Kamen pri Begunjah (castle)

13th century

Castle is mentioned in the sources from the mid-13th century even though it is supposed to be built around a century earlier. First mentioning is in 1263 as castrum Lapis, in 1350 as vest czem Stain and in 1442 as haus vnd vessten zu Stain. Already at that time ministerials of Ortenburg resided on the castle as castellans and at the time of the first mentioning four knights from Kamen are mentioned, Ulrik and Markvard, Rudiker and Majnhard Ploz (Posch?). In the 14th century between the years 1327 and 1343 as castellan Geiselher (from Begunje) is mentioned. At the time the residents, successors of Geiselher are not named only "castellans on Kamen", but they also performed as castellans for Ortenburgs on other castles (ie.Waldenberg).
After 1418 the castle was the property of lords of Celje. As stated by J.V.Valvasor (information is written in "Chronicles of Counts of Celje"), in 1428 one of the last Count of Celje, Herman III., died when he fell off his horse. Former vassals of Celje, brothers Volfgang and Friderik Seebacher, in the mean time they also became ministerials of provincial prince, sold the castle in 1459 to Kreighs and they sold it in 1469 to Jurij II. noble Lamberg, caretaker in Škofja Loka. In 1467 emperor Fiderik III. enfeoffed the castle to Friderik Jakob noble Lamberg and Lambergs remained the lords of the castle all the time until its downfall. It was still renovated in 1553 and after they payed more attention to their new, built in a valley manor Kacenštajn in Begunje. In 1763 when Kamen was already abandoned both dominions were united. In 1740 supposedly bricks from the castle were used when building a new parish church in Begunje and worked architectural elements, like columns, parts of portals etc. were supposedly used while reconstructing Kacenštajn. According to some other sources (Radicz, Alt-Krain) the castle was not abandoned until 1777.

The castle, which existed in the 12th century was composed of residential tower (solar tower) - palatium on rocky pile ad was soon accompanied with independent defence tower located much higher. From the direction of the tower, from west, once a path to the entrance of the outer castle bailey at the time. At first the palatium was also protected with a moat over which a drawbridge was layed which was later in the second half of 15th century moved to a new main entrance on the south side of the castle complex. The moat was rearranged as a basement of a new big Gothic extension. Further development was in direction of gradual combining of castle elements into a whole. In the Renaissance era, between 1549 and 1553 the castle was finally concluded which also confirms the year 1551 which is supposed to be partially preserved in the kitchen's roughcast. At the time the terain between solar and exposed tower was leveled and on a levelled ground build a new, spacious palatium with inner courtyard which was even vaulted on the west side. Here were now the most beautiful castle places and castle life was carried on here.

Still open is the question of location of the castle kitchen in the Renaissance palatium. D.Kos in his book "Turnirska knjiga Gašperja Lambergarja" ("Tournament book of Gašper Lambergar") wrote:
By the end of the middle ages the kitchen separates from living quarters and lands in the ground floor. On Kamen this happens after Renaissance reconstructions in the middle of 16th century when it is moved to a new connecting wing between old Romanesque tower and palatium. Noise from servants does not bother and also the danger of a greater conflagration is somehow removed. In this place hanging on the walls are frying pans, jugs, dishes, plates, pots, ladles. There is stewing, baking, pouring, watering, flaying, plucking, cutting, chopping. In short, this is the heart of the castle. (quoted, page 24)
If we now look at the photographs this assumed kitchen, we see, that the size of the place hardly corresponds to the kitchen which contains all things described earlier, especially if we consider that the kitchen was occupied with servants. In any case it is hard to imagine a place that small as the "heart of the castle". So the castle's kitchen had to be located somewhere else and in here is probably where the fire place to heat the adjacent room was located, as I.Stopar suggests.

Especially famous is Gašper Lambergar, tournament fighter who supposedly won 85 tournaments and is praised in folk song Pegam in Lambergar, while fighting with Vitovec.

The monument-care service began to cleanup the ruins in 1959 and in the following years some holes were walled, castle walls were reinforced, exposed tower was roofed and the whole complex was arranged for tourists.

