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 size. Its ground plan shows that its first foundations were irregularly planned already in the Middle Ages. The castle was first mentioned in 1265 when it consisted of two towers connected by a high wall. In 1338, a chapel of St Oswald was erected next to a smaller building. The Counts of Herberstein owned the castle from 1481 until the World War II, with the exception of a hundred years, between 1802 and 1902. The castle is composed of an older Renaissance central building to the south, and of a later Baroque part to the north. The older southern part, built around 1600, is fortified by three round towers, one on each corner, while the northern part is a result of various reconstruction and construction works in the Baroque period between 1655 and 1666 following the plans of the architect Domenico Della Tore.
The entrance portals of the representative northern part of the castle together with the Chapel of the Holy Cross bear the inscription 1668. A lavishly formed ceremony staircase and a luxurious Baroque Hall are both situated in this part of the castle. The Main Hall boasts wall paintings with mythological and classical scenes, and high quality Baroque stucco work from the first half of the 18th century, which are also to be found on ceilings in the corridor, the chapel and the staircase.
The castle is not open for public.References:
The Château d'Olhain is probably the most famous castle of the Artois region. It is located in the middle of a lake which reflects its picturesque towers and curtain walls. It was also a major stronghold for the Artois in medieval times and testimony to the power of the Olhain family, first mentioned from the 12th century.
The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.
The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.
During the World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned first by French troops, then Canadian and British soldiers. The current owner has restored the castle to its former glory.