Šoštanj (Pusti grad)

12th century

Šoštanj castle (german Schönstein - beautiful stone) was probably built in the second half of the 12th century which can be presumed from the architectural characteristics of the ruins (the tower) above the town. In the document of which origins date between 1993 and 1220 brothers Eberhard and Herman from Šoštanj (de Schonenst(ein)) are mentioned. We meet the same liegemen of Šentpavel in Šoštanj in 1236 as witnesses of archbishop of Salzburg, like many times before. As early as 1201 and then in the next decades Eberhardus et Hermannus de Sonensteine are mentioned as liegemen and witnesses of Ekbert, bishop of Bamberk. Because of the family ties between lords of Drava and lords of Šoštanj, when lords of Drava are free of Spanheim connections in the second half of the 12th century, Šoštanj estate becomes allodium (Kos, Vitez in grad). When knights of Šoštanj died out in 1268 (by T.Ravnikar's opinion from around 1286 on) the estate was passed over to counts of Heunburg. In 133 the knight (probably castellan) is mentioned named Pfafflina. He is mentioned once more the same year and again in 1318 (purch Schonstain), which represents the first explicit mentioning of the castle. The same year the emperor granted the to Herman of Heunburg the right to sell the castle to Dietrik Wolfsauer, bishop of Lavant, but counts of Heunburg probably soon bought it back. In 1322 when Herman of Heunburg died fortification was inherited by Friderik freiherr of Žovnek, son of Katarina, née countess of Heunburg, and pawned the fort on December 29th 1330 to lords Wlasee but only for a short period. The castle was then the property of Counts of Celje until 1456, when their family died out.
As a manager for lords of Celje in 1436 Jošt Vaist is mentioned and soon after, maybe in 1439 lords of Celje demolished the castle themselves (Counts of Celje chronicles) so the Habsburgs wouldn't take posession of it. Nevertheless castellans of Šoštanj were witnessed later as in the year 1448 Anthony Grimschitzer (from Grimšice near Bled?) and 1456 Andrej Trebniški who was defending the castle before the emperor but soon made truce with him and kept the castle in pawn. In 1459 it was bought by Krištof Narringer for 400 pounds. It is more probable that the castle was demolished by Turks in 1473. In any case in 1503 it is mentioned as an ancient fort.

An opinion exists, which states that in some historical sources (including the first mentioning) Schönstein does not represent Šoštanj castle but some other castle in Lungau in Carinthia or Stria of somewhere in Lavant (Kos).

Stopar, Ivan, Dr.: "Grajske stavbe v vzhodni Sloveniji - Med Solčavskim in Kobanskim", Viharnik, Ljubljana, 1993, ISBN /
Kos, Dušan, Dr.: "Vitez in Grad", Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU, 2005, ISBN 961-6500-82-1
Stopar, Ivan, Dr.: "Razvoj srednjeveške grajske arhitekture na slovenskem štajerskem", Slovenska matica Ljubljana, 1977
Contact details:
Web links:
Kavarna Šoštanj - History of Šoštanj (contains some old depictions)
Shows and entertainment:
GPS coordinates:
N 46° 22.575' E 15° 2.532'


Interior of the tower, which along with very high ground floor - it had a function as a sellar - had three more storeys
Romanesque light loop and stair-like shift of the wall, which serves as a bed for roof beams and at the same time defines storeys
At the most exposed side of the tower the wall is around 260cm thick
Access from the west is protected by in a bedrock carved moat which is on the west side bounded by secondary construction
Repaired eastern wall of the tower with reconstructed portal which once connected to a residential wingn; modern construction if clearly noticable
Tower, which is preserved almost to its original height, is highlighted by floodlights in dark
Humble remains of the palatium, southern wall of smaller rectangular place east from the tower
A bit higher northern wall of rectangular place, part of palatium
Remains of palatium - north-eastern walls
Junction of palatium and Romanesque tower
View from north; a light loop is preserved in the second storey
Remains of the northern defence wall few meters from tower
View of Šoštanj
Šoštanj with borough manor, ruins of old castle and Turn manor on copper angraving from Vischer's Topographia of Styria, around 1681
Šoštanj and Turn manor; colored lithography by C. Reichert, around the year 1860