Predjama Castle, locally known as Predjama Grad, lies in the village with the same name, north west of the town of Postojna in Slovenia.
Predjama Castle was probably built in the 12th century but was first mentioned in the second half of the 13th century. It was built in an area that was controlled by the town of Aquilea but was contested by the Counts of Gorizia. In those times the castle was called Jama Castle (Jama translates to cave).
In 1350 the castle was taken by Austrian dukes. In 1398 Aquilean troops sieged and set fire to the castle. Later on knights from the East-Tyrolean city of Lienz became owners of the castle, which they called Luegg Castle. So they called themselves Lords of Lienz and Luegg.
In 1478 the castle became the property of the knight Erazem. He was probably the most famous inhabitant of Predjama Castle. In 1483 he killed a marshall Pappenheim at the Vienna court during an argument. This marshall was however a relative of the Austrian Emperor so Erazem fled to his castle to escape punishment. The castle was then sieged on the Emperors orders by Gaspar Ravbar, Lord of Triest. Ravbar tried to starve Erazem to death but was surprised to notice that Erasmus seemed to have an unlimited supply of fresh food. Finally Erasmus was killed by a cannonball. Later it became known that Erasmus had gotten his food through a secret passage through the caves.
In 1567 the castle was bought by Hans Kobenzl, an Austrian knight from Kärnten. He rebuilt and enlarged the castle and it is mostly the result of this building campaign that we see today. His descendants remained owners of the castle until 1810. And because this important noble family mostly resided in Austria the castle was kept in good shape but escaped further large rebuilding campaigns. Two more owners followed until the castle was confiscated by the state after World War II.
Predjama castle is located in the middle of a 123 m high, overhanging, limestone cliff, in the entrance of a cave. Beneath the castle the Lovka stream runs into another cave. There is also a smaller cave which was used as horse stables. This cave gives access to the underground cave system which can be visited but only in small groups led by a guide with the use of special gear that can be rented there. We did this and it was fantastic. Truly recommended! Also the interior of the castle can be visited for a small fee and is really interesting, because you get to see how well the castle was adapted to the cave and the rock face.