Medieval castles in 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

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

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

Little Castle

Little Castle (Mali grad) in Kamnik was constructed in the 11th or early 12th century at the strategic site above the narrow passage near an important trail. The Romanesque chapel of St. Eligius is one of the most important Slovene medieval monuments, despite later alterations, and is one of the oldest of its kind in Europe. The chapel features a wooden ceiling and exquisite fresco paintings. Archaeological evidence indi ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Kamnik, Slovenia

Tolmin Castle Ruins

Tolmin Castle was first mentioned in 1188, and its chapel of Saint Martin in 1194. The east and north towers appear to have formed the original core of the fortress; another two hexagonal towers were added later. The north tower had an extensive basement for the storage of provisions, which along with two wells and rainwater cisterns allowed for the withstanding of sieges. The castle was held in fief by a long series of ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tolmin, 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

Zuzemberk Castle

One of the most picturesque castles in Slovenia, Žužemberk Castle originated in the 13th century but acquired its present shape during the 16th century when its defences were reinforced with seven huge round towers. From 1538 until World War II, it was owned by the Auersperg family of Turjak. The castle was badly damaged during World War II and restoration work has been ongoing ever since. Every Summer the castl ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Zuzemberk, 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

Brezice Castle

Brežice Castle is an excellent example of a renaissance flatland fortification, and retains its trapezoidal 16th-century layout. Records suggest construction took place in three phases: between 1530 and 1550, the basic fortress took shape, with four corner towers connected by walls; between 1567 and 1579, when the east and west tracts were added; and finally, between 1586 and 1590 or 1601, the northern tract and arcaded ...
Founded: 1530-1601 | Location: Brežice, 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

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

Socerb Castle

Due to its excellent strategic location, Socerb Castle was already an important stronghold in Illyrian times, while in the Middle Ages, it became a mighty and well-fortified castle controlling the Trieste hinterlands and the commercial routes between Carniola and the coast. The castle has an exceptionally rich and turbulent history that can be traced from the Early Middle Ages to 1780 when it was struck by lightning, rend ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Socerb, 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

Podsreda Castle

Podsreda Castle dates to around 1150 and is probably the best-preserved example of secular Romanesque architecture in Slovenia. It features a typical 12th-century defensive tower (keep), a Romanesque chapel, and two wings from about the same period. The orderly, rectangular plan is also typical of the late Romanesque period. Over the years the castle has seen many owners. Though neglected after the Second World War, the ...
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Podsreda, Slovenia

The Court of Princes

The 'lower castle' served as a residence for the Counts and later The Princes of Celje during the 14th and 15th century. It was separated from the town settlement by battlements and a defence ditch. After the extinction of The princes of Celje in the 15th century, the court was used as an office of the Habsburg caretakers and was transformed into a barracks in the 18th century. The building we know today has und ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Celje, Slovenia

Hmeljnik Castle

The Hmeljnik Castle is situated on a stone slope above the village of Karteljevo close to Novo mesto, dominating the views from the valley and from the road Ljubljana - Bregana. The castle was first mentioned in 1217. Its original masters are not known - they were probably the Lords of Višnja gora, possibly also the Lords of Hopfenbach or Hmeljnik whose family line was terminated in the 14th century. The castle has ...
Founded: 1217 | Location: Novo mesto, Slovenia

Hrastovec Castle

The castle in Hrastovec is one of the most impressive castles in Slovenia, not only because of its imposing position, but also because of its excellent formation. It is a huge complex with an inner yard and composed of older parts with three Renaissance two-storeyed wings and three towers to the south, and, to the north, of several wings of later construction with unevenly levelled roofs. The building gradually gained in ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Hrastovec, 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

Grad Castle

Grad means "castle" in Slovene and refers to the castle dating from the late 12th century strategically situated on a hill overlooking the settlement. It is one of the largest castle complexes in Slovenia, with 365 rooms. After World War II, the castle was divided into small residential apartments. With Slovenia joining the European Union, funds have been made available for the restoration of the castle. Certain ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Grad, Slovenia

Vipava Castle Ruins

Vipava Castle was built by the Patriarchate of Aquileia and first recorded in 1275 as Castrum Wipaci superioris. It was the residence of the knights of Vipava until the mid-14th century, when it became a ducal fief, granted to a long series of noble and knightly families, including the knights of Rihemberk, lords of Snežnik and Belopeš, Counts of Celje, barons Herberstein, Counts Thurn, the noble family of Edling, ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Vipava, Slovenia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Château de Chaumont

The Château de Chaumont was founded in the 10th century by Odo I, Count of Blois. The purpose was to protect his lands from attacks from his feudal rivals, Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou. On his behalf the Norman Gelduin received it, improved it and held it as his own. His great-niece Denise de Fougère, having married Sulpice d'Amboise, passed the château into the Amboise family for five centuries.

Pierre d'Amboise unsuccessfully rebelled against King Louis XI and his property was confiscated, and the castle was dismantled on royal order in 1465. It was later rebuilt by Charles I d'Amboise from 1465–1475 and then finished by his son, Charles II d'Amboise de Chaumont from 1498–1510, with help from his uncle, Cardinal Georges d'Amboise; some Renaissance features were to be seen in buildings that retained their overall medieval appearance. The château was acquired by Catherine de Medici in 1550. There she entertained numerous astrologers, among them Nostradamus. When her husband, Henry II, died in 1559 she forced his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, to exchange Château de Chaumont for Château de Chenonceau which Henry had given to de Poitiers. Diane de Poitiers only lived at Chaumont for a short while.

Later Chaumont has changed hands several times. Paul de Beauvilliers bought the château in 1699, modernized some of its interiors and decorated it with sufficient grandeur to house the duc d'Anjou on his way to become king of Spain in 1700. Monsieur Bertin demolished the north wing to open the house towards the river view in the modern fashion.

In 1750, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray purchased the castle as a country home where he established a glassmaking and pottery factory. He was considered the French "Father of the American Revolution" because he loved America. However, in 1789, the new French Revolutionary Government seized Le Ray's assets, including his beloved Château de Chaumont.

The castle has been classified as a Monument historique since 1840 by the French Ministry of Culture. The Château de Chaumont is currently a museum and every year hosts a Garden Festival from April to October where contemporary garden designers display their work in an English-style garden.