By car you can drive directly to the front of the castle's entrance where the plate Kamen castle is located. In the castle a number of information inscriptions can be found which explain (although in some cases probably incorrectly) certain more important parts of the castle. Also important is old cave shelter in the hillside above Kamen which is mentioned in the 13th century.

Kos, Dušan, Dr.: "Vitez in Grad", Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU, 2005, ISBN 961-6500-82-1
Stopar, Ivan, Dr.: "Gradovi na Slovenskem", Cankarjeva založba, 1987, ISBN 86-361-0280-4
Stopar, Ivan, Dr.: "Grajske stavbe v osrednji Sloveniji - Gorenjska (Ob zgornjem toku Save)", Viharnik, Ljubljana, 1996, ISBN 961-6057-06-5
Contact details:
manager: Matej Resman
Begunje 101c
4275 Begunje na Gorenjskem
Web links:
Kamen castle - Castle feast (23.6.2003)
Kamen castle - panorama images (burger.si)
Shows and entertainment:
Weddings, events carried out by acting group of Knight Gašper Lambergar (mediaeval days and other mediaeval flavoured events) usualy in June, archery tournament organized by LK Viljem.
GPS coordinates:
N 46° 22.928' E 14° 13.033'


Inner ward
Reconstructed semicircular renaissance portal with skimmed edges
Three-storeys high small tower to the right from the portal with pier-storey
Semi-circular Renaissance bastion with remains of arrow-loop, from where the access to machicolation above the entrance portal was possible
Two-storey high outbuilding from 1683, where the dragon greets us through the attic window
Castle guardian
Doors from the time of the outbuilding origins with 365 žreblji; behind them the remains of the mill are located
Remains of garden terraces, where some smaller buildings were constructed in the new era
Pass the Renaissance bastion, which holds on to the gothic walls, the path leads us to newer entrance portal
Reconstructed passage with reconstructed portal of late-Gothic shape with groove for drawbridge, which redirects us from the inner ward to the bailey
Bailey, once surrounded with castle buildings of which Valvasor's copper engravings are witnesses
Romanesque palatium, which has grown on the edge of the rocky ridge; behind a steep rise of western edge of Dobrča
Wooden bridge, connecting bailey and outer ward (zwinger), located above 6 meters wide and 3 meters deep inner moat
Stone console on which a drawbridge was once leaning
Entrance to the inner part of the palatium
Cellar? - remains of the stairs leading down are visible
Inside of the palatium, where in the corners of the walls wide grooves have preserved, which prove the existence of wooden wainscots in Romanesque era
Romanesque loophole in the eastern wall of the palatium
Nicely visible inner structure of Romanesque construction
Renaissance palatium with bergfried in the background; M.vrh (988m) rises behind
Servant's room on the left in the ground floor of the palatium
Middle place under the palatium for which some claim, that this was the kitchen, but it's more logical to me that this was a fire place for the stove in the servant's room
Chapel of St.Valentin (demolished 10/03/1601) where we can find also wall niches used for storing numerous relics; it is the opinion of some people that urn tombs were located here; but a tomb is mentioned in the chapel but was probably located east at the chapel
Built-in closet with hidden passage - only 10cm thick wall, which could be in the case of a danger quickly broken and run out
Staircase to the first floor
At the landing at the end of the stairs into the second floor a garderobe, leaning on stone consoles was located outside
Outer ward at the bergfried in the level of upper courtyard
Outer ward, right
Reconstructed portal to the bergfried
Bergfried, still Romanesque in the base but superstructured in the Renaissance era; originally for a storey or two higher
From the castle towards north a view extends to the tops of Begunjščica mountains at the edge of Kamnik-Savinja Alps with its highest peak Veliki vrh (2060m)
Kamen castle around 1930, author of photo is Egon Planinšek
Ruins of Kamen on postcard from the beginning of the 20th century
L. Benesch, view to a castle from rear; ink drawing, 1887, Ljubljana, Narodni muzej
J. Stratil, Kamen castle on dominion chart, Begunje hospital
J. V. Valvasor - A. Trost, Kamen castle from the front side
J. V. Valvasor - A. Trost, Kamen casle from the rear side
J. V. Valvasor - Kamen