Orava Castle stands on the site of an old wooden fortification, built after the Mongol invasion of Hungary of 1241. Its history since then reveals a familiar pattern of construction, destruction, reconstruction, fire, various ownerships and territorial squabbles. The original design was in Romanesque and Gothic style; it was later reconstructed as a Renaissance and Neo-Gothic structure, hugging the shape of the 520-metre spur on which it perches.
The mining magnate Thurzo family, who took charge in the mid 16th century, were responsible for a great deal of rebuilding work, although its present form was not finalised until 1611. It burnt down again in 1800, after which the Pálffys occupied the castle. And then, after a period of dilapidation and World War II, the castle became a national monument.