Soteska (manor)

17th century

The original owners of the manor and the dominion tied with the manor were lords of Širce - the first among them, Gašper, got the castle in arounf 1448 as a marriage portion by marrying Margareta, the daughter of the last provincial prince's ministerial of Soteska from the line of noble lords of Soteska. In 1458 the estate was inherited by his son Jurij - Jörg and then in 1506 by sons Gašper and Erazem. Lords of Širce remained the owners throughout the 16th century and at the time they also made themselves valued supporters of Protestantism. In 1628 when Jurij Erazem became the owner of the dominion, which was comprised of a manor, a mill, bridge toll, road toll, 4 farmsteads, 12 subjects and 51 farms with woods and meadows. In the same year Jurij Erazem was forced to leave the country because as a determined Protestant he did not want to denounce his religion. He died in county Durlach in 1631.
When the last male representative of lords of Širce died in 1637 the estate was taken over by noble Felicita of Širce and brought as a dowry into a marriage with Adam of Gallenberg. After her death Gallenbergs took over the name Lords of Soteska. They enlarged the manor in the years 1664 to 1697 and beautified it so much that it was known as one of the most remarkable castle buildings in Carniola. Counts of Soteska were as owners followed by Auerspergs who were in possession of the manor until the World War II. Edvard Kocbek, member of executive committee of OF ("Liberation Front") reports in his diary that the last owner Karlo Auersperg moved out of the manor in 1942 and left it to italian army. on October 22nd 1943 around midnight Slovenian Liberation Front burned down the manor. Supposedly all the artworks were prior removed from the manor and hidden. Republican institution tried to renovate the manor after the liberation and stop the locals to use it as a quarry but due to "force majeure" had to stop the renovation works. A part of the manor was then renovated in the 1960s.

Only old written records tell about Soteska nowadays and among them the excellent place belongs to Valvasor's (Die Ehre XI, p. 12 ss). With the detailed description of the manor, its rooms enriched with artworks and bipartite courtyard he also described flower house, fruit garden, stables, mill, bridge over Krka river etc. His description is perfectly supplemented by Anton Kaspret 200 years later. He describes architectural characteristics of the manor and its interior in detail: appartements of provincial prince's foresters offices of the dominion and registry office, where the archives are kept, are in the first floor. In the second floor of the southern wing we find appartements, composed of eight central rooms with appurtenant side rooms. The beautiful and eminent dining room stands out and it is ornamented with coffered ceiling. Old oil paintings with historic Biblical scenes are hanging on the walls etc. Kaspret also tell about the reconstruction of the manor in 1855 and the renovation of castle's chapel in 1870.
The last thorough study of Soteska was done by Ivan Komelj at the time after th World War II when the manor was already burned and so deprived of numerous artworks. Komelj mostly describes the entrance tower with coat-of-arms, courtyard, staircases, vaulted corridors, frescos, heraldic plates etc. Mediaeval core of the Soteska, which was sequentially built until 1689, is recognized by Komelj by gothic-shaped architectural elements inside of the western wing.

A smaller garden is located in the southern half east from the manor - a green plot with a former well and further across the road a castle's park with pavilion named Hudičev turn ("Devil's tower"). Andreas Trost, who drew veduta of Soteska for Valvasor's Topographia in 1679, placed a park south next to the manor. Ivan Stopar states that the author of veduta engraved only a draft of the future park which was never realised due to wrong estimation of a space. It was realised in another place and in another way, a little to the east. A mere view of the terrain convinces that south from manor there is not enough space for a big park, and Krka river could not have a change of riverbed because of the hill on the other side of the river.
We also must realize that authors of many vedutas have drawn some elements totally wrong. This was probably because they wanted to include as many elements as they could and a picture was not anymore in proportion with the actual arrangement of terrain.

In tight connection with the owners of the castle and the manor Soteska is also a church of St.Erazem, first time indirectly mentioned in 1396 and a head of a parish from 1617. Present building is from around 1664. It has quality altair equipment from the 18th century and Goldenstein's paintings of the quire from 1856.

Stopar, Ivan, Dr.: "Grajske stavbe v osrednji Sloveniji (II. Dolenjska) - Porečje Krke", Založba Viharnik, Ljubljana, 2000, ISBN 961-6057-26-X
Kompas Novo mesto - Soteska
Contact details:
Municipality of Dolenjske Toplice
Zdraviliški trg 8
8350 Dolenjske Toplice
Telephone: ++386 7 38 45 188
Telefax: ++386 7 38 45 189
Web page:
Web links:
Kompas Novo mesto - Soteska
Shows and entertainment:
Summer events in Turn; nearby a church of St.Erazem and a viewable storehouse of Technical museum of Slovenia, which is in the summertime open every sunday from 14.00 to 19.00. Guided tour of Hudičev turn and exhibition depots of Technical museum of Slovenia if only available by previous arrangement on Municipality of Dolenjske toplice, tel.: +386 (0)7 384-5191.
GPS coordinates:
N 45° 46.807' E 15° 1.149'


First outbuilding (east from the manor); depicted already on Valvasor's veduta but no information about it can be found
Second outbuilding (also on the east, closer to the manor)
Eastern wall with eastern tower
Northern wall of the manor (panoramic view)
Western wall
Eastern wing from the inside
Outer wall of southern wing
Remains of the green plot next to the manor
Well at the junction of the paths in the middle of the green plot
Entrance tower; above portal a coat-of-arms of Gallenbergs and Schrottenbachs was located after the WW II, chiseled from white marble stone and an inscription plate with the year 1675
Right above main entrance a castle chapel dedicated to St.Jurij was located, with a picture of Mary's coronation in the altair
Inside of the south-eastern tower with the roof
Overgrown insides of the manor; once split to courtyard and garden halves
Not long ago this Baroque building leaned on a wall was used by local residents as a stable (author of photos is Renee G.)
In the middle between the courtyard and the garden a birdhouse was once located; later the entire inner ward was rearranged as a castle courtyard
Portal into castle park located east from the manor
Hudičev turn ("Devil's tower"), build on a ground plan in a shape of four-leaved clover with secondary placed rustic portal; in the inside it is richly painted - work of artist Almanach, who also painted famous "Celje Ceiling"
Wide park with pavilion surrounded by low wall on three sides
Valvasor, Slava Vojvodine Kranjske, 1689
Soteska manor, Andreas Trost - Valvasor's Topographia from 1679
Carl Postl - Soteska manor; from the albums of Auersperg's estates; Novo mesto, Library of Miran Jarc
Soteska manor, postcard from before the war, INDOK