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 to live there, and so the castle was managed by castellans. In 1418, the castle came into the possession of the counts of Cilli, and subsequently fell into the hands of the Lambergs in 1436. The most distinguished member of the Lamberg family to come from Kamen Castle was Gašper Lambergar, a tournament knight who is sung about in the folk poem Pegam and Lambergar.
The counts of Lamberg abandoned the castle in the middle of the eighteenth century and moved to the more comfortable Katzenstein Mansion in Begunje.
The castle's location at the entrance to the Draga Valley, its preserved Romanesque tower — which can be climbed all the way to the top — the remnants of its Gothic and Renaissance keeps, and the trail that leads you through the castle area all guarantee a memorable visit. A visit to the castle is free of charge and at your own risk.References:
The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily, including Ragusa, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some 5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city. Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former district of Patro, calling this new municipality 'Ragusa Superiore' (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city 'Ragusa Inferiore' (Lower Ragusa). The two cities remained separated until 1926, when they were fused together to become a provincial capital in 1927.