Castles. Forts. Citadels. Strongholds. Fortresses.
I’m a peaceful Giraffeses, but I’m still fascinated by all forms of fortification, no matter what name they go by. From prehistoric hill forts to Roman walled towns. From medieval castles to Napoleonic citadels. You name it, I want to explore it!
This summer alone, during my trip to Europe, I visited at least nine castles I’d never been to before. I even have what I call castle rules, which require you to go inside every room possible, no matter how small.
So you can imagine that for a castle to jump straight into my top three favourites is no mean feat. But that’s exactly what happened during my travels through Slovenia in July.
Predjama is a small village about 40 miles south of the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. There’s been a castle there since at least 1274. The current one is the third to occupy the site and was built in 1570.
But what makes Predjama Castle (not Pyjama Castle, as my brother, Bisckits, insists on calling it) particularly special is its location. I mean, how many strongholds are built into the mouth of a cave halfway up a karstic limestone cliff that’s 400 feet tall.
As you explore the castle, it’s often hard decide whether you’re inside or outside. Some rooms are exactly what you’d expect from a building that’s over 400 years old.
Legend states that Predjama Castle’s unusual positioning came in particularly handy in 1483, when its owner, a robber baron called Erazem, got himself into hot water with a whole bunch of powerful people. With the castle proving virtually impregnable, his enemies were forced to lay siege to it, in an attempt to starve Erazem out.
The siege lasted over a year. It finally ended, so the tale goes, when Erazem was betrayed by a servant. He was killed by a well-aimed cannonball while visiting the smallest room in the castle, if you get my drift.
Yet the secret passage through the caves has been a double edged sword for Predjama Castle. While it may have kept the defenders fed during the 15th Century siege, in the 17th Century, robbers used it to sneak into the stronghold.
If you’re as taken with castles as I am, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?
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