Castles and fortifications in Slovenia

Jablje Castle

The original castle at Jablje was first mentioned in 1268, while the current structure was built by the noble house of Lamberg around 1530. The castle subsequently passed through the hands of the Rasp family, the barons Mosconi, and was from 1780 until the end of World War II owned by the barons Lichtenberg. Though it survived the war largely intact, the castle was nationalized and thoroughly looted during the following y ...
Founded: 1530 | Location: Loka pri Mengšu, Slovenia

Kacenstajn Castle

Kacenštajn Castle was first mentioned in historical documents in 1428. The noble house of Katzen (locally known as Kacijanarji) rebuilt it in the 16th century, but it took its final shape a century later, when the Counts of Lamberg moved to it from Kamen Castle. The original two-story core of the castle survives inside newer additions, as do remnants of its Gothic architecture. The majority of the present structur ...
Founded: 1428 | Location: Begunje, Slovenia

Vrbovec Castle

Vrbovec castle, which stands at the confluence of the Dreta and Savinja at Nazarje, is regarded as the most important monument of secular medieval architecture in the Upper Savinja Valley. In German it was called Altenburg, while its Slovenian name Vrbovec is associated with the willows (vrba = willow) that once grew along the banks of the two rivers. The original castle, built in the 12th century, stood on a rocky outcro ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Nazarje, Slovenia

Trebnje Castle

Trebnje Castle dates from year the 13th century and was first mentioned in written sources in 1386. The original owners were the lords of Trebnje from Carinthia, while it was later run by the Ortenbuger, the Counts of Celje, the Hapsburgs and others, and was from 1812 to 1824 owned even by the local missionary Frederic Irenaeus Baraga. The castle retained many ancient sections – a square tower with Roman foundation ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Trebnje, Slovenia

Turjak Castle

Turjak Castle is a 13th-century fairly well known castle in Slovenia and one of the most impressive in the area. The first Turjak castle was built on the site as early as the late 11th century by the knights (later counts) von Auersperg. It may have been extant by 1062, the date the family (specifically Konrad von Auersperg) is first mentioned. In 1140, it was destroyed and burned during a succession struggle between the ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Turjak, Slovenia

Raka Castle

Raka Castle is one of the oldest medieval castles in Slovenia. It was documented in 1161 and explicitly mentioned as Castrum Arch in 1279. Built in the second half of the 12th century by the Counts of Bogen, it was inherited by the Counts of Andechs and then passed into the possession of the Dukes of Spanheim. The castle was sold by a relative of the Archer knights to Baron Georg von Scheyer. The Archer knights oversaw R ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Raka, Slovenia

Severin Castle

The castle in Severin na Kupi is mentioned for the first time in 1558. The Frankopans erected it above the steep bank of the river Kupa, whilst along with the tower the chronicles also mention a wooden castle from the same period. After the death of the last of the Frankopans and the failure of the Zrinski-Frankopan Conspiracy in 1671 this building was also looted and ruined. The castle gained its current appearance with ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Črnomelj, Slovenia

Cmurek Castle

Cmurek Castle is an originally 12th-century castle built on a hill above the Mura River in the northern part of the settlement. It was extended and rebuilt at various times in the 16th, 17th, and late 18th centuries. It is a three-story building with an internal arcaded courtyard. The castle was mentioned in documents already in 1148 when it was owned by the Cmurek nobles. Later on, the castle was purchased by the Counts ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Trate, Slovenia

Kalec Castle

Kalec Castle is a partially ruined castle near Zagorje in Slovenia. The castle, of which only a single tower and some sections of wall survive intact, stands on slope known as Breg, near the source of the Pivka River, at an elevation of 618 m. Illustrated in Valvasor"s 1689 Glory of the Duchy of Carniola, it was built in the mid-17th century by the noble house of Steinberg. Its later owners included the Auersperg fa ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Zagorje, Slovenia

