Kostel Castle site was originally occupied by a smaller fortification, which was expanded into a castle between 1247 and 1325 by the Counts of Ortenburg, vassals of the Patriarchate of Aquileia. First mentioned in 1336 as castrum Grafenwarth, its current name is first recorded in 1449 as Costel. After the extinction of the Counts Ortenburg on 28 April 1418, the Counts of Celje inherited their area holdings, expanding the castle into a formidable fortress and renaming it Schloss Grauenwarth, although the surrounding settlement retained the Slavicised Latin name Kostel.
The castle and settlement were both surrounded by a high, two meter thick wall featuring five defence towers, built by order of Frederik II of Celje. The castle's purpose was the defence of the house's landholdings in Carniola; it also housed a local judiciary, and had its own dedicated execution site about 1 km away.
After the death of prince Ulrich II of Celje in 1456 and the extinction of the house, the castle was taken over by the Habsburgs, who eventually granted the settlement market rights.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was an important strategic fortification against Ottoman invasions. With many of the countries of southeastern Europe occupied by or paying tribute to the Ottoman Empire, Slovenia became exposed to further Ottoman inroads into Europe. The castle, standing along one of the Ottomans' common incursion routes into Slovenia, came under attack several times. Only in 1578 did the castle fall, when the garrison accepted supposed refugees from the Ottomans, but who opened the door that night to the Ottoman forces, who killed and captured the inhabitants of the castle and its village and the surrounding region. The depopulated area was then settled by numerous Uskoks.References:
Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.
Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.
It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.
Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.
Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.
The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.
The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.
With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.
Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.