The original castle, established by the brothers Pavel and Vok of the Moravian Hrutovic family between 1329 and 1332, consisted of a cylindrical tower (a bergfried) and a palace. At the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries Vok’s son Pavlík of Sovinec built a narrow zwinger around the core of the castle and the bailey was fortified. The castle was further expanded at the beginning of the 16th century under the Pňovskýs of Sovinec, when they built a courtyard with two palaces connected by a wall, which was modified in the Renaissance style by the lords of Boskovice in the third quarter of the 16th century. In the last quarter of the 16th and at the beginning of the 17th century Vavřinec Eder of Štiavnica and his son-in-law Jan Kobylka the elder from Kobylí had the burgraviate built together with what is now the 3rd castle gate; a polygonal cannon bastion (Remter) was added to the castle fortifications, with a new defensive wall to the southeast, a fort on the promontory above the valley, known as Kočičí hlava (Cat’s Head), and a forward-set octagonal battery tower (the lower part of what is now the church tower). The entrance to the castle was guarded by a massive Renaissance barbican with huge gable wall with the 1st castle gate.
From the first half of the 17th century Sovinec was the Teutonic Order’s main stronghold on the Bruntál and Sovinec estates. It built some massive fortifications from 1627 – 1643: the bastions called Jiřský, Střední, Jánský, Vilémův and Klippelův plášť; the so-called New Bastion was built above Kočičí hlava. The fortifications were enhanced by walled moats, outer palisades and the Liechtenstein forward cannon bastion. However, not even these fortifications were able to stand up to the Swedish armies led by Lennart Torstensson, which conquered the castle after a fierce fight on 16 September 1643 – 7 October 1643 and held it until 1650. The military importance of the castle gradually waned and in the middle of the 18th century it was disarmed. The upkeep of the castle after this was minimal. After a fire in 1784 the castle tower and the southern palace were reduced by one storey. The gradual dilapidation of the castle, parts of which were even sold off as building material at the beginning of the 19th century, was not halted until the 1840s, when the Church of St. Augustine was built in front of the castle, the bell tower of which was the castle’s octagonal cannon tower; a building was constructed in the 6th castle courtyard, which was originally used by the Order as a seminary and then as a forestry school in the last third of the 19th century. The last structural alterations, completed in 1904, saw the castle converted to the summer seat of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order. During the Second World War French officers were imprisoned at the castle. The castle burnt down as the front passed by in the first days of May 1945. All that remained under the roof were the former stables and the buildings in the bailey. Work to secure the site commenced in 1951, and reconstruction work is still under way with varying intensity to this day.
Sovinec Castle was nationalized in 1945 and in 1965 came under the management of Bruntál Museum. Installed in the refurbished parts of the castle (the Southern Palace, burgraviate, stables, the Remter, the gate buildings) are exhibitions on the history of the building; the main castle tower offers a view of the beautiful landscape of Sovinec nature park.
Occasional exhibitions are held at Sovinec, as well as cultural events, particularly performances by fencing groups, theatre groups and musicians, with traditional crafts on display.