Soteska (Stara Soteska castle)

12th century

Stara Soteska is one of the modest Slovenian castles. It is mentioned for the first time in 1313 as Vest ze Ainöd even if Valvasor reports that it was owned by Rudolf and Ulrik of Soteska already in 1231. Because of its characteristic romanesque construction its origins are placed in 2nd half of 12th century. Many times it was named only as Ayned, in 1444 as haws an der Aynod or hauss in der Aynod while the markings turren, der höch öder turren cannot be accounted as the markings for the castle. It could only be an exposed tower, propugnaculum, connected to an old fortification by some way.
Historians believe, that the castle was originaly in posession of ministerials lords of Črnomalj, followed by dukes of Carinthia and after 1277 in posession of counts of Gorica. In 1326 the first documented resident of the castle, vassal from Gorica Herman of Soteska is testified, brother of Herman of Črnomalj. He was followed by his heirs until the widow of Erazem of Soteska left in 1444 the dominion along with the house, deserted tower and everything else to the nobles from Širje. Historian Anton Kaspret believes that the knights of Širje acquired the castle in 1448 by marriage.
The castle was supposedly destroyed by Herman II. of Celje when fighting with Habsburgs, and Gašper's son Jurij-Jörg after that constructed a new castele building on the other side of river Krka, fortified with towers and defence wall. On the same place a manor was built later with a big park and the ruins of the manor are still visible today. The castle was supposedly abandoned in 1506.

Valvasor has written that Soteska castle was once surrounded by triple defence wall and wreath of towers. It had prisons hewed in the rock, where Turks were held. Turks also gave a special name to the castle - Green castle.
The original ground plan of the castle indicates on rectangle with round edges build castle plan with 1,5 meters thick walls, which had an effect of a tower from far and on the south-east corner a younger circular or semicircular small tower was leaning on it, according to Valvasor's veduta. Defence walls of the castle was with crenelations on the top, but recognizable window or other openings in the firm house - solar, which would enable more precise identification of the oldest castle remains are unfortunately not preserved. The time when the round tower was added cannot be determined because there aren't any remains left of it. Also no remains can be found of inner defenca wreath but the remains of very irregular outer, with defence wall and two towers protected pound, can be made out in the ground. The outer defence ring in this form was probably not built until the time of couter-Turkish fights in the 2nd half of the 15th century. It was built on the most open and hence exposed eastern side of the castle, whilst the fore-side (south) of romanesque design was from the start protected by approximately 10 meters wide and rather deep moat, which is pretty much filled-up today.

Author of the photographs of Stara Soteska is Renee G.

Stopar, Ivan, Dr.: "Grajske stavbe v osrednji Sloveniji (I. Dolenjska) - Porečje Krke", Založba Viharnik, Ljubljana, 2000, ISBN 961-6057-26-X
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GPS coordinates:
N 45° 46.840' E 15° 0.667'


All of the north-eastern part of the castle, which was build on precipicous pier above Krka river, which fell down into the deeps a long time ago
Part of the defence wall, which still reaches height up to the second floor
Southern wall; typical romanesque structure of the wall can be recognized
Stara Soteska on copper engraving in Valvasor's Topografija from 1679
Kurz zum Thurn u. Goldenstein, Stara Soteska; gouache, around 1860, Ljubljana, Narodni muzej (National museum)