The history of the Vígľaš Castle reaches to the early medieval times when Slavic fortifications were built on these very same hillsides overlooking the Slatina River. In addition,the monastery, most likely run by the Templar Knighthood, also was in operation. Soon thereafter, the property became the possession of the Johanit Order (later called the Maltese Knights) and King Karol Robert of Anjou. In 1318, King Robert established the first secular knighthood in Europe: the Order of Saint George the Dragon Slayer (also known as the Hungarian Militant Brotherhood). King Robert’s son, Ludovit the 1st, also known as Ludovit the Great (of Anjou) carried on and grew the legacy of the Knighthood as the Grand Master accepting even more members than his predecessor. Ludovit the 1st was responsible for beginning construction of the castle residence Vígľaš, which was later finished by the Roman and German Emperor Sigismund of Luxemburg in form of a hunting castle.
In 1408, Sigismund of Luxemburg, together with his wife Barbara Celjská, made their home in the castle. Copying the tenants of the Order of Saint George the Dragon Slayer, Sigismund created the Order of the Dragon at Vígľas. Later, Sigismund appointed the Queen Barbara to run the castle – a job she did until her death. The surrounding royal woods and forests were known for its great hunting conditions made the castle a favorite getaway place during the reign of the King Matej Korvin, as well.
Then, in the second half of 16th century, after the Battle of Mohács, the castle played a very important role in a number of key battles against the Turks. During that time, a new fortification with four signature corner guarded watch towers was built.
In 1636, the castle was briefly occupied by Stefan Bockay`s uprising rebels. It later became the private property of feudal families, first being owned by the Csáky family, and then by the Esterházy family from 1690 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.During the second half of the 19th century, reconstruction efforts began on the caste, but they were hindered by significant fire and other damage during WWII. The castle was then left to deteriorate in ruins. In 2007, a private investor bought the castle and its grounds. In collaboration with the European Union Offices for Preservation of Monuments, the reconstruction of the castle’s fortifications, adjacent bastions, and the main castle itself began in 2009. Work on the extensive reconstruction project was completed in 2013, and this historic property is now The Grand Vígľaš hotel.References:
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.