Brdo Castle near Kranj is the Slovenian Government's main venue for diplomatic meetings and other Government-sponsored events. The present mansion was built in 1510 by Carniolan nobleman Georg (Jurij) Egkh, general administrator of Habsburg private estates in the Duchy of Carniola. It was initially built in the Renaissance style, but has been frequently renovated since. In the 18th century, it was bought by Michelangelo Zois, father of the Carniolan Enlightenment patron of the arts and natural scientist Žiga Zois. In the 19th century, it changed hands several times, with its interior being completely renovated. In the first decades of the 20th century it fell into decay until it was bought by Prince Paul of Yugoslavia in 1935. Prince Paul transformed Brdo from an eclectic and biedermeier provincial mansion into a refined summer royal residence. Between 1935 and 1941, several prominent individuals stayed as guests at Brdo, including Edward VIII of the United Kingdom.
After Yugoslavia became a Communist state in 1945, the mansion was confiscated from the Karadjordjević dynasty and became a summer retreat of the Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito. Brdo and the Vila Bled at the nearby Lake Bled were two former royal residences he typically spent much time in spring and summer. During one such visit in spring 1980, Tito suffered a seizure at Brdo and was transferred to the University Medical Centre Ljubljana, where he later died.
After Tito's death in 1980, the estate was transferred to the Socialist Republic of Slovenia and it was later inherited by the Government of the independent Slovenian state. In its traditional role of hosting national and international conferences, in 1990, it was the venue of a conference between the leaders of the six Yugoslav republics in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the dissolution of the federation.
On June 16, 2001 it hosted a summit between George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin, which was the first official meeting between the two leaders. During Slovenia's EU Presidency in the first half of 2008, it was the venue of a series of top level international meetings.
The interior of the mansion is decorated with paintings, frescos and sculptures by prominent Slovene artists, such as France Mihelič, Maksim Sedej, Boris and Zdenko Kalin and Karel Putrih.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.