Medieval castles in Slovenia

Prem Castle

Prem Castle was built before 1213. After the Udo Knights there were many owners, among them the Walseeis, Hallers, Habsburgs, and Porcia Dukes. This compact two-storey building with a ground plan in the shape of the letter L has a Romanesque nucleus with an extension and a smaller yard protected with a wall. The inner yard was decorated with Renaissance arcades. In the middle of the yard stands a small well. The entire st ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Prem, Slovenia

Ljubljana Castle

Ljubljana Castle stands above the downtown of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Originally a Medieval fortress, probably built in the 11th century and rebuilt in the 12th century, it acquired its present outline with an almost complete overhaul in the 15th century, whereas the majority of the buildings date to the 16th and 17th centuries. At first a defense structure and since the first half of the 14th century the seat ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia

Bled Castle

Bled Castle is built on a precipice above the city of Bled in Slovenia, overlooking Lake Bled. According to written sources, it is the oldest Slovenian castle and is currently one of the most visited tourist attractions in Slovenia. The history of the castle reaches back to 1004 when the German Emperor Henry II gave his estate at Bled to Bishop Albuin of Brixen. At that time, only a Romanesque tower protected by walls st ...
Founded: c. 1011 | Location: Bled, Slovenia

Maribor Castle

Maribor castle, which boasts several constructional and style periods, was built by Emperor Friderik III between the years 1478 and 1483 for the purpose of fortifying the north eastern part of the town wall. The castle was in the course of time changed into a rich feudal residence. The main room in the castle is the Festive Hall. The hall has rich interior furnishings with pictures of the artistic Quadri family and Laure ...
Founded: 1478-1483 | Location: Maribor, Slovenia

Predjama Castle

Predjama Castle is a Renaissance castle built within a cave mouth in the historical region of Inner Carniola. The castle was first mentioned in the year 1274 with the German name Luegg, when the Patriarch of Aquileia built the castle in Gothic style. The castle was built under a natural rocky arch high in the stone wall to make access to it difficult. It was later acquired and expanded by the Luegg noble family, also know ...
Founded: 1274 | Location: Predjama, Slovenia

Celje Castle

Celje Castle was once the largest fortification on Slovenian territory. The first fortified building on the site (a Romanesque palace) was built in the first half of the 13th century by the Counts of Heunburg from Carinthia on the stony outcrop on the western side of the ridge where the castle stands. It had five sides, or four plus the southern side, which was a natural defence. The first written records of the castle da ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Celje, Slovenia

Ptuj Castle

The mighty Ptuj Castle was built in the mid-12th century, when it was constructed to defend against the Hungarians. The oldest written record about the castle is by the chronicler of the Salzburg archbishop Konrad I, who occupied this position from 1106 to 1147. The old chronicler wrote that Konrad I had the castle rebuilt on the site of the old demolished one. That means that even before the 12th century, there was a con ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Ptuj, Slovenia

Velenje Castle

By form and function, PeleÅŸ is a palace, but it is consistently called a castle. Its architectural style is a romantically inspired blend Neo-Renaissance and Gothic Revival similar to Schloss Neuschwanstein inBavaria. A Saxon influence can be observed in the interior courtyard facades, which have allegorical hand-painted murals and ornate fachwerk similar to that seen in northern European alpine architecture. Interior ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Velenje, Slovenia

Loka Castle

In the 12th century on the hills above Škofja Loka stood three fortifications: the Upper Tower on Krancelj, the Lower Fort and the Loka Castle, a residence of Freising Bishops, built at the brink of a natural terrace. The castle is first mentioned in 1202 as castrum firmissimum, although today"s building dates from the 16th century. The castle was rebuilt in 1691 after an earthquake and in 1716. The castle wa ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Skofja Loka, Slovenia

