Predjama: The world’s largest cave castle

(CNN) — Predjama is a person of the most amazing castles in the globe, crafted in the mouth of a cave complicated at the finish of a valley in southwest Slovenia.

Set midway up a 400-foot (123-meter) vertical cliff face, it seems in documents from 1202 and is outlined by Guinness Entire world Data as the world’s most significant cave castle.

With a Renaissance facade dating again to the 1580s, the word “majestic” does not even start off to explain it. Nevertheless for tour guideline and historian Vojko Jurca, a person of the highlights is, on very first appearances, a small underwhelming.

“This is it,” he states proudly, indicating an outhouse bathroom with a sloping roof and a boarded-up doorway.

It may possibly appear unremarkable, but the story driving it is just not.

The tale focuses on robber baron Erasmus von Lueg, a neighborhood Robin Hood hero who fled to the castle in the mid-1480s immediately after killing Count Pappenheim, Marshal of the imperial Habsburg Court docket, in a duel whose legitimacy was disputed.

In retaliation, a siege was purchased on Predjama by German Emperor Frederick III.

But Erasmus stood business, aided by a network of top secret tunnels burrowed into the rocks that allowed him to deliver in provisions and acquire rainwater.

He mocked his opponents by sending them refreshing cherries brought in from the Vipava Valley, 13 miles west, using those people underground passages.

The finish would arrive, right after a 12 months and a day, when Erasmus was betrayed by a servant.

As Jurca tells it, when Erasmus went to the outhouse located on a third-ground terrace, the servant lit a wooden torch as a sign. Times later on, a cannonball came whistling through the air, killing Erasmus in the middle of his previous bowel movement.

The outhouse has plainly been rebuilt in the intervening decades.

From Slovenia to Westeros


Ultimate movements: Erasmus was killed when a cannonball hit the castle’s outhouse.

John Malathronas

The method of Erasmus’s demise hasn’t escaped the awareness of “Recreation of Thrones” followers who position at the identical, undignified conclusion of Lord Tywin Lannister, who was shot with a crossbow even though on his lavatory throne.

They also notice that Predjama’s final proprietors, the Windisch-Grätz family, who utilised the castle as a hunting lodge right up until the conclusion of Entire world War II, have on their coat of arms a wolf, the seal of the Stark noble household.

As it takes place, writer George R. R. Martin visited the castle one particular night in June 2011, after a ebook signing event in Trieste.

“On the way home, we stopped at the most awesome castle, designed into the mouth of a huge cave. Definitely have to product some castle in Westeros on this 1, it was an eyeful, particularly by evening,” he claims in a blog site article.

Legend and record are only aspect of the enchantment of Predjama castle. You truly have to stop by to comprehend how human business was so organically certain to mother nature.

Approaching the castle from any way, it really is nearly totally concealed, only seen at the last moment — while sentries all-around the castle would’ve been in a position to location any person coming promptly.

As soon as inside, it can be clear that protection alternatively than comfort was the largest problem in the Center Ages — the castle is impregnable but the chilly and damp make it practically unlivable.

These days, coming into the castle consists of passing as a result of a drawbridge. The original entrance was increased up wherever two faint doors can be glimpsed. They had been arrived at via ladders that could quickly be withdrawn.

Back in the day, guests would to start with enter the courtroom, the place tough justice was dispensed. Few of the ruler’s subjects would be permitted even more than this, until they ended up unlucky.

At the rear of a thick wood door there’s a torture area, which, uniquely, is located in an actual cavernous dungeon. The favored punishments in this article were the rack, on which prisoners were stretched, and the horse, a painfully pointed triangular device they have been built to straddle.

1 of the most pleasurable areas follows. The dining area is insulated by partitions that are practically 5 and a 50 {e9f0aada585b9d73d0d08d3c277fd760092386ec23cac37d50f4b8cd792b062a} feet thick, and warmed by the tiny but useful kitchen, in which a fissure doubles as a all-natural extractor hood.

You can also inspect an original latrine, a protruding seat in excess of the cliff that lets gravity to do its soiled function. Erasmus would have used straw, dried moss and cabbage leaves instead of toilet paper, or at least he would have ahead of he was blown to smithereens.

‘Murder holes’

The castle's barracks is now an armory museum.

The castle’s barracks is now an armory museum.

John Malathronas

A climb up much more stairs to the 3rd floor reveals the gun loops, arrow slits and murder holes made use of to pour boiling oil or molten resin on to the besiegers.

That’s the place the open terrace is positioned. Right here there is certainly a see of the entire valley, as nicely as the most well-known outhouse in Slovenian history.

Future to it is the bedroom. It is the warmest home, as it’s the only a single with a hearth. Castle keepers lived here until finally the 1980s.

Upstairs is an attic that served as a barracks and a lookout. The sights down the Lokva Valley are uninterrupted and beautiful.

The barracks have been transformed to an armory museum showcasing medieval weapons like battleaxes, halberds, crossbows and flails.

Interestingly, a passage listed here prospects straight to the torture place. Presumably any one sleeping on duty could be unceremoniously dragged down into it.

From below you can also enter the innards of the cave, exploring until the light from the entrance dwindles to a speck, letting you contemplate the surroundings.

The considerable limestone cave method in southern Slovenia is identified as karst, following the Latin identify Carsus presented to the plateau over Trieste.

As it was the finest-acknowledged limestone terrain for hundreds of years, the term has come to be generic, describing any limestone terrain with cavities like a Swiss cheese with holes.

Beneath the castle, one particular big cave stretches for 8.7 miles, next in size to the close by sophisticated of Postojna.

There is no vacationer infrastructure at this massive cavern, but it is probable to go to during summertime months with right caving gear, lamps and a specialist manual. It truly is shut in winter season since a colony of Schreiber’s extensive-fingered bats utilizes it to mate and hibernate.

Memorial tree

The castle's Renaissance facade dates to the 1580s.

The castle’s Renaissance facade dates to the 1580s.

JURE MAKOVEC/AFP by means of Getty Images

Again in the castle, a one-way procedure leads back again down to the knights’ home, noteworthy for its Gothic niches and a ceiling painted with oxblood.

There are glimpses in this article and there of how the structure’s builders designed effective use of their rocky circumstance. 1 smaller shaft near the exit became a kennel for looking pet dogs, when a cave mouth less than the castle served as stables.

Leaving the castle, guideline Vojko has a single extra end on his tour — a close by village where an ailing linden tree is currently being propped up in the cemetery of Our Woman of Sorrows.

The church was consecrated all-around 1450 by the bishop of Trieste, future Pope Pius II.

“Legend has it that this linden tree was planted on prime of Erasmus’ grave,” Vojko suggests.

The tree was badly broken by hearth in 2001, but it intended so substantially to the villagers that tree surgeons were named in, and its trunk break up and repaired.

It nonetheless proudly survives, like Predjama castle alone.