I've seen countless castles, and Predjama takes the cake for sheer awesomeness! Here is the shortlist why:
- It is built into a limestone cliff. Can you imagine how in the world that was done back in the 13th century?
- It was owned by a knight with a not-so-fortunate, if not embarrassing and satirical end (more on that below).
- It is confirmed to be haunted according to Ghost Hunters International. In a 2008 episode, the show found paranormal activity--if you believe in that kind of stuff. While it is business as usual during the day, even employees of the museum make sure to exit before sundown!
Predjama castle was the family estate of Knight Erazem, a Slovenian Robin Hood. Except, according to my guide, instead of robbing the rich to give to the poor, he would rob the rich and most often keep the money for himself. Needless to say, he was not a popular man.
For a year, Erazem was kept captive in his fortress by his enemies who planned to starve him to death since the castle had only one apparent entrance. They could not figure out how Erazem managed to get food and supplies for so long without anyone noticing. Unbeknownst to his foes, there was a secret cave network leading from the castle all the way to Postojna. Erazem came in and out of the castle as he pleased.
Things changed, however, when one of Erazem's servants was bribed to betray his master. The servant was to announce to the troops when Erazem was in the toilet which was at the upper level of the castle. With one cannonball aimed at that exact spot, Erazem died.
Erazem was buried in the village next to the church St. Mary of Sorrows. Here you will find a struggling ancient lime tree. Legend says Erazem's girlfriend planted this tree on his grave as a symbol of eternal life. Today, Slovenian people view the lime tree as a symbol of life, health, wisdom and justice.
One last claim to fame: Jackie Chan climbed the Predjama cliffs while filming Armour of God in 1986.
Between May and September, visitors are allowed inside the cave under the castle. There is no electricity in the cave, so visitors are given battery-powered lights and helmets before entering.
On the walk to and from the castle, you will pass a tournament field where knights once competed. Every July, this medieval tournament takes place as it did hundreds of years ago.
Planning a trip to Europe? Click here to find out how I can help make your vacation a unique postcard in your travel scrapbook!