Slovenska Bistrica Castle
Since 1996 Bistrica Castle has been the seat of the Cultural Institute of Slovenska Bistrica. At the institute we deal with museum and exhibition activities, take care of the restoration and preservation of natural and cultural monuments, organize cultural and other public events, carry out educational and journalistic activities and work together with tourism agencies and other cultural organizations and individuals.
The castle, originally a farm, was mentioned in 1227 as the seat of the parish of Pohorje. Later it was the seat of the state court. The first known owners of the area where the castle is located were the Spanheims, followed by the Babenbergs. After they died out in 1261, the Czech king, Ottokar II Přemysl, acquired the property. In 1267, Habsburg rule began.
The castle was first mentioned as a castle in 1313, but it burned down in 1384. The new building had to endure numerous sieges (by the Hungaries, the Baumkirchner siege, Turkish invasions). Among the numerous administrators were the counts of Cilli. In 1587 the castle became private property. The first private owner of the castle was the Vetter family (later the family received the title "Vetter of the Lily"). Between the years 1590 and 1623 and 1651, the family decided to expand and renovate the castle. The inside of the castle has a trapezoidal layout with a courtyard and four towers and a Tuscan portico on two levels along its southern side.
Other owners of the castle were the Counts of Wildenstein. In addition to the castle, these aristocrats also set up a new French-style garden (the 200-meter-long "famous" hornbeam alley). According to this concept, nature, flowing water and sculptures are formed to fit the imagination of the designer.
The last and most important owners of the castle were the Counts of Attems. Ignac Marija Attems bought the Slovenska Bistrica Castle from Janez Jožef Wildenstein in 1717 and carried out various adaptations until 1721. A staircase was added to the west wing, and in the east wing a Knights' Hall was created by connecting two floors. All frescoes in the castle (Knights' Hall, Castle Chapel, staircase) were created by the Attems familiy's fresco painter, Franz Ignaty Flurer. These frescoes are the most comprehensive and best work by Flurer and at the same time the only signed and dated frescoes in the family's Slovenian castles. They symbolize the high baroque ideal of illusionistic space.
Because Slovenska Bistrica Castle and its garden were not properly maintained after the Second World War, when it was used as an army barracks and later as public housing, the castle fell into disrepair until 1985. Private interests and numerous renovations dealt the castle a heavy blow. In 1985 the Slovenian Ministry for the Protection of the Natural and Cultural Heritage began a systematic and professional renovation of the building and grounds . Because almost none of the former furnishings of the castle remained, at first exhibitions were held in the renovated space. In this way, the castle was filled with new life.
At present, the following permanent exhibitions and rooms can be visited at the castle:
- Frescoes by Franz Ignac Flurer (Knight's Hall, Staircase, Castle Chapel)
- Gallery Grad (changing exhibitions)
- Medieval "Tower of Grasl" (temporary exhibitions)
- Wine shop with glass jars on display
- Roman road Celeia-Poetovio
- Arkos ethnological collection
- Memorial room of the writer Anton Ingolič
- Dr. Zimmer's room Zora Janžekovič
- Exhibition about the work and life of Jože Tomažič with sn old classroom
- Minerals from the municipalities of Slovenska Bistrica, Makole and Poljčane
- Room with military banners with documents about designated persons
- Pajtler's collection of fossils and minerals
- Collection of prayer books and sacral documents
- Kerosene lamps through time
- Dolls in costumes from all over the world
- Archaeological exhibition in the castle complex of Ančnik
More information can be found here.
The castle garden was built in the second half of the 16th
century as a form of sculpted nature. The original geometric concept of the garden disappeared with time; only the central axis with a hornbeam alley could be preserved, while all other garden areas were reconstructed in the free landscape style. The garden was planted by the Counts Vetter according to French models. Later it was embellished by the Wildenstein and Attems families. It was extended to a width of 85 m and a length of 240 m. However, not even a quarter of the garden has survived to this day. The free-standing sculptures of Mercury and Hercules and breast sculptures of the four seasons from the end of the 17th
century are now housed within Slovenska Bistrica Castle. Today, a health center, a primary school, a sports hall and a new road connection are situated on land formerly occupied by the bulk of the garden.
Contact & Info
Slovenska Bistrica Castle
Grajska ulica 11
SI 2310 Slovenska Bistrica
Phone: +386 2 8055355 (Mateja Lešnik) and
+386 2 8055350 (Tajništvo)
Tuesday to Friday: 9:00am - 5:00pm,
Saturday: from 11:00am - 3:00pm
Closed on Sundays, Mondays and public holidays, except on the 8th of February for the Slovenian Cultural Holiday between 11:00am and 3:00pm!
Guided tours by appointment are also possible outside the opening hours. Contact point for guided tours:
Phone.: +386 (0) 2 805 53 56, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Slovenska Bistrica Castle