Predjama Castle is a Renaissance castle built within a cave mouth in southwestern Slovenia. It is located approximately 11 kilometres from Postojna.
History of the castle :
The castle was first mentioned in the year 1274 with the German name Luegg, when the Patriarch of Aquileia built the castle in Gothic style. The castle was built under a natural rocky arch high in the stone wall to make access to it difficult. It was later acquired and expanded by the Luegg noble family, also known as the Knights of Adelsberg (the German name of Postojna).
The legend of Erazem of Predjama:
The castle became known as the seat of Knight Erazem Lueger (or Luegger), owner of the castle in 15th century and a renowned robber baron. He was the son of the Imperial Governor of Trieste, Nikolaj Lueger. According to legend, Erazem came into conflict with the Habsburg establishment, when he killed the commander of the Imperial army Marshall Pappencheim, who had offended the honour of Erazem's deceased friend, Andrej Baumkircher of Vipava. Fleeing from the revenge of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III, Erazem settled in the family fortress of Predjama. He allied himself with the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus and began to attack Habsburg estates and towns in Carniola.
After the reconstruction:
After the siege and destruction of the original castle, its ruins were acquired by the Oberburg noble family. In 1511, the second castle, built by the Purgstall family in the first decade of the 16th century, was destroyed in an earthquake. In the year 1567, Archduke Charles of Austria leased the castle to baron Philipp von Cobenzl, who paid it off after 20 years. In 1570, the current castle was built in the Renaissance style, pressed next to a vertical cliff under the original Medieval fortification. The castle has remained in this form, virtually unchanged, to the present day.
In the 18th century, it became one of the favourite summer residences of the Cobenzl noble family. Both the Austrian statesman Philipp von Cobenzl and the diplomat Count Ludwig von Cobenzl spent time in the castle.
The hidden passageway :
A secret natural shaft leads out of the castle, which Erazem ordered to be enlarged, and leads into Postojna Cave. This shaft allowed Erazem to secretly supply the castle with food in the time of the siege; he also used it to continue with his robberies.