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 Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.
Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.
In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.
The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.
In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.
After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.
In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.
Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.
In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.
In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.