Bytca Castle was originally built as a water castle by Pongrac Szentmiklosi in the 13th century and rebuilt between 1571 and 1574 in Renaissance style by Ferenc Thurzo. The Italian architect Jan Kilian of Milan was invited to oversee the construction. George Thurzo continued his father’s activities and due to him the Wedding Palace was built in 1601, which was meant to serve for the weddings of his six daughters. From more decorative details it can be concluded that the palace is the work of Italian masters who lived in Bytca. The building is embellished by rich sgraffito figural and floral ornaments around the stone windows and portal. Inside the one-story, rectangular building is a particularly interesting foyer on the ground floor and a large Wedding hall on the first floor, which was for a longtime the largest of its kind in Slovakia.
There were two pharmacies, a school, a typing office, a library and an assembly room in the castle. In the eastern part of the castle there was the so-called big hall, intended for assemblies during the reign of George Thurzo. In the northern part there was a castle treasury, which was later turned into a chapel by the Esterhazy family. After the Thurzo family had died out at the beginning of the 17th century, the castle was acquired by the Esterhazy family, who converted it into a farm building. In 1862, the property was bought by the Popper family of merchants, who transformed the castle into flats and the Wedding Palace into a district court. Jan Ujvary, also called Ficko, Elizabeth Bathory’s helper was also imprisoned in Bytca castle. At the beginning of the 18th century, the legendary Slovak outlaw Juraj Janosik served as a prison officer in the castle. He helped the imprisoned Tomas Uhorcik escape and they created a forest robber group. This is why this national heroes’s legend might have started in Bytca. Today the castle houses the State District Archive, the Wedding Palace belongs to Povanske Museum in Tilina. Today the Wedding Palace is after the reconstruction and is open.