Predjamski Grad, or the Predjama Castle, is perched in a cavern 123 meters up a steep overhanging cliff. Aside from the stunning cave-castle, archaeologists have discovered a prehistoric settlement in the caves of the area which dates back 150,000 years before Christ. The castle dates back to 1202 and has a drawbridge over a raging river, holes in the ceiling for pouring boiling oil over intruders, a dungeon, several natural water wells, and a eerie hiding place at the top called Erazem’s Nook, a secret shaft and tunnel system that leads all the way to Postojna Cave.
Erazem, the castle’s most famous inhabitant, lived in the unfinished castle in the second half of the 15th century. During the wars between the Austrian Emperor Frederick III and the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus, Erazem support King Matthias Corvinus, angering Frederick III. The Austrian Emperor ordered Erazem killed.
Erazem was able to fend off the Austrian army, under Gašpar Ravbar, the governor of Trieste, for one year and one day. Erazem supplied food and continued in his robberies of the Austrian caravans during the siege by using his secret passageway leading to Postojna Cave.
Erazem was hit by a cannon ball as he sat on the toilet. It seems a turncoat servant had betrayed him, by marking the location of the water closet with a little flag, for Ravbar and his men.
The original castle was destroyed during an earthquake in the 16th century. The castle we see today was rebuilt Renaissance style in 1570 and has remained virtually unchanged to this day. In 1991, while working in the cellars, restoration workers discovered buried treasure from the 16th century, which is now housed in the National Museum in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana.
The cave below Predjama Castle is a 6km network of galleries spread over four levels. From October until May, the cave is closed to visitors because it is an active cave and the bats need darkness and silence. During the open season, May until September, visitors can see the cave in small groups led by a guide with the use of special gear that can be rented there.
Know Before You Go
- Predjama Castle is open from 10am – 4pm November 1 – March 31, 10am – 5pm April 1 – 30 and October 1 – 31, 9am – 6pm May 1 – June 30 and September 1 – 30, and 9am – 7pm July 1 – August 31.
- Tickets are €9 per adult, €7.20 per child, and €5.40 for children under 5. There is also a combo ticket for both the Predjama Castle and Postojna Cave for €28.90 for adults and €17.40 for children, which saves 10% on the visit.
- A certain level of fitness for climbing and descending is recommended for visitors who are planning to get inside the Cave under Predjama Castle. This is by guided tour only May – September with advance booking. Tickets range from €80 per adult – €24 per adult depending on the route. The routes are not suitable for children under 15 years of age.
- Postojna can be reached by car on the A1 motorway from the directions of Ljubljana or Koper (exit Postojna). From Trieste it can be reached by taking the A3 motorway towards Divača, followed by the A1 motorway to Postojna. It can also be reached on regional roads (Slovenia vignette not required) from the directions of Idrija, Logatec, Cerknica, Ilirska Bistrica, Sežana or Ajdovščina. Predjama Castle is located in the village of Predjama 9 km north of Postojna – follow the signs from Postojna.