Mokronog (market castle)

13th century

Market castle in Mokronog must not be mistaken for Gornji Mokronog castle (Obernassenfuß) from where also in 1137 attested knight Heinrich de Nazvoz originated, for whom its not clear it it is actually some lord of Salzburg in Bavaria. Lower Mokronog castle, owned by Krka diocese is for the first time mentioned in 1265 as castrum Nazenfuez. Because of difficult and based on existing documents necessarily hipothetical identification of individual noblemen it is not yet clear if both castles were under one dominion and had the same owners. To some extent the assumption, that the owners of both castles cannot be equaled and that the market castle was therefore the seat of the estate which was donated by Hema Breže-Selška (Hemma of Gurk) to monastery Krka in Carinthia between 1043 and 1044, is justified. Stewards from Krka - residents of the lower Mokronog castle were probably not very important during the Middle Ages because they are not mentioned in 13th and 14th century sources at all.
The castle remained in the hands of Krka diocese until the beginning of 17th century and in between it went through some stirring times. It was under attack by Jan Vitovec in 1439 and by rebelled peasants in 1515. Between 1526 and 1787 it was also a seat for provincial blood court.
In 1576 the castle was along with the dominion pawned to Janez noble Gallenberg and in 1615 Jožef noble Maherčič bout it from Krka diocese. In 1616 Krka diocese sold it to Jožef noble. Maherčič. Owner in the 17th century were from 1650 Ernest Mihael Scherer noble Schernburg, until 1674 his son in law baron Janez Daniel Kheysell followed by his widow. In 1693 Janez Gotfried Erenrajh Wintershofen has bought the castle and was inherited by count Franc Ernest Reissig two years later. The castle remained as a property of Reissig family until 1758 when it was gained by countess Marija Ana Christalnigg married Formentini. After 1789 the castle went into the hands of Marija Ana Schaefmann and then it was owned by Marija Storch noble Schaefmann from 1811 or 1822 and was followed by baron Gustav Berg from 1850 onwards. He made the last grand renovation of the castle and built the access road and remained in the family until 1902 when it went to civic hands. At that time parts of castle equipment were sold off. Castle was later bought by merchants Janez Hladnik from Brod near Dolenji Logatec and Janez Bahovec from Ljubljana; the latter became the sole owner two years later. Soon after, in 1905, castle was bought by estate-owner Mavsar from Mokronog and the several owners changed in a short period of time: from 1909 Janez Smrekar from Ljubljana, from 1912 lawyer dr.Otto Vallentschag. Between WW I it was in the hands of Hoffman from Vienna and after the war from 1931 onwards in the hands of bank manager Ladislav Pečenko from Ljubljana. He sold the castle in 1937 to Lubljanska kreditna banka ("Ljubljana Credit bank") and in 1940 it was purchased by industrialist and owner of a large estate from Mokronog Savel Kalin. In 1943 burned down castle remained in his hands until the end of the war when it was in 1945 along with the large estate nationalized.
At the occupation of Yugoslavia in april 1940 Mokronog was taken over by German units which were soon replaced by Italians. They have arranged a post inside the castle and were using it until the autumn in 1943. When Italy surrendered in september 1943, garisson moved out of the castle and Mokronog was along with a nearby castle Rakovnik on 9th of September captured by a III.battalion of Gubeč brigade. Partisans first disarmed Italian soldiers and on the same day burned down both castles.
After the war citizens of Mokronog were issued coupons for carting off the material and gradually they began to mine and forcibly demolish otherwise completely preserved outer surrounding walls. So the fairly preserved ruin at the end of the war was gradually turning into a shapeless pile of rocks. Before 1953 almost complete interior was demolished and also southern wing along with Romanesque tower and all that remained was the surrounding walls on western, eastern and northern side. And until 1960 also these walls were torn down. All that remained were foundations of surrounding walls with the exception of eastern wing where early-Gothic palatium was preserved in fragments to the original height. At the end of 1960s when all the walls were torn down and material was taken away the gradual arranging of castle slope has began. Foundations of surrounding walls were levelled and also interior of the complex was levelled. A part of eastern wall was left as a memorial. The whole was turned into some kind of auditorium in open and in 1967 a statue in favour of WW II national resistance was raised on a remains of northern wall, behind new stage.
In 1993 new government returned the neglected and decaying remains of the castle along with a part of belonging estate to the descendant of Savel Kalin, Saloma Pašić from Reka.

Tha castle which held a lot of rich equipment and beautiful Renaissance frescos was bombarded and burned down between WW II. All that remained is some of surrounding walls which still stands out along with parish church of St.Giles in veduta of Mokronog.

In the literature below ("Grajske stavbe") information about structure development can be found and also detailed description of architectural elements.

Stopar, Ivan, Dr.: "Grajske stavbe v osrednji Sloveniji - III. Dolenjska (Porečje Temenice in Mirne), Viharnik, Ljubljana, 2002, ISBN 961-6057-34-0
Kos, Dušan, Dr.: "Vitez in Grad", Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU, 2005, ISBN 961-6500-82-1
Contact details:
Municipality of Trebnje, TIC Trebnje
Phone : 07 304 47 17
Web links:
Geography of Mokronog
Where does the name Mokronog come from?
Shows and entertainment:
Presumably there are sometimes events on open in former castle courtyard between somewhat tidy ruins.
GPS coordinates:
N 45° 56.512' E 15° 8.725'


(At least) two path bring us to the ruins; on a photo an access road, hardened at the end of 19th century, is visible
Access road winds around the ruins and ends on the south side
Short footpath is leading pass remains of surrounding walls
Walls, protected by wire net
Semicircularly concluded south portal dating to 16th century was composed of big stone blocks; once a stone plate with the year 1569 (or 1595) was located above it
Edges were cut as a buckwheat seed
Stone stairs lead to the plane
Middle section of outer wall of eastern wing is almost of original height
Belfry of church of St.Giles
View of "castle" hill from southwest; view of a corner where once a Renaissance tower was located and an adjacent Romanesque keep (bergfried)
Nowadays a top of Mokronog's castle knoll is merely a grassy plane with decaying remains of surounding walls but extensiveness and imposingness of former castle can still be seen
View of church of St.Peter near which ruins of upper Mokronog castle are located
The tower is also clearly visible from the top
Fresco with hunting motif from the beginning of 16th century
C. Grefe, Mokronog castle; lithography from album Stara Kranjska (Old Carniola), 1900/01
Mokronog castle on a postcard from the beginning of 20th century; INDOK
Castle and market on copper engraving in Valvasor's Topographia, 1679
Mokronog castle in Valvasor's »The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola«, 1689
Mokronog castle on lithography in Wagner's suite of Carniola, around 1845 (detail)