Turjak Castle is a 13th-century fairly well known castle in Slovenia and one of the most impressive in the area. The first Turjak castle was built on the site as early as the late 11th century by the knights (later counts) von Auersperg. It may have been extant by 1062, the date the family (specifically Konrad von Auersperg) is first mentioned. In 1140, it was destroyed and burned during a succession struggle between the two heirs of Pilgram II von Auersperg, his son Pilgram IV and his son-in-law Otto von Ortenburg. The castle was held by Pilgram IV, who was defeated.
In 1190 it was rebuilt by count Adolf II von Auersperg, whose son Otto became entangled in a complicated war with the noble houses of von Gortz, Ortenburg, and the Patriarchate of Aquileia, during which the castle was again flattened. Afterward, the site of the first two castles was abandoned in favor of the current one further upslope.
The current castle is first mentioned in 1220. In 1270, Peter and Wolfgang von Auersperg sold it to another branch of the family, only to have it bought back by Balthazar von Auersperg, chancellor of the Holy Roman Empire. In the 14th century, Auersperg owners included Gerhard (1317), and the brothers Friederich, Volkard and Herward. The castle was completely destroyed by the great earthquake of 1511, but was rebuilt in time to successfully resist a furious peasants' revolt in 1515 that laid waste to several other castles in the region. It faced a more serious challenge from Turkish raiders, who undertook major assaults against it in 1491 and 1528, but were repelled both times.
During the 16th century, the Auerspergs were strong supporters of the Protestant Reformation in Slovenia. The major Slovene Protestant leaders PrimoÅ¾ Trubar and Jurij Dalmatin were offered sanctuary at the castle, and worked on the first translation of the Bible into Slovene during their stay. The Counts also offered financial support to the project of printing some of the first Slovene books.
On 19 September 1943, the castle was taken by Partisans after a lengthy battle with its garrison of Slovene Axis auxiliaries. About five hundred of them were taken prisoner and became the target of retribution, in the form of notable war crimes. The castle was severely damaged in the battle, and lay in ruins for several years. Following WWII, the castle was nationalized, and restoration work slowly undertaken.
The castle is of triangular layout and stands on a terraced hill. Large Renaissance defensive towers at the points of the triangle are connected by residential wings. The western tower contains a suite of dungeons of varying degrees of unpleasantness. The tall central palacium dates from the Romantic period.
The castle has been significantly altered several times throughout its history. As recently as the 1680s, the Valvasor engravings show a rectangular structure with small towers at only two corners and a large bastille at the eastern end. This layout dates to the major rebuilding after the devastating 1512 earthquake, though some pre-16th century elements survive, notably the north wing and portions of the defensive walls.
The original 10th- or 11th-century castle stood lower on the slope; some minor ruins are still visible.
The castle is unusual in having two chapels. A Catholic one on the west side has served as a church since 1789; after a 1990 renovation, mass has been held there every Sunday. A second Romanesque Protestant chapel is named after Dalmatin, and contains the tombs of the Protestant counts, as well as gothic frescoes.References:
The Petersberg Citadel is one of the largest extant early-modern citadels in Europe and covers the whole north-western part of the Erfurt city centre. It was built after 1665 on Petersberg hill and was in military use until 1963. It dates from a time when Erfurt was ruled by the Electors of Mainz and is a unique example of the European style of fortress construction. Beneath the citadel is an underground maze of passageways that can be visited on guided tours organised by Erfurt Tourist Office.
The citadel was originally built on the site of a medieval Benedictine Monastery and the earliest parts of the complex date from the 12th century. Erfurt has also been ruled by Sweden, Prussia, Napoleon, the German Empire, the Nazis, and post-World War II Soviet occupying forces, and it was part of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). All of these regimes used Petersberg Citadel and had an influence on its development. The baroque fortress was in military use until 1963. Since German reunification in 1990, the citadel has undergone significant restoration and it is now open to the public as a historic site.