Brežice, Brežice Castle
Brežice castle was built in the 16th century but gained its beautiful baroque appearance at the end of the 17th century thanks to its new owner, Count Attems. The baroque paintings are most striking in the Knights’ Hall, which is the biggest and most exquisitely painted baroque hall in Slovenia. Today, the Posavje Museum Brežice is based in the castle.
The area of present-day Brežice was settled as early as prehistoric times as the rich Celtic graves from the 2nd century BC attest. Brežice is first mentioned in 1241, by the name of Rain, which in German means “riverbed”. Slovenian »Brežice« conveys the same meaning, namely that of a settlement on the riverbanks: breg (bank) - bregci (several small river banks) – brežci (alternative spelling) – Brežice.
2014 commemorates a centenary of the Brežice water tower. Standing 46 metres tall the tower is the most recognizable attraction in Brežice. It was built in 1914 in order to supply the city with water and is a monument of the 20th century technological progress, presenting an interesting solution to flat land water supply.
The municipality of Brežice
The surrounding hills, the edge of the Gorjanci range, the lush, verdant area where the Sava and Krka rivers meet, vineyards, waters and castles – the municipality of Brežice is a place where different worlds meet. The municipality of Brežice covers an area of 268 square kilometres near the rivers Krka and Sava. As of the last public census, it has 23,253 inhabitants living in 109 settlements or 20 local communities. The municipality has an important geo-strategic location. A major road and a railway line traverse the area. An important local feature is the proximity of the national border, which accounts for one tenth of the total length of the border with Croatia, which means that two of the six border control points with Croatia are located in the Brežice municipality. The main economic activities are trade and small business. Another important activity is agriculture, with the number of people working in agriculture in the Posavje region being the second highest in Slovenia. Tourism is well developed, with more than 500,000 overnight stays every year. The main driving force of local tourism is Terme Čatež, the largest health resort and the second largest tourist centre in Slovenia, with superb congress facilities. The municipality boasts a rich culture and history. Four castles stand in its territory: Pišece, Bizeljsko, Mokrice (featuring a golf course) and Brežice (featuring a museum and the largest Great Hall with the most beautiful murals in Slovenia). The Great Hall of Brežice Castle is the venue of the internationally renowned festival of old music Seviqc Brežice, which is a welcome addition to summer events. Brežice has indeed become a cultural and educational centre. The municipality is aware that investments in human resources and knowledge are necessary for further development. In addition to two secondary schools, there is a college where graduates of the secondary school of economics can continue their studies, preparations are being made to set up a Faculty of Tourism.
Two wine roads run through the municipality: Bizeljsko-Sremič Road and the wine road running at the foot of the Gorjanci Hills. Both roads constitute a wonderful aspect of the municipality's tourist facilities, offering wines and local cuisine.
The Bizeljsko area is known for “repnice”, underground wine cellars dug into silicate sand that can only be found in this part of Slovenia. These wine cellars are one of the main tourist attractions.
The surroundings of Brežice were populated as early as in prehistoric times. This is confirmed by lavish Celtic graves from the 2nd century BC, discovered in the market area. The settlement is first mentioned in 1241 as Rein (Breg). In the 14th century it became a market town, whereas in 1345 or maybe as early as 1322 it is mentioned as a town and one of the centres of the Salzburg feudal domain. Brežice developed on a square grid of streets around a Renaissance castle. The town became an important crafts and trade centre in southeastern Styria and included a mint. In the late 15th century the town was devastated by the Hungarian ruler Matthias Corvinus, who is locally known as King Matjaž. During the Turkish raids, the town was burnt down and pillaged on several occasions. In an uprising of Slovene peasants in 1515, the old castle from the first half of the 12th century and the town were burnt. The castle was later restored and reinforced with corner defence towers and was thus the only building that survived a later attack of rebellious Slovene and Croatian peasants during the uprising of 1573 under the leadership of Matija Gubec. In modern times, the people of Brežice have mostly lived of trade and transport. A lively river port was situated on the Sava River, which was an important water route leading from the Austrian lands to the east. To this day, several large houses of rich merchant families can be found in the town. Nevertheless, Brežice was mostly an administrative and trade centre of the Lower Posavje region on the Styrian side of the Sava, and as such it competed with Krško, an equally important town on the Carniolan side of the river. To resist systematic Germanization, Slovenes established a library, a loans bank and National Centre in the late 19th century. In 1941 the German occupying forces expelled 17,259 people from the town and its surrounding area, and moved Germans from Gotschee and immigrants from Bessarabia into their homes. On 28 October 1941 the Brežice partisan unit, with the mission of preventing the expulsion of Slovenes from the area, was founded. After the Second World War, the local economy began to bloom. The most important cultural and historical monument is the castle, renovated in the Baroque style in the second half of the 17th century. The first direct record of the castle dates from 1249. The building features the Great Hall and a chapel, both with lavish murals. Today the castle houses the collections of the Posavje Museum, which is an archive of the cultural heritage of the Posavje region. The town features the parish church of Sv. Lovrenc (St. Laurence) from the 18th century and the church of Sv. Rok (St. Roch) from the 17th century. The Church of Sv. Lenart (St. Leonard) in Šentlenart was rebuilt in the 19th century and stands at the site of its 15th century predecessor. The sculptor Vladimir Stoviček (1896–1989) and painter and graphic artist Franjo Stiplovšek (1889–1963) both died in Brežice. Brežice is a municipality offering opportunities and future: opportunities can be found in the natural wealth, and the future in knowledge and cooperation.
Welcome to the Sava valley, where different worlds meet!
Posavski muzej Brežice
Cesta prvih borcev 1, 8250 Brežice
T: + 386 7 466 05 17
Mestna hiša Brežice
Cesta prvih borcev 22, 8250 Brežice
T: + 386 (0)7 49 66 995
M: + 386 (0)64 130 082