The predecessor of the current Slovenska Bistrica castle is first mentioned in 1265, when emperor Rudolf gave it and the adjoining town in fief to count (from 1286 duke of Carinthia) Meinhard of Gorizia. In 1313, it passed to the Habsburgs, who leased the castle and town to the noble house of Walsee. After 1368, the lordship was obtained by the counts of Celje; after their extinction in 1456 it reverted to the ducal lands. In 1587, the town and castle were bought by Hans Vetter; in 1717 the castle only was sold to the counts Attems, who retained until the end of World War II, when it was nationalized.
Rebuilt into a renaissance mansion in the 17th century, the foundations of the current building adjoin one of the defensive towers of its fortified predecessor.
The layout is trapezoidal, with a turret at each corner and an arcaded inner courtyard. The entire building is surrounded with a moat, now dry. The surrounding estate was planted with rare trees, now neglected, and a hornbeam tree row. The Attems decorated the interior in the early 18th century; the castle features a painted staircase, a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and a richly appointed great hall.References:
The Château d'Olhain is probably the most famous castle of the Artois region. It is located in the middle of a lake which reflects its picturesque towers and curtain walls. It was also a major stronghold for the Artois in medieval times and testimony to the power of the Olhain family, first mentioned from the 12th century.
The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.
The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.
During the World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned first by French troops, then Canadian and British soldiers. The current owner has restored the castle to its former glory.