Stopnik (Beli grad (White castle), Hekenberk)

14th century

The name of Stopnik castle origins from the word Heckenbergfestungen, meaning shrubbery, hedge, which was used for defence of lordship estates. Firn indirect mentioning of the castle can be traced back to 1188 when ministerial of Kunšperk is mentioned, knight of Stopnik Wulfinch de Hekinberch and after him in 1232 Eberardum de Heckenberch. In 1322 Friderik of Kunšperk sold the fortress along with Velenje to his uncles Herdegn and Friderik of Ptuj. At the time the castle is explicitly mentioned as vest Hechenberg. Lord of Kunšperk did ensure right of preemption for himself but did not put it into effect. So Stopnik remained in the hands of lords of Ptuj until 1438. In 1441 its owners were Stubenbergs but the next year Neža of Štubenberg sold it with all accessories to Friderik of Celje for the sum of 1300 Pounds. Tha castle is at the time mentioned as (free land) vest Heckhenberg and the next year as tower. When Counts of Celje died out the dominion became the property of provincial prince and was leased by Hans Safner. His widow Jedrt renounced it in benefit of Hans Golienz and Hans Egkelheimer, caretakers of her children. In 1487 traveller Santonino talks of nut one but two castles of Stopnik - bine acres denominate Echemburg.
In 1493 supposedly tLasla prager got the castle, but was »supplanted« by Andrej Limbarski. In 1542 Jošt Limbarski valued it by writing »My house Stopnik, which does not have nor castle associated jurisdiction nor court-of-law, 300 Pounds«. Jošt's heir was Sholastika, daughter of Ivan Kacijanar and wife of Ulrik noble Eitzing. Sholastika sold the castle in 1554 to Pankracij Schrottenbach. In 1635 when it was attacked and robbed by revolted peasants, it was the property of Feliks baron noble Schrottenbach and remained in their family until 1794, when it was bought by Simon Alexander. He is followed by owner without noble rank. Most likely the castle was abolished around 1800 and after it began to ruin.

Nowadays castle core is totally filled up and not evident event in its basic lines. More or less we cam follow peripheral Renaissance fortifications, defence wall with five towers. Renaissance defence system is most noticeable in its south part, where southern circular tower is preserved in its original height. To this tower which is the only one visible from far away, a local resident Mr. Stanislav added a smaller residential building. He roofed the tower with his own finances because he would like to preserve it as a veduta. There are no residential quarters arranged inside the tower. On a preserved southern Renaissance defence walls a stable is leaning (it could supposedly stand alone because of its own foundations). The owner's effort is to get financial support which he would use to secure cultural heritage and stop its further decay.

How to acces the castle? On the main road Vransko-Celje (next to highway exit) diverge at the sign Stopnik. Continue to the left after underpass and then follow macadam road to the hill-edge where the road will soon turn towards east and a few hundred meters ahead it turns south-east towards the hill-edge of Stopnik.

Stopar, Ivan, Dr.: "Grajske stavbe v vzhodni Sloveniji - Spodnja Savinjska dolina", Založna Park, Ljubljana, 1992
Contact details:
Stanislav Podbregar
Stopnik 19
3305 Stopnik
Tel.: +386 (0)3 572 50 49
Web links:
Stopnik near Vransko
Shows and entertainment:
GPS coordinates:
N 46° 15.496' E 15° 58.473'


View to a castle from south, from the place where once Meierhof was located
Stopnik hill an the edges of Dobrovlje; once it was completely rocky
Defence wall of the palatium on the south side, which turns semicircularly around the hill
Defence wall on the north-west of the crest; maybe a tower was located on this place
View from south-western direction to a ruined western tower, defence walls on which a stable is leaning and a south tower which is preserved in its original height
Top of the western tower, filled on the inside
On southern defence tower visible traces of eastern wall which was here broken through for about two meters in length
Portal in the floor was subsequently put together; in its right corner maybe a carved sign
Traces of southern wall of inner part of a castle, probably palatium
South-eastern wall of palatium
South-eastern wall of palatium
Part of defence wall at south-eastern tower
Remains of eastern defence walls
Inside of the tower a stairlike shift of the wall is visible, which defines a storey
Inside of the tower
South-eastern tower
South-eastern wall of the palatium
Only visible existing construction on the top of the hill, maybe the wall of bergfried
Below at the hill-side supposedly eastern defence tower was located
Palatium on the top of the hill is collapsed into itself
Souther hill-side of the castle ruins, covered with leaves and tree-roots
Remains of southern defence wall ot the residential house
Brick stone
PView to a western hill-side of ruins with the remains of the walls
Remains of the western defence walls
Western defence walls and the western tower
G. M. Vischer, Stopnik castle near Vransko; copper engraving from Knjiga gradov (»Book of castles«), around 1681 (outtake); imposing bergfried and roofed Renaissance defence wall, of corners reinforced with circular towers
C. Reichert, Stopnik manor with ruins of the castle with the same name in the background; colored lithography from around 1860 (outtake)