Knights fighting in front of Predjama Castle

Photo: Luka Dakskobler

Every July, life at Predjama Castle goes back in time, and Erazem’s Knight Tournament, where blood-thirsty knights meet to do battle, is announced with a fanfare.

Perched halfway up a tall cliff, Predjama Castle  is just 9 kilometres from Postojna Cave . An astonishing, powerful, thrilling sight, mysterious and impregnable, it has ruled its rocky roost for more than 800 years. It is recognised by Guinness World Records as the largest cave castle in the world. The castle did not gain its present appearance until the late sixteenth century, but its history is documented from at least the year 1201.

Its position halfway up a 123-metre cliff and the secret underground passages behind it make Predjama Castle truly unique. The combination of a natural cave and walls built by human hands is a fascinating one. The two parts are so well connected that it is sometimes hard to see where one ends and the other begins. The castle offers us a unique insight into the construction techniques and inventiveness of its medieval builders, who sought a safe refuge by the entrance to the cave. 

During a siege in the fifteenth century, the castle offered sanctuary to its most notorious owner, Erasmus of Predjama. The attractive and inspiring legend of the bold robber knight Erasmus, who held out undefeated until betrayed by one of his servants, lives on in popular tradition. Secure in his castle, the bold knight resisted his besiegers with no apparent difficulty for more than a year. The karst world below the castle, complete with a cave system, offered an excellent retreat. It contains a secret passage that leads to freedom, a source of drinking water, an additional hiding place and a place to store food – all things that proved to be precious and essential during the siege.

Text by Tanja Glogovčan