Žusem (castle)

13th century

First time the Žusem castle is indirectly mentioned is in the year 1203 in a gift document of a knight, ministerial of Krško Poppo de Suzzenheima, and directly in 1364 as vest Suzzenhaim. In this year the castle was inherited by Counts of Celje from brothers Heinzel and Albreht. In 1404 the fortification wnet back in to posession of Hans of Žusem and his uncle Andrej. In 1437 Andrej had to pawn the castle to Counts of Celje. In 1480 the administration of the castle is taken over by Hans's uncle Bernard Lichtenberger. Until 1871 owners have changed and the last among them, L.Fieglmuller, left the castle to collapse in the mentioned year, so he would not have to pay taxes for the castle.
Also known information: in 1550 emperor Ferdinand allowed noble Franc Altenhaus to spend 400 fl. for construction works on the castle and add this amount tothe mortgage sum. In 1579 Danijel Kupič, town scribe of Celje and member of committee, which catalogued and valuing provincial prince's castles and estates, described Žusem in detail. He also mentiones that the chapel had cross arch from carved stone named Spigulj. In 1635 the castle was ransacked and demolished by rebelled peasants, in 1695 it was burned. Building master J.Satler from Celje valued the damage to be 2188 fl.

As most of Slovenian castles, which have preserved into the new era, Žusem is also looking like it was at the end of the 19th century, as a result of many reconstruction and extension works. Against very fragmented castle core, that is almost fully ruined, three-floored six-axial residential wing was leaning, of which front corners were reinforced by imposing round towers. Ground floor, which was arched on the inside and was used as a cellar, was reinforced with renaissance arrow-loops with key-shape like, carved from monolith loops. Triangular foreheads abowe windows in the third floor had a totally mature late-renaissance features; stone window profiles are still preserved. At the east side of the castle a chapel was located, of which a small tower is visible on old images. According to description by Kupič from 1579, its architecture was gothic. Obviously visible in one of ruined walls in castle core is later reconstructed corner of primary romanesque castle; it is defined by carved corner stones which regulate fairly proper construction. According to preserved evidence and old images the primary castle was a fortified towered house. Path to the castle was masoned, protected with internal and external entrance tower.

The castle is not hard to access, but some parts of the ruins are diffucult to reach. Walking on the castle can be dangerous, because filled up walls are partially very high and behind them usually lies a deep drop.

Stopar, Ivan, Dr.: "Razvoj srednjeveške grajske arhitekture na slovenskem štajerskem", Slovenska matica Ljubljana, 1977
Stopar, Ivan, Dr.: "Grajske stavbe v vzhodni Sloveniji - Med Kozjanskim in porečjem Save", Viharnik, Ljubljana, 1993, ISBN 961-6057-00-6
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GPS coordinates:
N 46° 9.595' E 15° 29.222'


West wall with still visible renaissance shooting loops
View of a high northern wall, which is three storeys hig; below a passage to the inside is visible, which probably formed later as a result of wall falling apart
View of inside through northern portal
Internal east wall, wooden arches are still visible
Similar view of wooden beams on north wall
Inside, in north-west wall closed romanesque portal
North-west part, view towards the sky
Inside of the castle, view from south-west direction towards north
Tower (solar tower) which is located at the south-west corner of the castle
View of a tower from south direction
Visible defence walls few meters from the castle
Southern wall, few meters from the castle
Souther wall of the castle
Ruins of defence wall on south-east side
More ruins, for which it is hard to determine their purpose at a first glance
Far south side on the western side
Far eastern wall of the castle
Top of the ruins, inside of the castle is filled up with rocks and sand
South-western part at the top of the ruins
Eastern part of the ruins
Wonderful view towards south-east from the top of the ruins
Part of west wall, view from inside
Arches in south-west tower
Inside of the tower ruins
Supposedly this spring was a source of drinking water for the castle residents
Village Dobje a few hundred meters above the ruins
Vischer's copper engraving, from around 1681; on the image wooden machicolation is still visible under the roof
Collored lithography from old suite of Kaiser, from around 1830
Postcard from before the war
Lithography by Reichert, around 1863