Brestanica, Rajhenburg Castle
Rajhenburg Castle has presided on its rocky prominence over the Sava River at least since the 9th century and still represents an important cultural and historical monument. How could it not since it boasts the oldest Romanesque chapel from the beginning of the 12th century and the oldest preserved Renaissance frescoes in the castle hall from the beginning of the 16th century in Slovenia.
After having undergone a full one-year restoration in 2011, the castle was reopened on 1 December 2012. This beautifully restored cultural and historical monument is most certainly worth a visit.
The first written record of Rajhenburg dates back to 895 and mentions a territory with a fortress, which was demolished at the beginning of the 10th century during the Hungarian wars.
Rajhenburg Castle has presided on its rocky prominence over the Sava River at least since the 9th century. Between 1130 and 1147, the Archbishop of Salzburg, Conrad I, had it rebuilt and invited a ministerial family to reside in it. They took on the name of Rajhenburg or Richenburch.
In 1881 the castle was bought by French Trappist monks and turned into a monastery. The Trappists were very industrious, being most famous for their making of cheese (trappist) and manufacture of chocolates and liqueurs. Moreover, they owned their own power station, a printing house and a telephone already in 1896.
In April 1941 the castle was taken over by the Germans, who set up a deportee camp (Fürst). While the castle rooms served as offices and living headquarters of the Germans, the deportees had to live in barns or wooden shacks. Around 45,000 Slovenians were sent into exile. When the camp was abolished in spring 1942, the castle still accommodated Nazi institutions and offices.
After World War II the castle was nationalised and the then Ministry of the Interior turned it into a women’s prison. In June 1948 the castle became one of the five Slovenian so-called houses of correction, where the imprisoned served their sentence by penal servitude (abolished in 1951). After 1966 the castle prisons were shut down.
After 1968, when it hosted the exhibition 'Slovenian deportees between World War II', the castle was gradually transformed into a museum that it is today.
Trappists in the Rajhenburg Castle
Active in the castle were the Trappists monks, who left a strong impact in the Posavje countryside, especially with the improvements in the countryside economy. Undoubtedly, the Trappists were the first to make chocolates in the Slovenian lands and so, under the wing of the project The Influence of the Trappists on the Posavje countryside, a chocolaterie has been established in the castle. www.gradrajhenburg.si
National Museum of Contemporary History
The Brestanica Museum of Political Prisoners, Internees and Deportees is a branch of the National Museum of Contemporary History. It is housed in the Rajhenburg Castle, where there is currently an exhibition illustrating the life and work of Trappist monks. In 2014 a re-modelled exhibition on the deportation of Slovenes during World War II was opened. www.muzej-nz.si
The town of Brestanica (known as Rajhenburg until 1952) is located not far from the town of Krško, in the direction towards Celje. It lies at the confluence of the Sava River and the Brestanica Stream.
The town has a rich historical past as some of the preserved historical remnants date back to as early as the prehistoric era and to the time of the Roman Empire, when the Roman road from Celeia to Neviodunum passed through the area. www.brestanica.com, Muzej novejše zgodovine Slovenije, Vodja Enote Brestanica: Irena Fürst
Capuchin monastery library
The Capuchin monastery library keeps valuable prints including the works of Tobia Lionelli (Janez Svetokriški). www.krsko.si
The Ajdovska jama cave
The Ajdovska jama cave is situated in the Karst area of the Krško hills close to Nemška vas village. In the past, the cave served as a sanctuary and a burial ground, the proof of which are the archaeological finds that list the cave amongst the most important Neolithic sites in Europe. www.visitkrsko.com
Bohorič, a Slovenian Protestant writer and educator, was born in 1520 in the vicinity of Brestanica. He is the most influential person in Slovenian Protestantism and the author of the first book on Slovenian grammar. www.visitkrsko.com