The first mention of the stronghold comes from 1242, when after the Mongol invasion it was given to lease to one of the loyal knights of king Bela IV. At that time, it was still a timber castle, a brick one was built in the years 1304-1309 on the order of Donch, the zupan of Zvolen. Soon, it became the seat of Turiecs zupans.
The first major expansion of the castle took place in the reign of Sigismund of Luxembourg. This strengthening did not save the castle from being captured by the Hussites in 1434 and a partial burning. In the years 1460-1480, during the reign of Matthias Corvinus, the object was rebuilt and enlarged. Sklabina was a royal castle, but due to its administrative function, it always had a tenant in the person of the zupan. In 1494, it was handed over to the Hungarian palatine, Stefan Zapolya, and after five years it was taken over by his son John, who had to leave this part of Hungary after fighting with the Habsburgs. Later, the inhabitants changed quite often. In 1528, the castle was taken over by Francis Revay, who six years later became the “hereditary and eternal Turiec zupan” and received Sklabina into ownership. The Revayas became the most important family in Turiec, they held their office until 1848, and the owners of the castle and many other goods they remained until 1945.
In relation with the increasing Turkish threat in the 16th century, the castle was expanded. It never had to face the Turkish army, but in 1605 successfully resisted against Bocskaya troops. At the same time, the zupan parliament recognized the defensive capabilities of the castle as insufficient and decided to strengthen them. The reconstruction was carried out by Peter Revay, then the zupan and guardian of the Hungarian crown.
In 1746, the zupan office was moved to Martin. After that date, the castle quickly fell into decline, only for some time it still has a large archive and later an arsenal. Castle was abandoned at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and from then on, it fell into disrepair.
The first was erected the upper castle, 48 x 27 meters, with a small inner courtyard of an irregular, trapezoidal shape. Inside the walls on three sides residential and economic buildings were added. Initially, the castle did not have a tower, it was added in the fifteenth century at the highest point of the hill on the north-west side. The entrance led through the so-called an Old Gate, located in the north-eastern part and secured with a deep moat, over which a wooden bridge was moved.
During the rebuilding and extension of the fifteenth century, the castle was surrounded by new, over two-meter thick walls, at which three polygonal, small towers were added: from the west and at the entrance gate in the northern corner. The area of the zwinger was then about 10-20 meters wide. In the second half of the fifteenth century, a massive gatehouse was reinforced with a foregate with a horseshoe tower. In addition, from the end of the 15th century, the foregate was defended by a pentagonal artillery tower crowned with a battlement, despite the late period of the construction. In the fifteenth century, a gate tower was erected on the upper castle. Its upper floor was occupied by the chapel of St. Andrew with rib vaults.
In the 16th century, the castle grew with a second outer ward on the southern, western and northern sides. A new entry road led it. It reached the first (older) ward on the eastern side, where a massive flanking tower was built (later rebuilt into a four-storey, representative palace). The outer gate on the second ward was placed on the west side and equipped with a two low towers flanking the entrance.
The ruins of the castle since 2000 are in the hands of the DONJON association from Martin, which carries out the reconstruction of some objects and the restoration of the rest of them. The area was cleared of greenery and cleaned up, a path for tourists was marked out, information boards were set up. The most urgent maintenance works were also carried out.
Bóna M., Plaček M., Encyklopedie slovenských hradů, Praha 2007.
Wasielewski A., Zamki i zamczyska Słowacji, Białystok 2008.