Discover the Intriguing History of an Unusual Castle Built into the Side of a Cave

Castle Built into the Side of a Cave in Slovenia

Stock Photos from Janez Zalaznik/Shutterstock

The weird and wonderful Predjama Castle seems like it belongs in a fantasy world, but the real history behind this Renaissance castle is much more interesting than fiction. Located in Slovenia, the incredible castle has been built into the mouth of a cave for a unique, imposing look. Now run as a museum, tourists from all over the world flock to view the magnificent space.

Predjama Castle sits just 6.8 miles from the village of Postojna in south-central Slovenia. Surprisingly, the current castle isn't the first building to sit on the site—it dates to 1570, while the history of the area goes back much further. The first mention of Predjama Castle was in 1274, when it was said that a Gothic style castle was built here due to the protection that the cave supplied. Nestled into the rocks, it would have been quite difficult to access the castle, which made it the perfect hideaway.

Perhaps the most infamous occupant of the castle was Erasmus of Lueg, a knight who was lord of the castle in the 15th century. A well-known robber baron, he ran afoul of the powerful Habsburg rulers when he killed the commander of the imperial army. Forced to flee in order to escape the anger of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, he took refuge in the castle.

While there, he used a hidden passageway created from a natural vertical shaft to ensure that supplies could get in and out of the castle. The secret route exits to the top of the cliff and also allowed Erasmus to continue his robberies. Unfortunately, he was killed after a long and drawn out siege on the castle and the structure laid in ruin. It was later reconstructed but was destroyed again by an earthquake.

Finally, in 1570, the new owner—Baron Philipp von Cobenzl—created what we see today. The magnificent Renaissance style castle sits against the caves and the original medieval fortifications. In this impressive setting, Predjama Castle casts a stately figure and is one of the most impressive castles in the world. As such, it's been used as the backdrop in numerous movies, television programs, and music videos.

Predjama Castle is open year-round for visitors who wish to experience this fairytale castle.

Predjama Castle in Slovenia is an incredible 16th-century castle built into the side of a cave.

Predjama Castle in Slovenia

Stock Photos from Dinozzzave/Shutterstock

Predjama Castle in Slovenia

Stock Photos from Haidamac/Shutterstock

The original castle dates back to the 13th century and has passed through the hands of many nobles.

Prejdama Castle, One of the World's Most Beautiful Castles

Stock Photos from blazg/Shutterstock

Predjama Castle at Night

Stock Photos from Sharon Wildie/Shutterstock

There are still original secret passageways that were used to keep the castle supplied with food in times of siege.

Things to Do in Slovenia - Predjama Castle

Stock Photos from Marko Razpotnik Sest/Shutterstock

Secret Passageways Hidden in Predjama Castle

Stock Photos from Pavel Dobrovsky/Shutterstock

Predjama Castle: Website

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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