Vipavski Križ (castle)

16th century

Vipavski Križ, formerly Sv.Križ ("St.Cross") is as a settlement mentioned for the first time in 1030 because of the at the time existing church of St.Cross. The hill on which the village is located was already populated before the Roman era. In 1482 the settlement was reinforced by a surrounding defence wall because of the threatening Turkish invasion. The castle explicitly is for the first time mentioned in 1535 but somewhere we can find the information that it was built already at the end of the 15th century together with defence walls - reinforced Tabor.
Further reinforcing of the settlement was accelerated by the wars between Habsburgs and Venetians. Habsburgs who succeeded counts of Gorica pawned the castle to Count Vitto della Torre, the son of the first count of St.Cross Ivan Feb. Vito's son Franc, with german nickname count Thurn from St.Cross, then, when he became regional leader of Goriška, in 1547 sold the dominion to his relative Ahac from Pliberk's branch of counts Thurn. In 1589 the castle once again becomes the property of Torres - Thurns of St.Cross and they sold it to counts Attems in 1605 which remained the owners in the following centuries. When the Vipava valley was occupied by French in 1809 the Attems' left the Cross for a while and later returned. Soon after they returned they started to sell their estates. The last lord of the castle Karel Nikolaj Attems abandoned the building in 1842, when he moved to Furlanija. In 1885 only about one sixth was bought by school pledge - fund and reconstructed it to a school which is still active.

The castle of St.Cross was built by Italian models which take their motives directly from antique tradition. It is designed as low, symmetrical Renaissance small castle with four single-storey residential wings and four immense circular towers - roundels in the corners, which do not exceed the height of the remaining buildings. Such formally clean and in proportions symmetrical Renaissance castle building cannot be found anywhere else in Slovenia. The castle which from the outside, because of its massive towers - around two meters thick in the ground floor, shows an image of typical fortification but when entering the courtyard it look like the manor because the wings with their arrangement and characteristics of their windows and other openings do not have fortification characteristics; on the contrary, everything speaks of comfort and luxury of life of its former residents.

Stopar, Ivan, Dr.: "Gradovi na Slovenskem", Cankarjeva založba, 1987,ISBN 86-361-0280-4
Contact details:
Vipavski Križ
Vipavski križ 1b<> 5270 Ajdovščina
president of : Peter JEŽ
Tel: +386 (0)5 364 77 96, +386 (0)41 642 235
Web links:
Vipavski Križ
Vipavski Križ - history of the place and the parish
Shows and entertainment:
GPS coordinates:
N 45° 52.832' E 13° 51.773'


Rustic entrance portal in the newer part of the defence wall with a year 1613
South-western bastion; we can see, that the floor ground is oblique and bounded at the top by semicircular stone profiles
Entrance facade of the eastern wing which is in its lower part made of nicely cut stones; the groove is visible in which a drawbridge was seating when it was pulled up; in front of the facade a moat was located
Castle courtyard with the well; view towards east
Southern wing
Baroque well - cistern, which tells, that Eleonora noble Attems gave the water to the thirsty castle; chronogram shows the year 1758
The only reconstructed, northern wing in which a school resides nowadays; round windows - oculi are clearly seen which can be found on all wings
Entrance to the basement under the north-west bastion; also a floor under the basement is supposedly in this wing
Arched place, doors at the end, which leads to other basement rooms which are probably connected to the entrance on the other side of the northern wing (see next photo)
Western entrance into basement under the northern wing
Light loop in the ground floor of the north-eastern bastion
Eastern wing
South-eastern overgrown bastion with an arrow loop at the bottom
More recent passage through eastern wing which leads to a smaller children playground
North-eastern bastion
Window in the north-eastern bastion
Arrow loop in the ground floor, which represents something unique; it is equiped with in stone blocks chiseled grooves for bolts so they could close the arrow loop when it was not used
Facade of the renovated northern wing
Southern wing
Western wing with the original entrance to the castle visible
Original entrance to the castle with visible remains of additional doors which helped to even more reinforce the entrance to the castle
Embedded coat of arms of counts Thurn at the entrance to the monastery
Capuchin convent (count Friderik Attems had it built in 1634), placed south-west from the castle
Castle with its southern defence embankments with defence walls