Motnik (castle)

14th century

Motnik castle on a steep hill above the borough was in control of the main mediaeval thoroughfare between Styria and Carniola which ran from Vransko through Tuhinj valley to Kamnik. It is not coincidence that at the junction of this road and the one through Črni graben a borough and a castle have grown; the castle on a hard to access elevation with probable origins in Roman fortress. Even if the village is mentioned for the first time between 1123 and 1146, the first knight of Motnik is not mentioned until 1247 when as the witness in some impart document Konrad - Chunradus de Moetnik is mentioned. The castle which took its (Slovene) name after the village is explicitly mentioned in 1340 as vest ze Moetnik and after in 1430 as tower (turn zu Mottnikh). Konrad was followed by: Gerloh (1287-1305) and brothers Nikolaj (1330-1334), Mertel I. (1330-1341) and Jurij (1338-1340) among which the eldest was only 11 years old testifies of high mortality rate of the children at the time. Also Gerloh II. in Mertel II. are mentioned and this inactive and not numerous family died out at the beginning of the 15th century. Lords of Motnik were fron the 13th century forward stuck between the extensive estate of monastery Gornji Grad and Lords of Žovnek-Celje, which closed their options for extending their dominion. The castle and the dominion became feud of provincial prince after lords of Motnik died out, and the liegeman was Nikolaj Gall »of Motnik« in 1426 and even lords of Ptuj before him. Other feudal families followed in the 16th century. In the time of Valvasor the castle became the property of Apfaltrer's who remained the owners at least until the start of 18th century and afterwards all information about the owners and sources is lost. In 1751 or maybe 1752 the castle burned down and it was never renovated.

Among the ruins which bare witness of former castle, the most preserved is southern support wall. Northwards of ruins a parish church of St.Jurij is located which is mentioned already in 1360 (visible traces of construction dates its origins before 1450) and is nowadays reconstructed and equiped in Baroque style (internal equipment is from 19th century). Behind it a church of M.Magdalena is located. In the middle of the borough a shame stone "pillory" from 1793 is standing.

Stopar, Ivan, Dr.: "Grajske stavbe v osrednji Sloveniji - I. Gorenjska (Območje Kamnika in Kamniške Bistrice)", Viharnik, Ljubljana, 1997, ISBN 961-6057-12-X
Kos, Dušan, Dr.: "Vitez in Grad", Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU, 2005, ISBN 961-6500-82-1
Contact details:
Web links:
Kamnik - tourism - Tuhinj valley
Shows and entertainment:
The top of Grajski vrh serves as place vith a view-excursion point next to which a smaller playground for children is located. Museum collection, which owns a skeleton of a pygmean rhino, around 25 millions years old (found in Motnik mine) can be seen by prearranging at the telephone number +386 (0)1 834 80 42.
GPS coordinates:
N 46° 12.924' E 14° 53.261'


View from borough
View of northern defence walls
Western walls
According to castle ground plan (Peter Fister), these are the remains of the northern tower
Remains of southern tower
Parish church of St.Jurij vith visible preserved Gothic window
Originally wooden chapel, dedicated to St.Magdalena is supposedly Romanesque in its origins
View of eastern Tuhinj valley
J. V. Valvasor, Motnik castle