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:
Hluboká Castle (Schloss Frauenberg) is considered one of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic. In the second half of the 13th century, a Gothic castle was built at the site. During its history, the castle was rebuilt several times. It was first expanded during the Renaissance period, then rebuilt into a Baroque castle at the order of Adam Franz von Schwarzenberg in the beginning of the 18th century. It reached its current appearance during the 19th century, when Johann Adolf II von Schwarzenberg ordered the reconstruction of the castle in the romantic style of England's Windsor Castle.
The Schwarzenbergs lived in Hluboká until the end of 1939, when the last owner (Adolph Schwarzenberg) emigrated overseas to escape from the Nazis. The Schwarzenbergs lost all of their Czech property through a special legislative Act, the Lex Schwarzenberg, in 1947.
The original royal castle of Přemysl Otakar II from the second half of the 13th century was rebuilt at the end of the 16th century by the Lords of Hradec. It received its present appearance under Count Jan Adam of Schwarzenberg. According to the English Windsor example, architects Franz Beer and F. Deworetzky built a Romantic Neo-Gothic chateau, surrounded by a 1.9 square kilometres English park here in the years 1841 to 1871. In 1940, the castle was seized from the last owner, Adolph Schwarzenberg by the Gestapo and confiscated by the government of Czechoslovakia after the end of World War II. The castle is open to public. There is a winter garden and riding-hall where the Southern Bohemian gallery exhibitions have been housed since 1956.