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:
Kirkjubøargarður ('Yard of Kirkjubøur', also known as King"s Farm) is one of the oldest still inhabited wooden houses of the world. The farm itself has always been the largest in the Faroe Islands. The old farmhouse dates back to the 11th century. It was the episcopal residence and seminary of the Diocese of the Faroe Islands, from about 1100. Sverre I of Norway (1151–1202), grew up here and went to the priest school. The legend says, that the wood for the block houses came as driftwood from Norway and was accurately bundled and numbered, just for being set up. Note, that there is no forest in the Faroes and wood is a very valuable material. Many such wood legends are thus to be found in Faroese history.
The oldest part is a so-called roykstova (reek parlour, or smoke room). Perhaps it was moved one day, because it does not fit to its foundation. Another ancient room is the loftstovan (loft room). It is supposed that Bishop Erlendur wrote the 'Sheep Letter' here in 1298. This is the earliest document of the Faroes we know today. It is the statute concerning sheep breeding on the Faroes. Today the room is the farm"s library. The stórastovan (large room) is from a much later date, being built in 1772.
Though the farmhouse is a museum, the 17th generation of the Patursson Family, which has occupied it since 1550, is still living here. Shortly after the Reformation in the Faroe Islands in 1538, all the real estate of the Catholic Church was seized by the King of Denmark. This was about half of the land in the Faroes, and since then called King"s Land (kongsjørð). The largest piece of King"s Land was the farm in Kirkjubøur due to the above-mentioned Episcopal residence. This land is today owned by the Faroese government, and the Paturssons are tenants from generation to generation. It is always the oldest son, who becomes King"s Farmer, and in contrast to the privately owned land, the King"s Land is never divided between the sons.
The farm holds sheep, cattle and some horses. It is possible to get a coffee here and buy fresh mutton and beef directly from the farmer. In the winter season there is also hare hunting for the locals. Groups can rent the roykstovan for festivities and will be served original Faroese cuisine.
Other famous buildings directly by the farmhouse are the Magnus Cathedral and the Saint Olav"s Church, which also date back to the mediaeval period. All three together represent the Faroe Island"s most interesting historical site.