The Slovenia Times

Fuzine Castle



Fuzine is an ancient expression for ironworks. Such a facility stood alongside the rapids of the Ljubljanica river and made use of the copper ore from local mines that existed during the middle ages. The existence of the mills, forges and other industrial plants that had developed along the river was probably what impelled the influential Bavarian merchant, Vid Khisl, to begin building the castle here at the beginning of the 16th century. His son, Janz Khisl, completed the ambitious project, which, soon after his death, would serve as a stronghold during the Turkish invasions. The Khisls, who moved to the Kranjska region at the beginning of the 16th century, were a family of merchants and quickly became very powerful, both economically and politically, and had gained the status of barons before the end of the century. As strong supporters of the Protestant Reformation, they had close ties with the leading Slovene cultural reformers, Primoz Trubar and Jurij Dalmatin. With their influence and connections they also helped Janez Mandelc to establish the first Slovenian printing office. By the end of the 16th century, however, the third generation of Khisls had sold off their estates in the region, including the richly painted castle. Throughout the next century, the castle's owners paid scant regard to its magnificent interior and general appearance. The famous Slovenian ethnographer, Janez Vajkard Valvasor, noted, in the middle of the 17th century, that the castle's ceilings were collapsing. This downward spiral of decay only ended a century later when Fidelis Terpinc, one of the area's first manufacturers and also an influential businessman, bought the castle at auction from the state. In Terpinc's hands, the castle regained its economic and political prominence. He converted the old mills into contemporary industrial plants and organized agricultural lectures and exhibitions of contemporary machinery in the castle. Besides the renovation of the castle and its surroundings, which he transformed into an idyllic park, he also established a rich art collection. He was an honourable member of several academies and a close ally of the foremost Slovenian journalist and publisher, Janez Bleiweis, and was therefore an important cultural and political figure of his age. Since the Terpinc's had no descendants, the castle became the property of the Baumgartner dynasty soon after the death of his wife in 1875. The castle's interior experienced another drastic transformation a few years before the beginning of World War II, when it was bought by the paper millers, Vevce. The castle was divided up into units suitable for workers' quarters. To this end, bathrooms, kitchens and three additional stairways were installed. Following its occupation during the war by the Italian army, the castle served as an apartment block until the eighties, at which time its residents were re-located. The Architectural Museum took custody of the castle a few years after the residents were vacated and they began massive renovations. At the beginning of the nineties the castle started to function as a museum. It's first permanent exhibition presented the works of Slovenian architect, Joze Plecnik. Today it houses various departments of the Architectural Museum. The exhibited works come from the fields of architecture, industrial design and visual communications. As well as exhibitions, the castle hosts a variety of cultural events throughout the year, such as workshops and concerts.


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