Castles and mansions
In Ljubljana and Central Slovenia there are a number of beautiful castles, mansions, and palaces. The majority of the most famous ones have been renovated and are open to visitors.
Castles in the past and today
Most of the castles in Central Slovenia are situated atop hillocks and hills and in other prime scenic locations. In the past, they served as centres of local power and provided protection from Turkish attacks. Today, unless they are in ruins, they have new lives as tourist sights and venues for official functions.
The castles' early inhabitants are long gone, but their lives are still reflected in the castles' museum collections, which present not only the history of the castles themselves, but also the heritage of their wider areas. The castles' history, the lives of their inhabitants, and daily life in the past are also being revived by living history events featuring medieval fairs, knights' tournaments, and the like.
Castles in Slovenian-inhabited lands were first elaborately described by the famous Slovenian polymath and scientist Janez Vajkard Valvasor in his book The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola (1689). Valvasor lived at Bogenšperk Castle, which now houses a memorial room dedicated to him.
Central Slovenia's five most interesting castles
Ljubljana Castle, towering over the capital's historical city centre, displays two museum collections, serves as an event venue and a romantic wedding location, and is home to two restaurants offering the finest culinary experiences.
Bistra Castle, located near the small town of Vrhnika, houses the Technical Museum of Slovenia, a renowned museum keeping an extraordinary wealth of interesting exhibits, from historical machines and devices still in working order to a collection of luxury limousines once owned by Marshal Tito, the president of the former Yugoslavia.
Bogenšperk Castle, once home to the polymath Janez Vajkard Valvasor, now houses the Valvasor Memorial Room and offers a fascinating insight into the historical heritage of Central Slovenia. It displays a geological collection and several ethnographic collections, among others.
Zaprice Castle, located in the small town of Kamnik, boasts a number of museum collections on different aspects of life in Central Slovenia, including one dedicated to the life of herdsmen on the Velika planina high mountain plateau. The meadow behind the castle is occupied by a unique ethnographic park displaying granaries typical of the Tuhinj Valley.
A rich and diverse heritage collection is also displayed at the Polhov Gradec Mansion, where you can treat yourself to a very special castle experience - taking tea and home-made local delights with Count Blagay, a historical figure who once owned the castle.
Castle tours led by costumed guides
More and more Slovenian castles offer tours guided by actors in historical costumes impersonating the castles' past inhabitants and other historical characters.
Particularly exciting experiences include Ljubljana Castle's Time Machine, the Polhov Gradec Mansion's Tea Party at Count Blagay's, and the tour of Bogenšperk Castle guided by Baroness Ana Maksimilia Valvasor and the manservant Jurij.