Ptuj (castle)

12th century

With Ptuj castle we are dealing with one of rare medi-eval castles where Antiquity firtification continuity is attested. Even more, at the location old-Slav burial place was found. First explicit mentioning is from between years 1131 - 1147 when some chronicler mentions fortifications built by archbishop Konrad. Among others Konrad newly built early-medieval or even Anique castle - fortification in Ptuj (Bethowe antiguum extitit castrum, sed dirutum multis temporibus, atque ab illo, sicut hodie cernitur, reedificatum est.). Next time the castle is mentioned is in 1235 when knight of Ptuj, Herman is mentioned (dominus Hermannus miles de Betov in castro domini Hermanni). Few other mentionings in some way related to Ptuj are from the same century. In 1247 »small« castle is mentioned (castrum minus) which means that also »big« castle had to exist (»castrum maius«). Again in 1260 castle is mentioned and castellan's fee (pro custodia castri) and its amount was 200 marks. In anonymous chronicles from around 1376 two castles of Ptuj are mentioned (beide burg und stet). In 1433 castle lords Hartnid and Friderik mentions Salzburg feudal estates in Ptuj, castle, castle tower and everything on castle hill and 12 guard posts around it. Last medi-eval mentioning of Ptuj castle from 1487 is found in journal of Paolo Santonino, companion of visitor from Aquilea. Castle is here designated as strong and unvanquishable.
Ptuj castle was in middle ages very important as a center of feudal estate of Salzburg church in Podravje and also as of worthy of lords of Ptuj and castle's strategic position. This is confirmed even by a small information that Ptuj castle was along with Stubenberg and Wildon the only castle in contemporary Styria Which was obligated to ensure country defence of 200 armed men.

Lords of Ptuj are feudal owners of Salzburg's castle of Ptuj. First among them, Friderik I - Friderich de Bethowe, is as witness of archbishop of Salzburg Konrad I. in Breže mentioned already in 1137 (until 1161). In 1161 (mentioned until 1178) is for the first time mentioned Friderik II. - Friderich de Pettove and third Friderik is mentioned for the first time in 1180 (until 1220) - Friderich puer de Petowe. Lords of Ptuj who died out in 1438 are succeeded by count Johan noble Schaunberg. In 1479 the dominion was seized by Hungarians, allies of Salzburg against the emperor and in 1490 it was seized by emperor Maksimiljan who pawned the dominion in 1511 to archbishop. In 1555 the castle was back in provincial prince's property and next year massive renewal works started on the castle. At the tine of renewal wellknown entrance portal was constructed, work of italian architect Baldassare Peruzzi. Also other reports of Renaissance reconstructions on the castle are preserved which also among other witness of construction of supporting wall where the hill collapses. In 1622 provincial prince sold the castle to lords of Eggenberg and through familial ties became a property of lords of Tannhausen in 1634 and the last of the family, jesuit Ignac, sold the castle to his order in 1642. When the Jesuit order found itself in financial difficulties the castle was sold in 1656 to general Walther Lesli baron the noble Balquhane, Scotsman by birth, for sum of 62000 fl. He thoroughly reconstructed the castle. His descendants owned the castle until 1802 when it became a property of their relatives Dietrichsteins who remained as owners until 1864. After various inheritance complications widowed countess Terezija noble Herberstein, first born of last prince of Dietrichstein, bought the castle in 1873 for the amount of 147000 fl. The castle was in possession of Herberstein family until the end of World War II. Nowadays cultural-historical collection of Regional Museum Ptuj found its place in the castle. In 1999 the castle was pronounced as cultural monument of national importance.

At this point I will state latest findings about castle complex and some explanations forwarded to me by Mr.Mitja V.
On the east part of the hill, on the castle, where stables are, foundations of Romanesque tower were discovered, so western tower had its counterweight on the east before 17th century when present Leslie tower was built. In casemates (some of them are still unaccessible) a Romanesque portal was discovered or assumption was confirmed where until 1657 main entrance to inner courtyard was located. Northern tower was also used as prison tower but only after old bergfried was torn down. Prison cells are still preserved in it.
Regarding findings on west plateau existence of temple of "Jupiter" is assumed (because of discovery of relief with depiction of Jupiter at the plateau). Definitely a late-Antiquity fortification was located here of which foundations are visible. Regarding assumption of a church, some apsis(?) was found here, but archaeologists do not wish to confirm nor deny its existence. Also discovered is early-medieval building for which it is assumed to be old-Slav temple. So called "tournament" for which no historical records exists that tournaments actually took place here probably got its name because of its appearance. In the middle-ages inner-ward was located here and a Baroque park in Baroque era. As much as 426 old-Slav graves was found here, some also from Roman era (probably soldiers). Most interesting among them is grave no.355 as it contained artifacts of gold. In view of the finds and historical events from known sources this skeleton was determined to be the wife of Slovene prince Kocelj. Very special finding in this grave was a large golden male ring - Ring of St.Methodius. In 2006 a guide to Ptuj castle: "Museum collections on Ptuj castle" was issued (2006).

