One of the most picturesque castles in Slovenia, Žužemberk Castle originated in the 13th century but acquired its present shape during the 16th century when its defences were reinforced with seven huge round towers. From 1538 until World War II, it was owned by the Auersperg family of Turjak. The castle was badly damaged during World War II and restoration work has been ongoing ever since. Every Summer the castle's inner courtyard hosts a programme of open-air concerts and plays.

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Address

Breg 28, Zuzemberk, Slovenia
See all sites in Zuzemberk

Details

Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Slovenia

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Kristina Tekavec (9 months ago)
It's amazing how they're transformed this casle. It offers diverse acitivities, nice views and a great experience. Would recommend visiting it anytime, but best would be during a medieval day or local festivals.
Robert Charlton (10 months ago)
Affords great views.
Jens Körner (13 months ago)
The most beautiful castle in all this area! Very big, good maintenance and good explanation.
Tim (14 months ago)
That was a wow experience which was free of charge. You get to visit different rooms and places of the castle, go to three different levels of the castle. You get to see where prisoners were kept and where high guests were greeted. The castle is a fun place for kids. You need to plan about an hour for this visit. There is a toilet and wc available. And you can see a beautiful view from the castle.
Susan Travers (14 months ago)
The castle is partially restored after being destroyed during World War II and provides a good view over the town. We wandered about in our own, there area some signs in English at the entrance, otherwise there was not a great deal of information inside. It's free to enter though donations are welcome!
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Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.

The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.

In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.

Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.

About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.

Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.

A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.