More than this "zebra-look" windows I wanted to show the coat of arms on the castle walls, however the colours of it are a kind of pale.
Bellow the castle, which perches in the cliff like a swallow's nest, is the entrance to what used to be the stables. Animals could not in fact enter the castle by the normal route.
However you look at it, Predjama is a cracking site for a castle. Constructed into the mouth of a cave and protected by sheer cliff faces above and below, it would have been virtually impregnable, and as the rock is riddled with caves, the castle had the added bonus of a hidden entrance that could be used to ship in provisions and through which to escape if needs be!
Probably the best-known historical episode relating to the castle was when the lord, Erasmus Lueger, was killed by a cannonball after his whereabouts were given away by a treacherous servant: legend has it that he hoisted a flag over the room in which the lord was resident. This unfortunately happened to be the toilet, where the lord was sitting in state (so to speak) - the sort of lavatorial episode guaranteed to inspire mirth among small boys (young and old). Once can only commiserate on the situation where your historical claim to fame is that you were blasted to smithereens whilst seated on the slammer!
We didn't go inside the castle as the kids were restless and just wanted to run around and the tour guide gave it a 'so so' writeup. The village adjacent to the castle is a pretty little place, and there is an inviting looking hostelry by the castle gate that looks like a very pleasant place to stop for some refreshment if you have the time.
This is not the ballista that killed Erasmus but a reconstructed model. Every year, at the end of August (we missed it by a week), there is a Medieval jousting tournament in front of the castle with costumed characters, etc
More about the tournament
On the front of the castle, the date of 1570 is painted. This is when the castle that we see today was rebuilt in Renaissance style by baron Philipp von Cobenzl.
The coat of arm of the Coblenz is painted on the front of the castle. It is divided in four quarters. The pair diagonally opposed bears a wild mountain goat while the other pair bears an eagle.
Not only the castle was built mid-height of a cliff, but it was built half inside of a cave. That means that when the castle was besieged, the defenders could use the caves and several hidden way out, several kilometers away in the country to get supplies of any kind.
The castle was first built in the XIIth and known as “the Cave Castle”.
In the XVth, it was owned by Nicholas of Foramine, aka Luogar, a wealthy nobleman that became governor of Trieste.
His son, Erasmus Lueger was allied to Matthias, king of Hungary that fought Emperor Frederick III. He was both a knight and a brigand, about the same as Robin Hood. Emperor Frederick III besieged the castle for more than year but to no avail as Erasmus got food supplies by secret cave passages. He was finally killed by a cannonball when a servant warned the assailants by raising a flag of the place and the time when he went to the loo each day.
The first photo shows well that the castle was almost impossible to take: above, a cliff, on the left, a 123 meters cliff, underneath, a cliff. Only on the right is it possible to reach the castle, which means that visitors were spotted long before they reached the main entrance and identified as friends or as ennemies.
The second photo shows better the cliff below, almost impossible to climb for possible enemies.
Predjamski Grad is perhaps the most famous cave castle in the world. The castle is located in a 123 m high limestone cliff, in the entrance of a cave. This extraordinary and romanic location made it well known.
The cave behind the castle is called Erazmova Jama, after a knight living in the castle, and has 4 levels. The deepest level is water filled, the river flowing through is called Pivka. The castle is built into the huge entrance of the middle level.
An exit from the top level to the plateau was used as secret entrance in the middle ages, today it is filled with rocks. The story goes, that the castle was besieged, but the people in the castle had the secret entrance, and so they had enough to eat. They loughed on the besieger and threw down fresh fruit, to discourage them.
The visit of the castle is interesting. You can see see some rooms with ancient furnitures and paintings. In some rooms you can see manikins that help you to understand the life in that epoch. Very nice is the Pietas that you can see in the church. From the terrace on the fourth floor you can have a great view over the valley. An unicum in the visit is the Castle in the cave: here crossing a drawbridge you can see a cave which is also called Erazem's den.
On the facade of the castle you can see the coat of arms of the Windischgrätz family.
More photos on my travelogue.
In the fifteenth century appear Erasmus Lueger, a banished baron, a kind of Slovenian Robin Hood. During the war with the Hungarian and the Austrians of Fred III. Lueger decided to join the Hungarian of king Matthias Corvinus. He retired in the castle and he continued his scorribandes.
On autumn of 1483 the Austrian army encircled of siege the castle but it was impregnable for many months. Erasmus thanks to a secret passages could go out to his liking of the castle and to allow a continuous restocking of weapons and provisions. One day a servant betrayed him revealing his position to the Austrians that killed him.
The castle of Predjama is castled in front of the entrance of a cave in the halves a rochy wall 123 meters high.
The actual construction of the fourteenth century has risen on the rests of a previously castle built in 1202. The splendid location and the majesty of the building made it impregnable for many decades.
There is a well known romantic story of the robber knight (baron) at the end of the 15th century - Erasmus who took refuge in unaccessable cavecastle resisting openly his besiegers for one year. According to the story the besieged knight received his necessary food through the secret passage linking the Castle with the Vipava valley. Erasmus met his death only after having been betrayed by someone in his service. The old cave castle squatting like an eagle nest in the middle of the rocks, went to rack and ruin the family KobenzI then built the present renaissance castle leaning against the cave hollow, in the end of the 16th century. The coat-of-arms of this family may be seen to this very day on the castle wall, next to the date of 1570. In its history the Castle was in possession of various owners, today it is under the management of the Postojna Caves
Even if you don't have time to visit the interior, I'd still recommend at least driving by if you are visiting Postojna Caves as the setting, built into the side of a cave, is the coolest thing about this castle. It's easy to understand why they thought this was a good place for a fortress/castle, can't get to it from the top, can't get to it from the bottom and the caves provide secret passageways for the residents to elude invaders and get vital supplies. The formal entrance is through a drawbridge.
The 1st castle on this site was thought to have been built in the 12th century. At the time of Erasmus (Erazem) in the 15th century it was operating as a fortress, probably not very pleasant to live in but a safe place to hide from his pursuers. The castle was modified in 1570 by Ivan Kobenzl, the castle was restored to look like it was in his day. In the 1800s it was owned by a count and a prince and is now open for tourism.
If time is short or money really tight I don't think a visit to the interior of Predjama Castle is a must see but I thought it was interesting enough to make a stop should you have the time and the funds.
The interior has been restored to how it looked in the 16th century after the castle was modified by then owner Ivan Kobenzl, after the time of it's most famous resident Erasmus. The tour is self guided and while a little hard to follow with the directional signs, the printed guide shows the route. The visit took us around 40 minutes.
The wax people are a little creepy especially the friar who looks like he's ready to give birth any minute and the man suspended by a rope in the torture chamber.
We bought a combined ticket for Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle which saved us 2E per person, a combined ticket was 23E, a ticket just for the Castle 7E. Open every day:
January, February, March, November, December 10:00-16:00
April, October 10:00-18:00
May, June, July, August, September 9:00-19:00
Looking out the window of the Castle, I noticed an area set up for jousting, from the website it looks like there is a an annual tournament here in August, Erasmus Knights Tournament. Rough Guide says it's the last or second to last Sunday, the last one listed on the website is August 20, 2006.
There's also a Cave under the Castle tour that you can do May-September at 11:00, 13:00, 15:00 and 17:00 for 7E or in combination with the Castle for 12E (2E cheaper than separately). No tours in the other months, apparently there are bats hibernating. You can get more information on the attached website.
The strange story of Erazem fascinated us at once... the great rebel that could not be caught killed in that way!! The castle is really incredible, it seems it can stay there against the rocks for a pure miracle, but it stays there and has been staying there for centuries.