Stopar, Ivan, Dr.: "Grajske stavbe v vzhodni Sloveniji - I. knjiga (Območje Maribora in Ptuja)", Partizanska knjiga in drugi, Ljubljana, 1990, ISBN /
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
Contact details:
Pokrajinski grad Ptuj
Muzejski trg 1
2250 Ptuj
Tel. : ++386 2 787 92 30
Tel. 2 : ++386 2 748 03 50
Fax : ++386 2 787 77 00
E-mail :
Web links:
Ptuj castle (
Ptuj castle (
Shows and entertainment:
Gallery from Gothic era to 19th century, cultural-historical collection, collection od old musical instruments, Knight's hall. Guided tours by prior arrangement in Slovene, English and German language.

For opening hours see:
GPS coordinates:
N 46° 25.257' E 15° 52.080'


Picturesque narrow street leading towards the castle from south
Walled Gothic portal?
Footpath from the south leads to the entrance with Karl's door
Coat-of-arms is embedded above the entrance
Near south entrance a group of buildings is located inside defence walls
Picturesque southern facade of south-east wing in which in 1987 7 walled, semircularly concluded Romanesque windows with chisled frames were open
South-eastern wing of palatium is based on Romanesque building
Famous Peruzzi portal - masterpiece of Italian architect from 1570; on younger armorial panel in the forefront a coat-of-arms of later owners of castle Leslies
View of portal from inside
Northern entrance to southern inner ward is located near Peruzzi's portal
Baroque (in older literature is referred to as Renaissance) defence wall which encloses inner courtyard from east
View of north entrance portal and northern wall of east auxiliary wing
Central casle building is imposing, two-storeyed, horseshoe-shaped palatium which is on its courtyard side equiped with Renaissance arcade corridors
View of north wing from courtyard
Castle well is 54 meters deep and is in its origins still Romanesque
Spiral staircase located in north-west corner of palatium are leading to the attic (one other spiral staircase is also located in palatium)
Ground floor of south-eastern wing is arranged into museum of weaponry and battle equipment
Halberds from 16th and 17th century
Replication of etched Milan armor (some parts of armors are original
Last in the lineage of lords of Ptuj, Friderik IX. died in 1438; his tombstone from red Salzburg marble is embedded in ground floor of south-eastern wing to where it was transferred from devastated Dominican church
Museum places
While visiting museum in first floor we'll pass through Gothic portal without skimmed edges
Places in ground floor of museum present musical instruments from renaissance and Baroque
Picturesque Baroque (in older literature referred to as Renaissance) piers on east side of defence wall tour; guard house is attached on the left
Northern facade of palatium
Late-Gothic bastion, isolated from castle core
Imposing building of multi-storeyed Baroque granary
Western inner-ward is in its present form manmade plain, so called »tournament place« ; right next to the tower we can find remains of old basilica in the ground
Western tower of castle plateau dates to 11th century but we have to allow the possibility that it is older (older literature dates it to pre-Romanesque era); right to the present day entrance a walled Romanesque portal can be seen, consisting of a imposing stone blocks
View of palatium from west
Defence wall with rectangular turret and circular bastion is located on south
View towards east of a narrow walled in courtyard with low, very prolongated outbuilding which is at the end concluded with guard tower
Iside of auxiliary wing
View from castle towards south-eastern part of Ptuj
G. M. Vischer, Ptuj castle, copper engraving from around 1681
Runk-Ziegler, Ptuj town; detail from colored copper engraving, which was around 1802 published by Stöckl, publisher from Wiena; from collection of vedutas of Styria's provincial archive in Graz
J. Kuwasseg, view of Ptuj with castle on the hill behind medi-eval settlement, colored lithography from around 1845, detail (private collection, Graz)