Lemberg pri Novi Cerkvi (castle)
Lemberg, Löwenberg

13th century

Lemberg near Nova Cerkev (often refered to as Lemberg at Dobrna) is indirectly witnessed for the first time in a document from 1213 with which the duke of Austria and Styria Leopold VI. in Maribor confirmed bequests for Charterhouse in Žiče. Uschalk of Ranšperk and his bother Eberhard of Lemberg - Vlscalcus de Rauenberch et frater eius Eberhardus de Leuburch are refered as witnesses are in document and that also tells about connection between dominions Lemberg and Ranšperk. Humble ruins of Ranšperk castle are still visible nowadays and are located on a steep rocky hill in a village Rupe between Šmartno v Rožni dolini and Dobrna, south-west from Lemberg castle.
Between 1248 and 1271 the resident of the castle was ministerial of Krško Nikolaj of Lemberg (Nikolaj de Lewenberch) one of the knights from the circle of the famous Minnesinger (Minnesänger) Ulrik of Liechtenstein. In 1271 the owner of Lemberg was Hartnid from Guštanj, provincial judge in Savinja valley who renounced the castle in 1279 in benefit of Friderik of Ptuj and his sons. The pressure of lords of Ptuj was increasing and lords of Lemberg moved to Štrasberk. So the estate Lemberg was formally and actually a property of lords of Ptuj who settled there their castellans among which the first was Ditmar from Lemberg (1307). In 1380 Nikolaj Schmalzhofen is mentioned. In th 1390s lords of Ptuj combined economy administration of Lemberg and nearby Ranšperk. In years 1403/1404 and 1427 Jurij Mindorfer (1432 - Ojstrica) is mentioned as castellan of Lemberg. In 1387 bishop of Krško imparted five castles of Krško (also Lemberg) to Counts of Celje but in it never came to the real takeover. When lords of Ptuj died out they were followed by liegemen of Krško, lords of Schaunberg, who were supporters of provincial prince and thus enemies of Counts of Celje. It is written in the chronicles of Count of Celje that in 1452 count Friderik of Celje ordered to demolish castles Lemberg and Ranšperk because in his opinion they were to close to Celje, but the truth is, because the owner of Lemberg at the time, Ulrik from Schaunberg, was adviser of emperor Friderik III. Also two legends are known. According to the first count Friderik could not stand that lord of Scaunberg is looking into Friderik's dish while eating lunch and according to another he had a big golder star which shined directly into Friderik's room.

Ulrik and Albreht of Schaunberg reconstructed the castle and remained owners until 1463, when they pawned it to Štefan and Andrej Hohenwarter and in 1487 Hohenwarter family got is as feudal estate from Krško. Neža, daughter of Andrej Hohenwarter, brought the dominion as dowry into marriage with Krištof Welzer noble Eberstein and his succesor Viktor Welzer rebuilt the castle in 1584. The castle was still in family's posession in 1604 and were as owners followed by lady noble Polheim in 1610, Schrottenbachs (Ojstrica) until 1766, counts Gross until 1811, followed by Ignacij baron noble Reinisch, in 1855 family Langer and in 1904 Hubert and Ana Galle. Galle family remained as owners of the castle between both wars and afterwards the castle became a part of general public property. In the procedure of denationalisation the estate together with the castle was returned to Galle family. Even if the castle had residents a few decades ago it now holds only one resident, "lord of the castle" Mr.Koštomaj.

Schaunbergs who supposedly rebuild the castle demolished by Counts of Celje, definitely used old ground plan which is still clearly mediaeval. But the only thing that remained from the original castle are basements under the northern wing which date back to mature Gothic era. So the wing above the cellars, which is Baroque in its present form, is build on old foundations and was probably build by lords Schaunberg. In 1854 Welzer family not only built the entrance wing, as it is written on inscription plate above the entrance. They also built vaulted corridor with south wing which was once decorated with coat of arms and portraits of Welzers.
Classicistic modifications in the 19th century blurred former fortification character of the entrance wing and probably destroyed storeyed column gallery which can be seen on Vischer's depiction. In the 1970s part of the wings and towers were newly roofed.

On the fallow Tornovšče nearby Lemberg the remains of probably Romanesque exposed tower, propugnaculum, which once guarded the access from the valley to the castle, can be found.

Lords of Lemberg were known as very cruel. They liked to torture rebelled peasants and also iron maiden was located on the castle. It is probably not a coincidence that people feel negative energy when visiting the castle.

According to the last information the last owners, family Galle, sold the castle and is now in hands of Slovenian owners.

* Author of some photos (IMG*) is Matjaž Založnik.