Otocec Castle

Otočec Castle is a castle hotel on a small island in the middle of the Krka River. It is the only water castle in Slovenia and one of the most picturesque images in the country and is a prominent cultural and natural monument. The castle was first mentioned in documents in the 13th century, although the walls are said to date to the more precise date of 1252. It was once owned by Ivan Lenković, the chief commander of t ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Otočec, Slovenia

Mirna Castle

Mirna Castle was built in the 12th-century castle and destroyed by the Partisans in December 1942. The restoration stated in 1962. The castle and its surroundings that extend along the plain to the town of Mirna offer an amazing backdrop to one of the most beautiful views in the Mirna Valley and emphasize a heritage of the esthetic principles of medieval architecture. The castle changed owners frequently, but all the Mirn ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Mirna, Slovenia

Murska Sobota Castle

Murska Sobota Castle was first indirectly mentioned in 1255. Its existence was confirmed in 1478, when a castellum in Belmwra was mentioned, and in 1498, when it was named as castellum Mwrayzombath. The Bel Mura castle was the administrative centre of the whole Belmur territory. It was situated at the crossing of traffic and merchant trails. During its long history the castle has been owned by many families, including th ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Murska Sobota, Slovenia

Kostel Castle

Kostel Castle site was originally occupied by a smaller fortification, which was expanded into a castle between 1247 and 1325 by the Counts of Ortenburg, vassals of the Patriarchate of Aquileia. First mentioned in 1336 as castrum Grafenwarth, its current name is first recorded in 1449 as Costel. After the extinction of the Counts Ortenburg on 28 April 1418, the Counts of Celje inherited their area holdings, expanding the ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Kostel, 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: Potoce, Slovenia

Negova Castle

Negova was most probably settled already in the Stone Age and in the Bronze Age. Negova was first mentioned in 12th century as Negoinezelo, most probably after a Slavic man Negoj, who is often mentioned in the records from Middle age. There was the oldest count in the whole region and there is still a pillory to bear witness to this. The history of Negova is closely linked whit the castle. For a short time in the 15th cen ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Negova, Slovenia

Lendava Castle

Lendava castle is first mentioned in the records in 1192 as a property of the Hungarian noble family Bánffy and was theirs until the middle of the 17th century, when it fell to the Nádasdy family for a short period, and in the 18th century came under the management of the Eszterházy family. Today it is a massive two-storey building with a mansard roof overlooking the town of Lendava-Lendva. The walls ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Lendava, Slovenia

Metlika Castle

Metlika Castle is located above the old part of the town of Metlika, very near the Croatian border. The castle was first mentioned in written sources in 1456. During the Ottoman incursions in the 15th and 16th century, it was owned by the Counts of Alap, and it played a key role in defense against the Turks. Later, the castle was owned by the house of Frankopan, and later yet by the chapterhouse of the bishopric of Zagreb ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Metlika, Slovenia

Ribnica Castle

Largely burned during World War II and later mostly demolished, Ribnica Castle beside the Bistrica River belonged in the group of early castles built mainly in the second half of the 12th century. It included a two- or three-story residence and an interior courtyard with a cistern protected by a wall. In the Middle Ages, the basic interior circumference was strengthened, and at the end of the 15th century and in the 16th ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ribnica, Slovenia

Sevnica Castle

Sevnica Castle it dominates the old town of Sevnica and offers views of the surrounding countryside. The Archdiocese of Salzburg held local estates since 1043 and Sevnica Castle was mentioned for the first time in 1309. The origin of the building was not documented but it was most probably built during the bishopric of Konrad the First von Abensberg (1106–1147), who rebuilt and colonized this area devastated by Hun ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Sevnica, Slovenia

Borl Castle

Borl Castle was first mentioned in written records in 1255 when the Magyar king Bela IV issued a bill to Friedrich, the Lord of Ptuj, regarding several castles, among which was Anchenstein or Borl. The Anchensteins were the first known owners of the castle who lived there and had its coat of arms. They died out in 1323. The property passed on to the Lords of Ptuj who themselves died out in 1438. The castle lies at an im ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Cirkulane, Slovenia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.