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Calendar >  Predjama – A Haunted Castle in a Cave

Predjama – A Haunted Castle in a Cave

By   /  January 18, 2016  /  No Comments

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TR Robertson

TR Robertson

…As you travel to the vast array of countries you could visit in the world, one of your travel goals should be to find as many unusual and different sites to see as you can. On our trip to Slovenia, my wife and I had the good fortune to visit one of the most unusually located castles we have ever seen. Predjama Castle was first built high in a natural rocky arch at the entrance to a long series of caves in south central Slovenia. The castle is located 442 feet up a vertical cliff from the Vipava Valley floor above the Lokva River. The Valley is known for cherry orchards and cherry wine.

Photos by TR Robertson

The first castle built was a Gothic style castle by Patriarch of Aquileia in 1274. Over the years the castle has had many different residents. In the 15th century the original castle was in poor conditions and a newer version of the castle was built in front of the original castle, partially extending away from the cave opening.. It became known as the home of the knight Erazem Lueger, a renowned robber baron. One day, in a village located a short distance from the castle, Lueger became involved in a conflict with the Habsburgs, part of the local ruling power. He would kill the commander of the Imperial Army, Marshall Pappenheim, who had offended a friend of Erazem. The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III sent soldiers to arrest Lueger only to find he had fled to the family fortress of Predjama. He would hide out in the castle and launch a series of attacks against Habsburg estates and towns close to the castle. As Emperor Frederick’s soldier’s approached the castle, Lueger sealed off the castle entrance. For 1 year the Emperor’s soldiers besieged the castle. They were often pelted by cherries thrown from the soldier’s in the castle. The Emperor’s soldiers could not understand how the people in the castle could be holding out for so long. They did not know that the castle had access to water and food via a secret tunnel in the back of the older medieval castle that led to the top of the cliff and a short walk to the village of Vipava, where Lueger’s servants could get needed supplies. The Emperor’s soldier’s never discovered the secret tunnel. The siege of the castle would finally end due to the arrogance of  Lueger. He would send food, occasionally, to the Emperor’s soldiers and always used the same servant to take the food. One day the Emperor’s soldiers bribed the servant to tell them something about the habits of Lueger they could use to capture or kill him. The servant told them Lueger had a daily habit of going to the privy located on the outside section of the castle walls. The servant was told to light a candle and place it in a window when Lueger was in the privy.  As fate would have it, Lueger entered the privy and the Emperor’s soldiers opened fire with cannons, killing Lueger and ending the siege.

In 1511, the castle was rebuilt by the Pargstall family only to be severely damaged by an earthquake shortly after. In 1567 the castle was taken over by Archduke Charles of Austria. In 1570 the castle was redecorated in the Renaissance style. In the 1700’s it became the summer residence of Cobenzl Family and in 1810 it was inherited by Count Michael Coronini von Cronberg. He would remain the owner until 1846 and it would be sold to the Windischgratz Family who would own it until the end of World War II. The castle was nationalized in 1945 by the Yugoslav Communist authorities, who turned it into a museum. The castle today is controlled by the Slovenian government and is a favorite tourist stop.

As you tour the castle you can see furniture in the rooms replicating furniture from the 1500’s.  Wandering around the castle you are led to lookout points that have amazing views of the valley. You can also go part of the way into the oldest part of the medieval castle and see the opening that once led up to the top of the cliff out to the city of Vipava. One interesting fact is the castle has a small dungeon located in it complete with torture equipment, chains and a poor hanging dummy. According to Ghost Hunters International this castle is listed in the top 10 of the most haunted castles in the world. Ghost Hunters filmed a 2008 episode featuring haunted dungeons. It was also featured in a 2014 video game, Counter Strike: Global Offensive DLC Operation Breakout.

Castles can be found in almost every country in the world. Some are museums for visitation only, some have rooms you can stay in overnight, some have people in costumes of the time and put on plays and dinners, some are private and are homes of the owners and some are in poor condition and are dangerous to visit. Whatever the situation, they are amazing places, come in all sizes and worth the time and effort to visit.

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  • Published: 7 years ago on January 18, 2016
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  • Last Modified: January 17, 2016 @ 5:54 pm
  • Filed Under: Travel
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