Orava Castle was built on a rocky hill above the river Orava in northern Slovakia to replace an older wooden hillfort after the Tartar invasion in 1241. Over the centuries, this small fortress turned into an extensive castle complex with 154 rooms. At the time of its construction, the castle served as a county castle for the administration of almost the whole Orava region. The castle’s architecture has elements of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and also contemporary architecture. Therefore, the construction of the castle is actually an ongoing process.
Since 1556, the castle’s administration belonged to the Thurzo family who initiated the most extensive rebuilding actions in its history. They had various buildings built in accordance with the hill’s topography. Eventually, Orava Castle took its final form in 1611.
After the line of the Thurzo family ceased, its subsequent owners did not invest in further conservation. The situation got even worse when a great fire destroyed the castle in 1800 as it became totally useless to its owners. Fortunately, the castle underwent a general restoration after the end of the Second World War so that it could escape inevitable destruction. Today, the complex consists of three interconnected castles namely the Lower, Middle, and Upper Castles, a fortification wall, and towers. There is also an interesting tunnel with underground passages.