Everyone who visits Postojna Cave should visit the Predjama Castle (Predjamski grad) meaning the castle in front of the cave. There are castles and there are castles, if you know what I mean. Some castles are magnificent and boringly beautiful. Predjama Castle on the other hand gets more fascinating with every step you make in there. Just seeing it up front is enough to leave you breathless and frankly, if you are ever in the area for whatever reason and you don”t have time or money to spend, I’d suggest to go there and just take it all in from the outside.
Views are breathtaking wherever you look. You can admire how the castle is built into that 123 m high, overhanging, limestone cliff and try to figure out how on earth it was done so perfectly. From the inside some windows have sunshine, but some always have ‘rain’ dripping from the cliff hanging above it.
You will have to climb numerous steep stairs and wait on the top for those cute Italian pensioners to climb the stairs one by one, because some stairs are only wide enough for one person. The interior reminded me of those lofts that are so modern today…not so practical, but full of that ‘something’. The way the building is incorporated into the cliff is awesome (I just had to use this word at least once in this text). The whole thing is as incredible as the story(s) behind it.
Predjama castle is a renaissance castle and it was a family estate of Knight Erazem, none less than Slovenian Robin Hood, the robber baron. According to the legend Erazem ended up in Predjama when he fled from the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III, after killing Marshall Pappencheim. He apparently found an ally in the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus and began to attack Habsburg estates. But back to the castle and it’s story: for a year and a day Erazem was kept ‘captive’ in his fortress, and his enemies – who had planned to starve him to death – could just not figure out how he managed to get food and supplies without them noticing. What they didn’t know was that there was a secret passage, a natural shaft leading from the castle all the way to Postojna. Erazem had the passage enlarged, and it made it possible for him to come in and out of the castle as he pleased. I am wandering ever since we were there, why didn’t he run away? He should have, because it was only a question of time when someone of his servants would betray him…somehow it always happens, right? He went with a bang, hit by a cannonball while taking a dump! What an ending! Entrance to Erazem’s Tunnel is possible even today (though not in winter, when the colony of bats living there is taking their well deserved hibernation) for the fit and the brave.
But people lived here long before count Erazem. Over 1000 year ago they lived in the cave, and the castle part was gradually built in front of it. Not everything you see there is rosy and romantic. There are actually presumptions this castle is haunted, and while during the day everything is business as usual, nobody likes to be there at night.
In 2008 Ghost Hunters International investigated the castle for paranormal activity, and the found that YES, THE CASTLE IS HAUNTED! It is quite impressive see their reaction when the see the castle for the first time. Watch the video:
Oh, and Jackie Chan walked these cliffs too while filming his Armour of God in 1986. Just saying.
I swear you will be under the spell of this castle one way or another. After viewing the castle, walking those halls, seeing the dungeons, the chapel, their kitchens and living-room furnishings you get an insight of how people once lived, good and bad.
On your way to the car turn arund a catch a glimpse of the tournament field, where knights used to compete and possibly win some beautiful lady’s heart. The revival of this medieval tournament happens every year in July, and Predjama once again looks as it used to hundreds of years ago. Tourists mingle with knights and their ladies and top chefs are there to prepare a real medieval feast.
If you walk around the village next to the church of St Marry of Sorrows where Erazem was buried you will find an enormous lime tree trunk struggling for it’s life. The legend says Erazem’s girlfriend planted this tree on his grave as a symbol of eternal life, which is what lime tree is for Slovenian people – symbol of life, health, wisdom and justice.
Most people visit Predjama as their side trip after visiting Postojna. As for me, Predjama was the THE ONE. So unique, mysterious and…well, perfect!