Gradac (castle)
Gradez

13th century

The name suggests some older fortification. First indirect reference to the castle is from 1326 when some seller of the smaller estate is mentioned Herbort von Graecz, ministerial of Spanheim and again later in 1344 and this time as a witness. Castle was supposedly built shortly before the year 1300 by a knight Majnhard of Turjak. First explicit mentioning is from 1393 when the castle is refered to as Grecz, schloß and according to other sources even earlier in 1338 as veste Gretz. Later, in 1466 it is mentioned as castrum Gretz, in 1476 as schloss Grecz and again in 1488 as geschloss Graecz. In 1475 the castle and the estate were both bought from last representative of lords of Gradac by main branch of lords of Turjak. After them other owners are encountered: in 1601 Jurij Lell followed by Janez Ludvik count Thurn-Valsassina and after him Oton Henrik Valsassina, Janez Baltazar Purgstall in 1629 and family Gusič in mid 17th century. First among them is Andrej noble Gusič, who was acording to Majda Smole, probably only a tenant of the estate because no real estate is mentioned in his probate inventory. But in it we can find Derimatschka, some Turk imprisoned in 1650 in Gradac.
However the ownership of Gradac was at the time the dominion was at least after 1661 owned by Gusič family who were also awners between 1763 and 1787. At the time the castle is in accompanying text to Austrian military Ordnance Survey map, marked on section 237, mentioned as noble residence with a chapel - Der Edelhof nebst einer Capelle.
Gusič family was the owner of the dominion until 1846 when it was bought by founder of Gradac iron foundry Franc knight Friedau. He was followed by some other owners and the last among them was Šutej, merchant from Zagreb in 1939. During WWII the castle was a place for VDV officer's school and even transitional hospital during the last months. Inscription plate located left to the main entrance into the castle is the reminder of those times.
After the war nationalized building became a place for school for difficult adolescents and after a place for farming and house keeping school and since 1956 it is a place for apartments. Nowadays the castle is deserted and some elements can be found in rooms (mostly calendars and posters, also furniture) from 1980s. It looks like at the time residents moved out and nobody has yet cleaned the rooms.

In 1999 Gradac castle was proclaimed as a cultural monument of national importance. In the future it is planned to make it a tourist attraction.

In the book listed in the sources a desolated but once imposing park is mentioned. Unfortunately at the time I do not yet have photos of that part of dominion.

Literature:
Stopar, Ivan, Dr.: "Grajske stavbe v osrednji Sloveniji - V. Dolenjska (Bela Krajina), Viharnik, Ljubljana, 2007 (ponatis), ISBN 978-961-6057-40-0
Contact details:
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Web links:
Grad Gradac (turisticnaagencija.com)
Propadajoči grad - Kdaj bo oživel grad Gradac? (mladina.si)
Grad Gradac (Wikipedia)
Shows and entertainment:
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GPS coordinates:
N 45° 36.877' E 15° 14.745'

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On well protected location protected by bends of Lahinja a 13th century maybe early 14th century castle Gradac is located
Front of Gradac castle, access to which is possible over the wooden bridge which proves that once a drawbridge was here
Nowadays mostly filled-in moat (canal)
Empire style entrance portal from first decades of 19th century
Wooden stairs leading us to the floor of northern wing
Chiseled pillar at the entrance to the courtyard
View from south to castle courtyard which is open from the left (west) side, because at the latest reconstruction this wing was removed
Front of castle portal is decorated with coat-of-arms of Gušič family who thoroughly reconstructed the castle in first decades of 19th century and modernized its architectural elements
Architectural elements from Renaissance era can only be found on preserved cross-crested vaults in the basement
View of western part of the castle where the whole west wing is missing; front and rear side defense turrets integrated into the curtail walls are visible
View of the castle from south
Decaying outbuilding on the east
Portal in northern wall of object
Prolonged wide outbuilding where a year 1805 is supposedly located in the apex of one of the portals
Park is located right behind outbuildings
View of eastern facade of the castle
Buttress
View from floor to castle courtyard
Most - if not all - of the rooms are deserted and scattered with old clothing; interior reminds of 1980s and a calendar from 1988 can be found on one of the walls
Plants found the way into this room
Gradac on postcard from befor WW I; »Belokranjski muzej« (Museum of Bela krajina), Metlika
Castle in Valvasor's »Skicna knjiga« (Sketch book), around 1678; Zagreb, »Metropolitanska knjižnica« (Metropolitan library)


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