Tustanj Castle

Tuštanj Castle was built in 1490 and fully renovated in the second half of the 17th century. It was originally owned by the Lichtenberg family. In 1800 it was purchased by Ignac Scarija. The last owner from the Scarija family was Maksimiljana Scarija, who married the castle"s groundsman, Luka Pirnat, in 1854. They had no children, so after Scarija"s death the castle and the estate were inherited by her hu ...
Founded: 1490 | Location: Moravce, Slovenia

Ig Castle

Ig Castle, also Sonnegg Castle or Zonek Castle, was first mentioned as hof Ig in 1369, when the noble house of Schnitzenbaum rebuilt an old estate building called Iški turn or Turnek as a defensive tower. In the late 15th century it was again rebuilt into a small manor and in 1510 sold to the house of Auersperg, which in 1581 sold it to the nobleman Johann Engelshauser. In 1717, Pope Clement XI authorized the openi ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Ig, Slovenia

Skrljevo Castle

Škrljevo Castle was first mentioned in written documents dating to 1044. The current building dates to the 15th and 17th centuries with some 19th-century rebuilding. Nationalized building is nowadays empty. Bare witness of its former glory is walled, though totally neglected garden and remnants of a park with old yew and lime trees and in its front.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Sentrupert, Slovenia

Turn Castle

Turn Castle was first mentioned in 1408 and was probably built in the mid-14th century. In the early 15th century, it came into the possession of the Counts of Celje. The original castle was severely damaged in 1439, during the fights between the Habsburgs and the Counts of Celje, and again by the Ottoman Turks in 1473. With the extinction of the Counts of Celje, the castle became a possession of the Habsburgs. Emperor Ma ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Potoce, Slovenia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Saint Sophia Cathedral

The St Sophia's Cathedral was built between 1045-1050 inside the Novgorod Kremlin (fortress). It is one of the earliest stone structures of northern Russia. Its height is 38 m. Originally it was taller, for during the past nine centuries the lower part of the building became concealed by the two-metre thick cultural layer. The cathedral was built by Prince Vladimir, the son of Yaroslav the Wise, and until the 1130s this principal church of the city also served as the sepulchre of Novgorodian princes. For the Novgorodians, St Sophia became synonymous with their town, the symbol of civic power and independence.

The five-domed church looks simpler but no less impressive than its prototype, the thirteen-domed St Sophia of Kiev. The cathedral exterior is striking in its majesty and epic splendour evoking the memories of Novgorod's glorious past and invincible might. In the 11th century it looked more imposing than now. Its facade represented a gigantic mosaic of huge, coarsely trimmed irregular slabs of flagstone and shell rock. In some places (particularly on the apses), the wall was covered with mortar, smoothly polished, drawn up to imitate courses of brick or of whitestone slabs, and slightly coloured. As a result, the facade was not white, as it is today, but multicoloured. The play of stone, decorative painting and the building materials of various texture enhanced the impression of austere simplicity and introduced a picturesque effect.

The two-storied galleries extend along the building's southern, western and northern sides, with a stair-tower constructed at the north-eastern corner. The cathedral has three entrances - the southern, western and northern, of which the western was the main one intended for ceremonial processions. A gate standing at the entrance is known as the Sigtuna Gate (mid-12th century); according to legend, it was brought from the Swedish town of Sigtuna in 1187. The second name of the gate derives from the town of Magdeburg, where it was made. The two leaves are decorated with biblical and evangelical scenes in cast bronze relief. In the lower left corner there are portraits of the craftsmen who created this superb specimen of medieval Western European bronze-work. An inscription in Latin gives their names, Riquin and Weissmut. The small central figure - judging from an inscription in Slavonic - is a representation of the Russian master craftsman Avraam, who assembled the gate.

There is yet another bronze gate in the cathedral, called the Korsun Gate. Made in the 11th century in Chersonesos, Byzantium, it leads from the southern gallery into the Nativity Side-Chapel. Legend has it that the gate was handed over to Novgorod as a gift of Prince Yaroslav the Wise (c. 978 - 1054).

The interior of the cathedral is as majestic as its exterior. It is divided by huge piers into five aisles, three of which end in altar apses. In the south-western corner, inside the tower, there is a wide spiral in relatively small, modest buildings of the 12th - 16th centuries.