Visit lovely Bogenšperk castle and meet Valvasor the Great

by Mateja Gruden

Lovely. That’s the first word that pops into my mind when I think of Bogenšperk castle. It’s small and snowy white, surrounded by the blooming meadows and the woods. So cute! But the appearance can be deceiving. After all, the castle was the scene of some pretty heavy stuff in the past …

Literally! (You weren’t deceived at all, actually.) It was Bogenšperk castle where one of the most monumental books in the Slovenian history had been written: The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola, published in 1689 in fifteen tomes, totaling 3532 pages and 528 copperplate engravings. Its author, Johann Weikhard von Valvasor, was the explorer and polymath, the member of the Royal Society in London, the oldest British science academy. He was born in Ljubljana and spent more than a decade traveling around Europe and Africa after the graduation.

Valvasor bought Bogenšperk castle when he had returned home and had decided to settle down. He was married twice and fathered thirteen children. He spent twenty years of his life living in this castle; he sold it in the 1692 to pay off the debts. The costs of his extensive scientific, collectable and publishing activities as well as unsettles debts for acquired estates were too high. He died a year later, at the age of 52.

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  • Slika 2/3

Reliving Valvasor

Bogenšperk castle relives the life of this remarkable man. Everything in the castle, all the exhibitions and collections are connected to Valvasor.

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  • Slika 4/5

It’s well worth to take some time to explore the castle:

  • its history (it was built in the beginning of the 16th century);
  • the collection of the national costumes that gives us an excellent insight into the clothing culture of our ancestors;
  • the history of Slovenian folk superstitions (my personal favourite: did you know you can cure the excrescences with the help of a dead mole, but first you have to strangle the poor rodent?);
  • the Valvasor’s working room with the original book of The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola,
  • the copper printery (Valvasor was one of the first printers in Carniola and the first to bring copper printing to our region);
  • the library which nowadays serves as a room where the wedding ceremonials are held;
  • the extensive cartographic collection; Valvasor's view of the nature;
  • his correspondence with Thomas Gale, the secretary of the Royal Society;
  • one of the latter Valvasor’s other works Human Death.
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  • Slika 6/7

After the visit you might find enjoyable spending some time in the garden behind the castle and in the woods that surround it. Just sit there and listen to the birds and the crickets or wander under the treetops …

Let’s get practical

Bogenšperk castle is open for individual visitors that can explore it by themselves or can take the guided tour in Slovenian and English. Some exhibitions are in Slovenian only so you might need a guide if you like a proper insight into the content. The best way to get to there (around 50 kilometers from Ljubljana with Šmartno pri Litiji being the nearest town) is by car.

The variety of prearranged group tours is also available: animated tours, herbal experience, culinary tour … Plus the castle is a part of the full day trip Bogenšperk castle and healthy relaxation in Valvasor's land.

Mateja Gruden

Tourism and outdoor. Two crucial parts of my life. I try to combine them as often as possible – at work and in my free time.

More about Mateja Gruden

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