At the end of the 14th century the ruler Luis I. had built a hunting lodge at the hillock over the centre of the town Zvolen at the place of an old sacral building. It also comprised of a two-storey Gothic chapel. The servants entered its ground floor through a richly decorated portal from the courtyard. Over this entrance, on the level of the first floor, there was a special entrance to the royal church gallery which could be entered from a courtyard balcony supported by stone brackets. The four-wing building with a closed ground plan, internal courtyard and two towers built to resemble Italian manor houses was renovated in the middle of the 16th century. In relation to the threat posed by Turkish expansion the castle was surrounded by fortification strengthened by four cylindrical bastions. An additional floor was build to the castle and corner oriel turrets with cone-shaped roofs were added. The difference between the original residential building brightened by large two and three-part windows and the additional storey, and the defence character of which is emphasized by wide cannon loopholes and small observation windows, is distinguishable even today. The Renaissance character of the castle is underlined by the gabled attic overlapping the ridges of the counter roofs slopping down to the courtyard. During the reconstructions in the 17th and 18th century, when the Esterházy family owned the castle, the Gothic chapel was rebuilt in a Baroque style and turned into a single space. Among its interesting features is the wooden coffered ceiling with paintings of Roman emperors which was installed in the great hall on the 1st floor during the 18th century. After the administration of the Zvolen County was transferred to Banská Bystrica, the castle lost its administrative importance. At the end of the 19th century it underwent minimum adjustments and was substantially reconstructed in the second half of the 20th century. Preserved fragments of the medieval wall paintings and architectonic values of the castle complete an impressive environment for the exhibitions for the Slovak National Gallery.
Heritage > National cultural monuments