Grand Vígľaš

History

The beginning of the occupation of the rocky hillside over the river Slatina can be assumed in the early Middle Ages when the Slavic fortification was present in this area. Later the monastery was established, probably governed and owned by the Templars. After their demise the property was probably in the hands of another order, the Johanniters (later called the Maltese Knights) or King Carol Robert of Anjou.

In 1325, King Carol Robert founded the First World Knight’s Order in Europe ‘The Hungarian Brotherhood’ – The Knights of St. George. His son Louise I, called ‘The Great’ (Anjou), later carried on as a grandmaster of the Knight’s Order – the Hungarian Brotherhood and accepted even more members than his predecessor.  Louise I. built a castle residence in Vígľaš, later completed and rebuilt as a hunting lodge by Sigismund of Luxembourg.

The King of Hungary, the Roman-German Emperor, and later King of Bohemia, Sigismund of Luxembourg and his wife Barbara Celje founded the Order of the Dragon in 1408. They accepted their supporters and other sovereigns and formed a coalition with them. The Vígľaš Castle was a meeting place dedicated to this order. Later Sigismund passed the administration of the Vígľaš castle to Queen Barbara, who managed it until his death.

The Vígľaš Castle remained a favourite place to take a rest also during the reign of King Matthias Corvinus. The surrounding royal forests provided plenty of opportunities for relaxation and hunting.

In the second half of the 16th century, the castle played an important role in the anti-Turkish battles. At that time a new fortification including four corner towers were added to the castle and guarded by a permanent military crew. In 1605 the castle was briefly occupied by Stefan Bockay`s uprising rebels.

Later it became the private property of Feudal families, first being owned by the Csáky family, then from 1690 by the Esterházy family until the end of feudalism. The Esterházy family changed the character of the property to a manor house and so very little had been preserved from its original architecture – only the Gothic Chapel and a part of the fortification. The castle was last restored in the second half of the 19th century.

During World War II it was damaged and burnt to a large extent.   In 2007 the ruins of the castle were bought by the Rekitar family. We can now admire the castle in its full glory with the tasteful and thoughtful extensive reconstruction and refurbishments which were completed in 2013 by the family of the present owners.