The Slovenia Times

Bogenšperk Castle



Archaeological finds at the beginning of the last century indicate that prehistoric man had settled in the surrounding areas. Even though the origins of the castle are shrouded in mystery, the castle's original name, Wagensperg, reveals a connection with the Wagen family, who were nobles that came to Carniola from Bavaria in the 15th century. As the castle first appears in historical records in 1533, it is assumed that it was built after the great earthquake that damaged several castles in the region in 1511, including the Lichtenberg tower castle just down the hill from Bogenšperk, where the Wagen family had previously lived. The Wagens owned the castle until 1630, after which it changed hands many times in a short period of time. Among its many owners was Johann Weichard Valvasor, probably the most eminent 17th century Slovene. He was a nobleman, a commander in the Austrian army, historian, polymath, ethnographer, and the first person to fully depict the ethnographical and geographical features of the Carniola region. He compiled them in a comprehensive encyclopaedia, Slava vojvodine Kranjske (Glory of the Duchy of Carniola), which influenced geoscience for centuries and provided valuable information about the castles in Carniola. Valvasor had a study, a vast library, an engraving workshop and the first copperplate-printing press in the region installed in Bogenšperk castle. However, due to the high costs associated with the publication of his work, which he financed on his own, he was forced to sell the castle after twenty years to pay off debts. The castle belonged to various noblemen throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries, before it became the property of the Windisch-Gratz family, who owned it until the end of the Second World War. The castle has the shape of an irregular square, with two square and two rounded towers at its corners, and a courtyard in the middle, which gives the castle an authentic medieval feel. It was constructed in the 16th century and its interior was altered and completely refurbished in the 17th century. Even though it was severely damaged by fire in the middle of the 18th century and completely plundered after the last war its original structure remained intact. The castle was fully restored in the late sixties after having fallen into decay. Nowadays it houses a museum with various collections and exhibitions, including an exhibition of witchcraft and superstition, a collection of national costumes, geological and hunting exhibitions, Valvasor's study, etc. It also regularly hosts wedding ceremonies and cultural events.


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