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:
Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.
The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.
In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.