Brežice Municipality - Pišece, Pišece Castle
Removed from everyday commotion and pressed against the wild forested hills, PIŠECE CASTLE sits on a high rock. In the medieval literature we come across the name ‘Bishaz’ allegedly meaning "bei der Shanz" – "at entrenchments", which may point to it being a very old fort. On the other hand, the name might originate from the wind ‘piš’ that blows down the valley all year round. The third theory has it that the name could had come from ‘pšeno’ (component of a mill), since the Gabernica supposedly had 21 mills in the scope of one kilometre.
Pišece is a larger elongated settlement, situated on the south slope of Orlica on the east border of Slovenia. The nucleus of the village is rather dense along the village road below the church of St Michael. The buildings are adapted to the steep position at the slopes. Until World War II wine trade blossomed here as shown by the large buildings that give the village its characteristic image, and so did milling. By the Gabrnica stream there were numerous mills arranged on terraces. Some buildings and parts of the tools have been preserved. A small mill near the church has been restored. In the village core an inn ("gostilna"), the old school, a shop and the blacksmith's museum can be found. One terrace higher the birth house of the linguist, professor and writer of dictionaries Maks Pleteršnik (Pišece, 13. December 1840 – 3. September 1923) is arranged as a museum. On the west side of the village the Pišece Castle is situated inside a large, partially arranged park. Its scheme originates from the Romanesque times. It was built by the Archbishops of Salzburg.
A large central tower was built, which was statically reconstructed in the beginning of the 21st century and it was given a new roof. Its construction of hewed stones with stonemasons' inscriptions testifies that it was constructed between 1200 and 1220. It reached a height of more than 36 m. The Pišece knights, mentioned in 1266, took care of it for a long time. In 1595 the castle came into the hands of the Moskon family. At that time it was given additional peripheral wings which today surround the central tower forming a ring and are connected to it by a covered gallery. The last rebuildings of the wings carry the seal of neo-Gothic design from the end of the 19th century. The Moskon family owned the castle until the end of World War II. After the war, the castle decayed, as it had no real keepers. Its fittings were taken away or destroyed. Only parts of the furnishings and remains of the decorations have been preserved. The castle is being renovated. Below the park there was a terraced garden and around it a park arranged in English landscape style and containingh numerous trees of foreign origin like sequoias, plane trees, catalpas, honey locusts, and even ginkgos. The park is freely accessible. The castle is being renovated. Visits are possible only by announcement of arrival in advance.
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!