The town of Leopoldov was founded in 1664-1669 as a fortress against the Ottoman Turks on the initiative of Emperor Leopold I (hence the name). It was granted town status in 1669. The fortress has served as a state prison since 1855. During the Communist Czechoslovakia, the Communist government used the prison for holding and liquidating political prisoners, particularly in the 1950s. The conditions were harsh for prisoners, and the prison was one of the most notorious in the former Czechoslovakia. Among the inmates was Gustáv Husák (from 1954 to 1960), who would be later communist president of Czechoslovakia. The prison was modernized and reconstructed in the second half of the 20th century. Before 1989 there were approximately 2,600 inmates in the prison. As of 1990, it was the biggest prison in the present-day Slovakia.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.