Stopar, Ivan, Dr.: "Gradovi na Slovenskem", Cankarjeva založba, 1987, ISBN 86-361-0280-4
Stopar, Ivan, Dr.: "Grajske stavbe v vzhodni Sloveniji - Spodnja Savinjska dolina", Založna Park, Ljubljana, 1992
Kos, Dušan, Dr.: "Vitez in Grad", Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU, 2005, ISBN 961-6500-82-1
Contact details:
Rajko Koštomaj
Lemberg pri Novi Cerkvi 24
3203 Nova Cerkev

unfortunately I do not have any contact information of Galle family from Austria
Web links:
Novi Tednik: Strah pod grajskimi razvalinami ("Fear under the castle ruins")
Shows and entertainment:
Castle afternoons organised by tourist society Nova Cerkev, that are also visited by owners, Galle family from Austria.
GPS coordinates:
N 46° 19.360' E 15° 14.796'


Further down the road to Ranšperk
View from east
South-eastern roundel, equiped with cannon-loop holes and above them right under the roof with holes for fire arms
Storeyed entrance wing with semicircular portal and top semi-storey; a defence moat was once located in front of it; on the right from the portal an escape door reconstructed as a window are located
Semicircular portal, decorated with secondary rustic under which its original form is clearly visible - semicircular arc with skimmed edge
Heraldic plate above the entrance portal with the year 1584; the plate is well preserved - remains of the paint are visible so it is possible it is replica
North-eastern gothic defence tower
In the middle of the northern side a small tower (nowadays demolished) is located in which the original chapel was located; I do not know when it collapsed, but surely after 1966; I.Stopar mentions in 1992 that it was partially filled-up
View from north-east to a smaller and a little bigger rectangular defence tower
View from the west
View to a front, smaller courtyard towards entrance; though double-vaulted hallway we come to inner bigger courtyard; on the left a residential wing is located in which Mr.Lord of the castle resides
Broken in floor above the hallway between the smaller and inner courtyards; sometimes also drying room of Mr.Lord of the castle
View of a scarp protected southern part of castle courtyard, leading towards vaulted corridor
Wall paintings in the floor on the courtyard side of the northern residential wing, which are hidden beneath the roughcast; let's leave it to the time to remove the remaining roughcast and reveal the other paintings
Courtroom next to the big roundel with partially preserved wooden ceiling
Multiaxially concluded Gothic chapel (witnessed in 1751), to which we can get through the hall; painted with chinese motives, which were very popular in the 19th century
Vaulted corridor on the south side of the castle; based upon 16 elegant Toscan columns of grey sandstone
North wall of southern wing, collapsed more than 100 years ago, which gave the real meaning and function to corridor, because from here it was possible to access every part of the building
Floor of the northern residential wing with still preserved parquet
Typical method of heating, where from the outer side filled the stove without disturbing the lords
Gothic portal can also be found in the floor of the northern wing
Wooden staircase in the north-eastern Gothic defence tower leading to the first level of basement
Arched cellars in which Gothic profiled portals can be found
Stone staircase leading to the second level of basements and dungeons
Way to the darkest parts of the basement, where dungeons were located; lords of the castle were putting there criminals and rebelled peasants
Filled up basement portal from which to the right a point-arched partially broken portal is located under the turf which leads to filled up place under the circular northern tower; on a photo from 1966 this places still appear accessible
Pour-out hole in the basement
One of the many profiled Gothic portals in the basement
Groove, through which supposedly prisoners were thrown in
Demolished staircase which once connected vaulted corridor with roundel
Outbuilding, also partially cellared
Keyhole arrow-loop in the outbuilding
Remains of the fishpond below which once a bigger lake was located which was artificially damed by lords of Lemberg
Castle afternoon on Lemberg
Brick, owned by Mr.Lord of the castle and by his words very old; until now I figured out "Anton Kukovič / (X.?) A'39 / (?) Cilli" and my opinion is that the brick is dates to 1939 and was made by Anton K. in Celje
Castle Lemberg near Celje; G. M. Vischer, Topographia ducatus Stiriae, 1681; *Vischer falsely depicted gothic north-eastern tower; **D. Kos in his book "Vitez in Grad" ("Knight and a castle") incorrectly designates this depiction as Lemberg near Poljčane
C. Reichert, Lemberg castle, colored lithography from around 1860 (outtake)
Unknown painter, Lemberg castle from the north, aquarelle, middle of the 19th century; from the graphic collection of regional museum in Celje; * The chapel on the left at the road still exists today, upper building has disappeared and on the place of the lower a smaller house is located nowadays