Rajhenburg Castle

Brestanica, Slovenia

The Rajhenburg Castle dates back in the 9th century but the current construction derives from the 16th century. The original structure was demolished at the beginning of the 10th century, but Bishop Konrad of Salzburg had it renovated between 1131 and 1147. The most prominent owners of the castle were the Rajhenburgs, the noble Moscons, the Knights Gradeneck, the Barons Gall Galenstein and the Counts Attems.

Around 1600 the castle was transformed into a Renaissance residence. Among the recent discoveries, the frescoes from the twenties of the 16th century are worthy of special attention, as they are undoubtedly the oldest surviving castle paintings in Slovenia, with allegorical depictions of Christian virtues. On the first floor is an almost hidden secular Renaissance fresco by the Master from Marija Gradec (1530).

After 1884 Trappist monks moved into the castle, where they produced chocolate and liqueur. Then in April 1941 the Germans transformed the castle into the central camp for deporting Slovenes; during the course of World War II around 45,000 Slovenes were sent into exile from here. After World War II the castle continued to function as a women's prison.

In 1968 Rajhenburg Castle became the home of the Museum of Political Prisoners, Internees and Deportees, a branch of the National Museum of Contemporary History. This permanent exhibition closed down in 2011 and a new exhibition on the Trappist order opened in a completely renovated castle in 2013.

The Romanesque perimeter, built in the 12th century, is noteworthy for the structure and construction of the walls. The castle chapel retains its original Romanesque portal, although the two-storey building itself was sturdily reconstructed in the 16th century.

Within the castle are several profiled timber work ceilings and terraced walls. A unique feature is the architectural decoration of the inner façades.



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Brestanica, Slovenia
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Founded: 1131-
Category: Castles and fortifications in Slovenia


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Mitja Leskovar (5 months ago)
Well preserved castle housing several exhibitions of which the most interesting is on Trapist order of monks who inhabited the castle for centuries until the end of WW2. Worth visiting, shop offers chocolate products - tradition of Trapists as the first producers of chocolate on Slovenian ground
Peter Drakslar (6 months ago)
Amazing castle. Disappointing side is a closed Cafe.
Jose Zabkar (10 months ago)
The castle of Reichenburg stands on a steep rocky pier over the Sava River. It is the oldest certified castle in Slovenia. It is mentioned in the sources as early as September 29, 895. At that time, the king of Arnulf in the East granted the Bavarian lord Valtun the estates in Reichenburg and Krško. The fort, which stood right at the site of the present castle, was demolished in the fighting with the Hungarians in the early 10th century. In the second half of the 10th century, the German state launched an offensive against the Hungarians and the territories they had previously lost were given back. Thus the German Emperor Henry II. donated the former Valtun estate to the Savinja landscape by William, who was tasked with protecting the eastern border. When William died, his wife Hema Pilštanjska went to the monastery and in 1043 donated his estates to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. Nevertheless, the Rheinburg estate remained in the hands of Hema's family until 1141. In 1131 the Archbishop of Salzburg Konrad made peace with the Hungarians, and after that year he rebuilt the castle. He sent a ministerial family to Rajhenburg in 1141, accepting the name of Rajhenburg. This family was on the castle until 1570 when it became extinct. First they were tenants of the castle, and later they became the owners for military merit. The most famous of the Reichenburgs was Rheinprecht II, who was knighted in 1452 and in 1478 became supreme ruler of Styria, Carinthia and Carniola. Lower Turn Castle, for which there is no information, is said to have been built by the Reichenburgs, who are also mentioned by an interesting legend, the legend of two enemy brothers. The Rajhenburgs owned several castles in the Posavje region. Archbishop of Salzburg Eberhard II. established a mint of money at Rhenburg Castle in 1222, which ceased operations after three years. After the extinction of the Reichenburgs, many owners came to the castle. From 1570-1579, the Welzer owners owned it, and from 1579-1591 Baron Volkart Egg owned it. Probably before 1600 the castle was passed into the hands of Galla pl. Gallenstein. There is no information on this, but their coat of arms on the front door portal shows that they gave the castle its present appearance. During the period 1639-1696, Veit Jakob pl. Moscon and Leopold pl. Curti. By 1721 he was the owner of Hannibal Heister and from 1721-1802 the counts of Attemsi. The Attems are said to be the owners who gave the interior yard a paint job. The castle was sold to Alojz Mandelstein, who in 1820 sold it to Countess Petazzi. It was owned by Sidonia Brzowska from 1855 to 1857, and from 1857 to 1875 by Eberhart Waldburg. He sold this castle to Baron Christian Esebeck, who then sold it to Trappist monks in 1881. During World War II, the castle was occupied by the Germans and had the headquarters of a relocation office for the expulsion of Slovenes, as well as other offices. After 1947, when the Order of Trappists was dissolved and the castle was nationalized, it was closed until 1965. Today, the castle houses museum exhibitions about the history of the castle, Trappist monks, Slovenian exiles and political prisoners and interns. The castle is also an important cultural and historical monument. It discovered the oldest Romanesque chapel in Slovenia from the beginning of the 12th century and the oldest preserved castle painting on Slovenian territory from the beginning of the 16th century.
Jernej Kranjec (10 months ago)
Great local history museum and a caffe with a view.
Hans-Peter Lackner (2 years ago)
Beautiful renovated castle with interesting exhibitions. Very good castle cafe.... Very nice staff! Highly recommended!
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