The Slovenia Times

An Environmental and Historical Dreamland



Podcetrtek is the central frontier settlement of the Kozjansko area with a population of over 3300. The municipality of Podcetrtek was formed by parts of the municipality Smarje pri Jelsah in 1995. It is one among five municipalities Kozje, Bistrica ob Sotli, Brezice and Krsko, which are a part of the Kozjansko Regional Park. Kozjansko with its eastern border on the Sotla River (Sutla in Croatian) forms the Croatian border for the area. Though holding many names historically, Kozjansko derives from the settlement of Kozje, which lies on the western side of Bistrica valley. Kozjansko is a landscape with many faces, unspoiled beautiful nature and rich cultural heritage. Kozjansko Regional Park was established in 1999 by the Slovenian Parliament and was before known as Trebce Memorial Park. It is a protected area with high tourist potential and with rich geographic features that stretch over 19600 hectares. The park hopes to expand its parameters in the future. At the centre of the Kozjansko Park is the small medieval market town of Podsreda. The landscape offers its visitors exceptional high-trunk orchards, dry meadows and pastures that should soon receive environmental protection. Long-term conservation is needed to insure the prosperity of the rare and endangered plant and animal species located there. The dry meadows in the pre-alpine Vetrnik and Oslica mountains are some of the last in Europe. In the European Union such special natural habitats are conserved within Natura 2000. To prevent these rare dry meadows from being overgrown with non-native plant species, conservationists eye the area with close scrutiny. The extraordinary landscape, its biodiversity and recreational opportunities are the area's most important attractive qualities. Orlica hills The panorama from these peaks extends far into the mountains of Croatia, through Donacka gora and Boc, all the way to Pohorje. From the top of the ridge downwards are ranged five shrines: Lurec chapel, the chapel of St. Sebastian, the Church of St. Mary and the chapels of St. George and St. Martin. The path on the slope of Orlice is slightly inclining. On the way to Podsreda Castle lays a small chapel fastened onto a beech-tree in memoriam to the time of the Turkish invasions. Most of the hills (covering an area 14 km by 4 km) have peaks around 700 m. The highest is Veliki vrh (697 m), following Veliki Spicek (686 m) and Velika Vagla (667 m), towards southwest are Svete gore (527 m) and Kunsperk (597 m). On the other side of Zelenjak Gorge lays Cesarsko brdo (509 m). Svete gore (Holy Mountains) rises above Bistrica ob Sotli. Podsreda Castle Podsreda Castle, first mentioned in 1213, lies on the northern slope of Orlica hill, some 5 kilometres away from the marketplace of Podsreda. The castle's eight-century-old masonry has remained almost entirely intact, despite numerous structural alterations and extensions over time. Podsreda Castle is one of those Krka castles which were regularly certified to the Celje counts by said bishops. When the Celje counts had died out, the Castle of Podsreda and the feudal estate became the property of the country's sovereign. After that, the leaseholders and stewards of the castle succeeded one another in rapid succession. In 1848, the estate was bought by Duke Weriand von Windischgr"tz. He and (even more so) his son-in-law gave the castle its present appearance. Since 1983, the castle has been systematically renovated under auspices of Kozjanski Park. The renovated storerooms are intended for exhibition space, promotions and a concert hall.


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