern bailey there was certainly a lighter, wooden or half-timbered economic buildings, among others traces of the forge’s functioning were found there. In the mid-fifteenth century, a low wall was built forming another courtyard in the lower, eastern part of the castle.
Bóna M., Plaček M., Encyklopedie slovenských hradů, Praha 2007.
Wasielewski A., Zamki i zamczyska Słowacji, Białystok 2008.