Branik Castle, also known as Rihemberk Castle, is a 13th-century castle above the village of Branik. Fortified settlements have been present on the hill since prehistoric times; the site was once occupied by a Roman castrum. The date of the founding of the castle is unclear, but the noble house of Rihemberk is first recorded in 1230, originating from Riffenstein in Tyrol (now the castle of Reifenstein in Freienfeld, northern Italy). The family received substantial properties in fief from the Counts of Gorizia, including estates in the Vipava Valley, the Kras plateau, in the outskirts of the town of Gorizia and elsewhere. The Rihemberg male line died out in 1371.
In the 14th and 15th centuries the lordship contracted to the immediate surroundings of Rihemberk, a small part of the Vipava Valley, and the Kras Plateau. After the Counts of Gorizia died out in 1500, the castle passed to the Habsburgs. In 1528 both it and the surrounding lands were acquired by the noble house of Lanthieri, who added a residential palacio in 1649.
The Lanthieris retained the castle for a full 417 years, until World War II. On the night of 22–23 July 1944, partisans resistance fighters assaulted the castle, blew it up and set it on fire, so as to deny its use as an outpost to the German Army. All furnishings were destroyed. In 1945, the castle was nationalized. Since the 1980s, it has since been gradually restored, though all prewar structures have not yet been fully rebuilt.
The Romanesque foundations of the castle are still evident in some places. The castle complex is centered on a prominent 13th-century round keep, around which a substantial baroque residential tract was later developed, all surrounded with renaissance defensive walls and 16th century corner turrets. The older structures contain some Gothic elements, notably the castle chapel.
The building took its current shape in the 17th/18th centuries, when it was turned into a baroque residence. Significant remodeling was carried out in the 19th century as well, notably the romantic crenellations of the walls.
A walled garden - partially preserved - once occupied the south slope below the castle. The design of the entrance gate suggests the garden belongs to the baroque period of the castle.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.