Vrbovec castle, which stands at the confluence of the Dreta and Savinja at Nazarje, is regarded as the most important monument of secular medieval architecture in the Upper Savinja Valley. In German it was called Altenburg, while its Slovenian name Vrbovec is associated with the willows (vrba = willow) that once grew along the banks of the two rivers. The original castle, built in the 12th century, stood on a rocky outcrop in the middle of the castle complex, and acquired its current appearance around 1480, with the medieval core of the castle being removed in the 18th century.
Alongside the Aquileia patriarch, the owners of the castle included the mighty house of the Celje Counts, and when they died out the castle was transferred to Austrian ownership. Leigemen of the castle then changed frequently right up until 1615, when it was purchased by the Ljubljana bishopric for its needs. In 1920 the Chapel of St. Joseph was built on top of the outcrop, and the castle itself was renamed Marijingrad. With the occupation in 1941 the castle was seized by the Germans and the chapel was destroyed, since they intended to place anti-aircraft guns at that location.
In 1944 the castle was burned, and at the end of the war it was only partially restored. The Nazarje Forest Corporation saved Vrbovec from the fate of numerous disintegrating castles in Slovenia, carrying out a complete restoration in 1988-1992. Today it houses forestry institutions, the municipal administration, numerous private companies, a restaurant and a museum of forestry and woodworking.References:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.