Medieval castles in 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

Bizeljsko Castle

Bizeljsko Castle consists of a residential part that forms the centre of the complex and includes a Baroque chapel, and an outer part that served a defensive purpose. The castle was mentioned for the first time in written sources in 1404. In 1532 the Tattenbachs came to the castle and were in possession of it until 1671. Later the name Windischgraetz was among its famous owners. The oldest parts of the now visible struct ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Bizeljska Vas, 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

Kamen Castle Ruins

At the entrance to the Draga Valley, by the fringes of the village of Begunje, the picturesque ruins of Kamen Castle look down from the top of a rocky ledge. This centuries-old trade-route guardian, built on a raised location, awaits you with its Romanesque tower and the imposing ruins of its Gothic and Renaissance extensions. The castle was built in the twelfth century by the counts of Ortenburg; however, they chose not ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Begunje, 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

Rajhenburg Castle

The Rajhenburg Castle dates back in the 9th century but the current construction derives from the 16th century. The original structure was demolished at the beginning of the 10th century, but Bishop Konrad of Salzburg had it renovated between 1131 and 1147. The most prominent owners of the castle were the Rajhenburgs, the noble Moscons, the Knights Gradeneck, the Barons Gall Galenstein and the Counts Attems. Around 1600 ...
Founded: 1131- | Location: Brestanica, 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

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

Gamberk Castle Ruins

Gamberk castle is closely related to Galls family, one of important ministerial families of late Middle Ages. The castle may have been built by Ortolf III of Svibno already in the mid-11th century. Modern historians however believe that it"s was not built before the second half of 12th century when Gall family was came from Bavaria to Carniola as ministerials. First indirect mention of the castle is from 1248 when it ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ržiše, Slovenia

Branik Castle

Branik Castle, also known as Rihemberk Castle, is a 13th-century castle above the village of Branik. Fortified settlements have been present on the hill since prehistoric times; the site was once occupied by a Roman castrum. The date of the founding of the castle is unclear, but the noble house of Rihemberk is first recorded in 1230, originating from Riffenstein in Tyrol (now the castle of Reifenstein in Freienfeld, north ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Branik, Slovenia

Baumkircher Tower

The Baumkircher Tower, also known as Tabor Castle, is a defensive tower or small castle located in the town of Vipava. The tower was built by Herhlin Kranspergar in 1342, as a fortification guarding the adjacent stone bridge across the Vipava River. In 1386, the knight Haertl sold it to Hermann I of Celje After passing from their hands to the Patriarchate of Aquileia to the Habsburgs, it was given in fief to the knights B ...
Founded: 1342 | Location: Vipava, Slovenia

Konjice Castle Ruins

The ruins of Konjice Castle lie on the slopes of Mount Konjice. It was an extensive castle built in the 12th century and abandoned in the 18th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Slovenske Konjice, Slovenia

Mokrice Castle

Mokrice Castle is located on a hill in the northern part of the settlement of Rajec near the Croatian border. First mentioned in 1444, it was rebuilt in the 16th century and in 1941. The beginnings of the design of the castle garden belong to the period of late Baroque in the 18th century: a symmetrically regular axial scheme was arranged south of the castle. The Baroque stone statues of the Four Seasons, Baroquicised Ca ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Rajec, 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

Pisece Castle

Pišece Castle appeared for the first time in written sources in 1329, and was built to serve the Archbishopric of Salzburg who had estates in the area. The archbishops kept the feudal rights over the castle until 1803, although the castle had been bought in 1595 by the Moscon family. A lawsuit determining the proper ownership of the castle was not concluded until 1637, however; it ruled in the favour of the Moscon ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Pišece, Slovenia

Vurberk Castle

The castle of Vurberk is situated on the southern edge of the Slovenske Gorice hills and was first mentioned in 1238. It was badly damaged during a bombing in 1945. A smaller part of the ramparts was renovated, while the biggest part is still in ruins. Today, the castle is mainly used as a performance site, as there is an 'amphitheatre' in its yard. In the wall of the Church of the Virgin Mary are tombstones of ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Vurberk, Slovenia

Podcetrtek Castle

Podčetrtek belongs among the oldest castles in Slovenia. It was once located at an old national border, at Sotla river facing Croatia or Hungary. Podčetrtek is located in the area which already in 1071 became a property of Krško diocese. The construction of the castle can be dated to a time after the first third of the 12th century. First written record dates from 1361. On 12th of November 1441 bishop of ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Podčetrtek, Slovenia

Leskovec Castle

Leskovec Castle or Turn Castle is a 15th-century castle north of the village of Leskovec pri Krškem. It has been redesigned in the 16th and the 18th centuries. Two manors on the site are first mentioned in 1436, held by Baron Johann Dürrer concurrently with the Counts of Celje, and later sold to the latter. The formidable castle was taken and looted by peasant rebels in 1515. The Counts of Celje were followed ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Leskovec pri Krškem, Slovenia

Gornja Radgona Castle

Gornja Radgona Castle was built sometime between 1147 and 1182, and served as an important fortress on the border of Styria with Hungary. The town of Gornja Radgona grew up at the base of the hill upon which the castle is built. The castle is mentioned in 1265 as having 40 subservient villages with 355 farms. In the late 15th century it was the property of one Hans von Stutenberg, who joined Andreas Baumkircher in a rebe ...
Founded: 1147-1182 | Location: Gornja Radgona, Slovenia

Krumperk Castle

Krumperk Castle was probably built in the late 13th century by the noble family Rabensberg from Koprivnik. The predecessor of the current castle is first mentioned in 1338 as a possession of Herkules of Krumperk, of the noble house of Kreutberg. By the 15th century, it belonged to the house of Rusbach, which sold it to Engelhand Zellenperger in 1410 under the name Turn Chraw-perg. Valvasor notes that it had once been call ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Gorjuša, Slovenia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Het Steen

Het Steen is a medieval fortress in the old city centre of Antwerp. Built after the Viking incursions in the early Middle Ages as the first stone fortress of Antwerp, Het Steen is Antwerp's oldest building and used to be its oldest urban centre.

Previously known as Antwerpen Burcht (fortress), Het Steen gained its current name in around 1520, after significant rebuilding under Charles V. The fortress made it possible to control the access to the Scheldt, the river on whose bank it stands. It was used as a prison between 1303 and 1827. The largest part of the fortress, including dozens of historic houses and the oldest church of the city, was demolished in the 19th century when the quays were straightened to stop the silting up of the Scheldt. The remaining building, heavily changed, contains a shipping museum, with some old canal barges displayed on the quay outside.

In 1890 Het Steen became the museum of archeology and in 1952 an annex was added to house the museum of Antwerp maritime history, which in 2011 moved to the nearby Museum Aan de Stroom. Here you’ll also find a war memorial to the Canadian soldiers in WWII.

There are some beautiful plaques on the back side of the Steen Castle at Antwerp. Canadian visitors will especially want to see the plaques thanking the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry for their part in the liberation of Antwerp, in 1944.

At the entrance to Het Steen is a bas-relief of Semini, above the archway, around 2nd century. Semini is the Scandinavian God of youth and fertility (with symbolic phallus). A historical plaque near Het Steen explains that women of the town appealed to Semini when they desired children; the god was reviled by later religious clergy. Inhabitants of Antwerp previously referred to themselves as 'children of Semini'.

At the entrance bridge to the castle is a statue of a giant and two humans. It depicts the giant Lange Wapper who used to terrorise the inhabitants of the city in medieval times.