Medieval castles in 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

Komenda Castle

Komenda castle was mentioned already in 1149. It was owned by the Sovereign Order of Malta from 1323 to 1780. The castle represents historical construction features and style elements and is an important cultural and historic monument. A special relic of the castle is its antique lion made of Pohorje marble, which stands on the staircase railing just by the entrance gate. Above the stairs, a bronze plaque with the portra ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Polzela, 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

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

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

Zaprice Castle

Zaprice Castle, first indirectly mentioned in 1306, was originally built in the 14th century by the Dienger von Apecz family. It was rebuilt in the early 16th century by Jurij Lamberg, who gave it corner oriel windows and surrounded it with a wall with two towers, and gave it a German name: Steinbüchel. The castle is subsequently remembered as a meeting place for Kamnik"s Lutherans. During the 17th and 18th cent ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Kamnik, 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

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

Kieselstein Castle

Kieselstein Castle is a 13th-century castle in the city of Kranj. The castle stands at what was once a defensible point, guarding the city pier and crossing over the river Sava, and was predated on the site by a round 11th-century keep. The current structure was built in 1256 by the counts of Ortenburg, by an arrangement with the lord of Kranj, duke Ulrik III Spanheim. Until 1420, the tower was managed by their ministeria ...
Founded: 1256 | Location: Kranj, 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

Smlednik Castle Ruins

Smlednik Castle was presumably built in the 12th century on the foundations of a prehistoric fort and a Roman stronghold of a later origin. The strategic location of the hill overlooking a crossing of the Sava River was appreciated by the first lords of the region, the Counts of Weimar Orlamunde, who built a defence tower on the hilltop in the 11th century. The tower was then expanded in several phases, but remained unalt ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Smlednik, Slovenia

Gracar Turn Castle

The Gracar Turn ('Grätzer"s Tower') is not recorded in medieval sources, though the historian Valvasor mentions a manor stood on the site in the 14th century, built by the Grätzer family from nearby Gradac, whence its name derives. After passing through numerous hands, it was purchased by Anton Rudež in 1821. The author Janez Trdina was often Rudež"s guest at Gracar Turn; several of the for ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Hrastje, 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.