Kieselstein Castle is a 13th-century castle in the city of Kranj. The castle stands at what was once a defensible point, guarding the city pier and crossing over the river Sava, and was predated on the site by a round 11th-century keep. The current structure was built in 1256 by the counts of Ortenburg, by an arrangement with the lord of Kranj, duke Ulrik III Spanheim. Until 1420, the tower was managed by their ministeriales or vassals, the knights von Chreinburch; in that year, it passed to count Herman of Celje. During the period of Turkish incursions, the tower was incorporated into the city walls. After the extinction of the Counts of Celje in 1456, it was inherited by the Habsburgs, who sold it in the mid 16th century to baron Janž Khiessl. Khiessl successfully petitioned emperor Ferdinand I for the right to rename the castle after himself, and also expanded the tower into an L-shaped castle, giving it its present appearance.
The Khiessls soon sold the castle to Franz the noble Moscon; later owners included the Ravbar, Apfaltrer, Auersperg and finally Natalis Pagliaruzzi noble families. In 1913 the castle was purchased by the state. Between the world wars, it housed government offices; after World War II it was (somewhat redundantly) nationalized. In 1952, the building was renovated according to plans drawn up by the architect Jože Plečnik.
Today the renovated building houses the Kranj Municipal Agency for the Protection of Natural and Cultural Heritage, as well as the Upper Carniola Museum.References:
Soave castle was built in 934 to protect the area against the Hungarian invasions. It was remodelled by Cansignorio of the Scaliger family in the mid-1300s. in 1365 Cansignorio had the town walls erected and the Town hall was built in the same year.
The castle underwent various vicissitudes until, having lost its strategic importance, it was sold on the private market in 1596. In 1830 it was inherited by Giulio Camuzzoni who restored the manor and in particular the surroundings walls (with is twenty-four towers), the battlements and living-quarters.
Soave castle is a typical medieval military edifice, commanding the neighbourhood of the city from the Tenda Hill. It comprises a mastio (donjon) and three lines of walls forming three courts of different size. The outer line, with a gate and a draw bridge, is the most recent, built by the Venetians in the 15th century. It houses the remains of a small church from the 10th century.
The second and larger court, the first of the original castle, is called della Madonna for a fresco portraying St. Mary (1321). Another fresco is visible after the door leading to the inner court, and portrays a Scaliger soldier. The mastio is the most impressive feature of the castle. Bones found within showed it was used also as prison and place of torture.
The House called del Capitano (the Scaliger commander) houses Roman coins, weapons parts, medals and other ancient remains found during the most recent restoration. Adjacent is a bedroom with a 13th-century fresco with St. Mary and Madeleine and a dining room with medieval kitchenware. Another room houses the portraits of the most famous Scaliger figures: Mastino I, Cangrande, Cansignorio and Taddea da Carrara, wife of Mastino II; the portrait of Dante Alighieri testify an alleged sojourn of the poet in the castle.