Sevnica Castle it dominates the old town of Sevnica and offers views of the surrounding countryside.
The Archdiocese of Salzburg held local estates since 1043 and Sevnica Castle was mentioned for the first time in 1309. The origin of the building was not documented but it was most probably built during the bishopric of Konrad the First von Abensberg (1106–1147), who rebuilt and colonized this area devastated by Hungarian invasions in the 10th century and in the beginning of the 12th century. The only remaining part of the original building is a tower nowadays included in the left wing of the castle.
The so-called Lutheran Cellar was built in the mid-16th century at the southeast side of the Castle Hill. The interior of it embellish frescos dates from the second half of the 16th century.
Between 1595 and 1597, Innocenz Moscon rebuilt the castle in then contemporary Late-Renaissance style and gave it thus its present form. The castle remained the ownership of the Archdiocese of Salzburg until 1803. The storms and fire damaged the castle in 1778 and 1801.
In 1803 Count Johann Händl von Rebenburg became the proprietor of Sevnica Castle. He lowered the battlements, filled in the moats, planted the trees in the park around the castle and made a vineyard with terraces at the south side of the castle hill.
As many other castles in Slovenia, Sevnica Castle was nationalized after the World War II and the precious furniture, which remained untouched until then, vanished. Poor families without apartments of their own were accommodated in the castle and they contributed to the ruination of its property. The park was in a state of total neglect and nobody cared about the vineyard anymore, so even the wine cellar beside Lutheran Cellar was not needed and was removed. The castle has been restored since the 1960s.
Today, Sevnica Castle houses the School and Firefighting Museum, the Museum of Exiles, and an exhibition of decorative arts.References:
The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.
At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.
During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.
In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.
In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.
The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.