Raka Castle is one of the oldest medieval castles in Slovenia. It was documented in 1161 and explicitly mentioned as Castrum Arch in 1279. Built in the second half of the 12th century by the Counts of Bogen, it was inherited by the Counts of Andechs and then passed into the possession of the Dukes of Spanheim. The castle was sold by a relative of the Archer knights to Baron Georg von Scheyer.
The Archer knights oversaw Raka Castle from 1248 until the end of their line at the close of the 15th century. In 1501, a relative of theirs, Leonhard Herič from Kompolje in Blagovica, sold the castle to Baron Georg von Scheyer from Soteska. The castle was later burned in 1515 during a peasant revolt. In 1525, the castle and its estate were given in fief to Baron Johann Balthasar von Werneck by Archduke Karl. In the early 17th century, it was jointly owned by Baron Johann Ruess von Ruessenstein.
Through the 17th century, Raka Castle was owned by the Werneck barons and eventually sold to the Kajzelj family, who arranged greenhouse plots and a pond with crab breeding facilities below the castle. The old castle was preserved from its dilapidated state by Baron Franz Karl Haller von Hallerstein, who owned it from 1784 to 1825. He gave it a completely different and refined look, including new landscaped formal gardens and several purpose-built outbuildings. He further enlarged the Raka estate through purchases from the partial sale of the Studenice estate in 1800 and Dolenje Radulje in 1811.
The castle was used as a military outpost during World War II. Between 1952 and 1961, Raka served as a municipal seat. In 1948, after expulsion from their convent, the Daughters of Charity moved into the castle, where they remained until 1998. In 2007, the castle was declared a monument of special architectural or historic interest by the Municipality of Krško in order to protect the integrity of its landscape, architectural, artistic and historical value, strengthen its cultural testimony, present its cultural value in situ and in the media, and promote educational and scientific research work.
Raka Castle is a quadrangular three-story building with a partial basement. It has an eleven-bay facade to the north and an eight-bay facade on its east side.
To the west and south, the mansion is surrounded by woodlands and thickets. Passage around the castle itself is possible along a narrow, untended path. One enters the arcaded courtyard through a grand, classicist style stone portal. The castle (mansion) has been vacant and empty since the departure of the Sisters of Charity in 1998. Some interior furniture, toilets, and bathrooms are intact.
The nuns installed plumbing in the mansion, enclosed the courtyard arcades with wood and glass, partially repaired the roof (which later fell into disrepair), and constructed a simple brick garage on the property behind the mansion. Only the south and the west wings of the building have basements, which can be accessed by broad wooden staircases directly off the courtyard.
In the recent past, the ground floor was used mainly for livestock. The granary and pantry, located on the elevated ground floor of the west wing, were fitted with floor compartments to store crops and with wooden ceiling beams for hanging produce, various products originating from the estate, and general useful items. Broad stone stairs, set in the middle of the east wing, lead from the arcaded corridor to the first floor rooms, some of which are partitioned. The wooden floors are covered with linoleum.
In the central part of the southern wing is a hall with a flat ceiling and a Baroque style parquet floor. One of the best preserved rooms is called Johanna's room. On the outer side a manual lift (dumbwaiter) was used to transfer food from the kitchen to the rooms. Also of interest is the food distribution area with a small, well preserved, built-in cabinet and barrier, and a distribution counter with cupboards.References:
The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.
The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).
With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).
Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.
The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.
The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.
Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.