Predjamski Castle (Predjama Castle) is perched high upon a vertical cliff in south-central Slovenia, in the region of Inner Carniola. The castle was built in the mouth of a cave and first mentioned by the German name Luegg in 1274. The fortress was designed in the cave to make access difficult, as the castle was only accessible from one side. The location also allowed supplies to be moved through the secret passages of the caves, undetected. Predjamski was built in the Gothic style by the Patriarch of Aquileia and became the seat of the renowned robber baron, Knight Erazem Lueger. The castle was under siege and destroyed due to the local Robin Hood Lueger’s offenses, which had riled Austria’s king. Legends claim Lueger was betrayed by a servant and died from a single canon shot while using the vulnerable privy located at the top of the castle. The second castle was constructed by the Purgstall family in 1511 and was destroyed by an earthquake. Hans Kobenzi, an Austrian Knight, constructed the third castle in the Renaissance style in 1567. The castle remained in his family until 1810. Two more owners followed until the castle was confiscated by the state after WWII. The Yugoslav Communist authorities nationalized Predjamski Castle in 1945. It is currently a museum and open to the public.
Burg Eltz Castle is located in Münstermaifeld, Germany. This medieval castle sits high upon a rocky crag, towers over the Moselle River, and is surrounded on three sides by the Elzbach River. The castle was built along an important medieval trade route, which allowed the nobles to protect the route and collect taxes and tithes from passing merchants. Thirty-three generations of the Rübenach and Rodendorf families have lived in the castle since the 12th century, and this continues today, as Dr. Karl Graf currently owns the castle. The castle is divided into many sections, which allowed different branches of the families to make Eltz Castle their home. The Romanesque keep is the oldest part of the castle and dates to 1157. The castle was not built for defense, but as a grand rural home for German nobles. In essence, it’s three castles in one, where each family built different sections during various architectural periods. This melding of architecture makes it a hodgepodge of Medieval, Late Gothic, Baroque, and Romanesque. It has the fairytale appearance that I love. Eltz Castle is open to the public.
Blair Castle is located in the village of Blair Atholl in Perthshire, Scotland. The castle is strategically located in the Strath of Garry, making it the gatekeeper to the Grampians, and the most direct route to Inverness. John I Comyn, Lord of Badenoch, owned Blair Castle. While Lord Badenoch was fighting in the Crusades, his northern neighbor David I Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl built upon Badenoch’s land. Upon his return, Badenoch won back his land and incorporated the new tower into his own castle. Although the castle was built in the 13th century, the majority of construction was done during the 15th century. The castle was under siege twice, once by Cromwell’s army in 1652 and again in 1746 by the Jacobites. Apartments were added in the mid-18th century. The clock tower was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1814. In 1870’s, the castle was remodeled in the Scots Baronial style, and a ballroom was added. A new ballroom wing was added during further remodeling in 1885. There is a Grand Fir tree on the property, which is considered the second-tallest tree in Great Britain. The castle is open to the public.
Powis Castle is a medieval castle located in Powys, Wales. Powis castle was the fortress of a dynasty of Welsh princes in Mid-Wales. The castle was built by Welsh prince Gruffudd ap Gwenwynwyn in 1252 AD. He wished to establish his independence from the North Wales princes, who were traditional enemies. Powis Castle was built by the Welsh, unlike many of the castles in Northern Wales, which were built by the English. Gruffudd was forced into exile in 1274 and the castle was destroyed. Within three years, Gruffudd returned and rebuilt Powis Castle. With no male heir, the castle and lordship passed to an heiress, Hawise, who married Sir John Charlton from Shropshire. Descendants of Charlton held the castle for over 100 years. Again, due to the lack of a male heir, the castle passed to two daughters. In 1578, Sir Edward Herbert leased the castle and eventually purchased it in 1587. In 1644, Powis Castle was captured by Parliamentary Troops and not returned to the family until the restoration of King Charles II. The fortress is known for its remarkable State Bedroom, extensive gardens, deer park, and beauty. The castle is under the ownership of the National Trust.