The origins of Halič Castle date back to the 12th century. The first written record of the castle dates from 1386, when Queen Mary of Hungary permitted local aristocrat Stephen Lossonczy to build a stone castle at this site. The family owned the castle until the 16th century when the residence fell into the hands of the Forgách Family, one of the oldest noble dynasties in Hungary. The castle belonged to the Forgách from 1554 to 1948 and the family still visits it regularly today.

It has over history experienced a wave of reversals caused by uprisings, wars and all sorts of rebellions that eventually left it in ruins. The ruins of the castle started to rise from the ashes in 1762, when it was redesigned by an architect named Meyerhoffer. A columned entrance hall was placed in the front wing featuring a double-wing staircase, chapel and ceremonial hall with a rich selection of the most extensive frescoes found in today’s Slovakia. In 1897 a new stage began in the life of Halič Castle. It was in that year that Franz Wenckheim had the entire building reconstructed in honor of his wife from the legendary Forgách Family. The castle also has a French park whose rose garden started to be planted in 1820.

Two world wars, the onset of Communism in Czechoslovakia in 1948 and the activities of the collective farm established on the castle grounds during socialism did not benefit the castle in any way. Starting in the 1960s, the Institute of Social Care confined mentally handicapped youth of Lučenec at the castle. It had undergone reconstruction for this purpose between 1952 and 1964, significantly changing the original structure of the object.

Since 1993 the castle was abandoned and left without an owner, it started to deteriorate. Nature and vandals began to take a toll on the castle. Finally in 2005, the castle was privatized and with a new appearance it is today writing an attractive and interesting chapter in its modern history.

The grounds were acquired by IMET, a. s., headquarter in Košice, from the Banská Bystrica Higher Territorial Unit, which had taken over the land. Over time, IMET also purchased the adjacent land with an English garden and pond, listed together with the castle as a National Cultural Heritage Site.

The company then funded their restoration and is still continuing to invest considerable resources. Because the work of renovating the castle has been done sensitively and with care, both it and the entire grounds have returned to life with its original spirit – the genius loci. The entire complex has become a magnet for both local and international guests. The Galicia Nueva castle hotel, the restored jewel of Novohrad, is once again the pride of this charming region of Slovakia.

Source: From the archives of Forgach family.