Vígľaš – castle

History

   The foundation of the castle dates back to the end of the 14th century and links with the royal hunting grounds near Zvolen. The hunting lodge, mentioned for the first time in 1393, was to serve the king during his trips to the massif of Polana. Later, it shared the fate of other castles of the Zvolen zupa: in the fifteenth century, it was owned by successive queens, in 1490 it went into private hands, and later changed the owners several times. Over time, it became the center of a large estate comprising three towns and over a dozen villages. The castle was never captured by the Turks, although it suffered many damages during sieges. Beginning of 1690, the castle belonged to the Esterhazy family, who rebuilt it in the baroque style, turning it into a luxurious aristocratic residence. At the end of the 19th century, it was rebuilt in a romantic style, when, among other things, battlement was added on the fortifications of the outer ward. In the winter of 1945, during the front battles, it burned down.

Architecture

   Initially, the castle consisted of three ranges, which together with the built-in rock formed a closed courtyard with a total size of 60 x 85 meters. On the south side, only a defensive wall was placed, and the inner courtyard was surrounded by cloisters. The entry was placed in the vaulted passage of the west wing, leading from the side of the outer ward. The form of the castle was probably similar to the New Castle in Zvolen, created in a similar time. Defense devices were limited to arrowslits in the outer walls of the buildings and the extended tower in the north-east corner. The castle was also surrounded by a moat. Representation rooms were located mainly on the first floor of the north and east ranges. It had timber, flat ceilings and were illuminated with four-sided windows with central crosses. The ground floor was on the other hand economic, there was a kitchen, warehouses, pantries and a well in one of the rooms. At the southern end of the east wing there was a chapel. Access to it led from the cloisters and the adjacent side room, the chancel was polygonally ended, and the interior topped with a rib vault.
   Great expansion took place in the sixteenth century, when the castle was transformed into one of the fortresses of the defense system of the Slovak lands, against the Turks. It was surrounded by a new wall with two round towers in the east, and later in the western corners, two cannon towers were added. The entrance to the fortified gate on the outer ward led through a drawbridge. A hexagonal tower was built in 1574 near the castle, performing an observation and signaling function. It had visual communication with other objects of this type. Its remains are located on a hill, 150-200 meters south-west of the castle.

Current state

   Until recently, the castle was in a state of ruin that was led by World War II. In recent years, however, it has been rebuilt by a private investor and transformed into a hotel and conference center. It is possible to visit it, and it is best to check dates and times on the official website of the castle here.

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bibliography:
Bóna M., Plaček M., Encyklopedie slovenských hradů, Praha 2007.
Wasielewski A., Zamki i zamczyska Słowacji, Białystok 2008.