Olimje Castle (Grad Olimje)

Olimje Castle



Location: Podčetrtek   Map

Constructed: 16th century


Description of Olimje Castle


Olimje Castle is a medieval citadel situated in Podčetrtek of the Eastern Slovenia.  The original stronghold of Olimje Castle was erected in the early 11th century by the counts von Peilestein (or Pilštajn family). It was largely reconstructed in the middle of the 16th century by the orders of Count Tattenbach. Original castle lost much of its military use so it was transformed into a Renaissance residence. Windows were made cut through the walls and towers. The exterior was painted in more festive colors. In 1658 it was purchased by local noble, Baron Ivan Zakmardy of Zagreb. He transferred this residence to the Pauline order of Catholic monks in 1663. One of the monks Ivan Ranger repainted the exterior of the castle in 1740 in grey and white colors. Olimje Castle was closed after World War II and nationalized. Only after collapse of the Communist regime it was returned to its rightful owners. Today it again houses a Franciscan monastery within its walls.



The city originally belonged to Count von Peilestein (Count of Pilstein). One of the owners is allegedly the Slovenian noblewoman Hema Pilštanjska , better known as Sv. Emma Krška . The castle, which according to oral tradition is 1000 years old (the year of construction of the first castle is 1015), has historically changed several owners. Around 1550, Count Tattenbach remodeled it in Renaissance style, and at the same time dug a defensive trench around it because of the threat of Turkish attacks. The castle was bought in 1658 by the Zagreb baron Ivan Zakmardy and later began to be converted into a monastery and in 1663 he donated it with a special document.Pauline monks who came from Lepoglava in Croatia . Between 1665 and 1675, they completely transformed the castle into a monastery and added a beautiful Baroque church. The most beautiful part of the church is its altar , dedicated to Mary the Assumption and at the same time one of the most beautiful Slovenian baroque altars in Europe. In 1740 the church got a new look. The monk Ivan Ranger painted the entire presbytery , i.e. the area around the altar. They also added and painted a side chapel dedicated to the missionary, St. Francis Xavier. The Paulinians also set up a pharmacy , one of the oldest in Europe(the old pharmacy was painted by the painter Anton Lerchinger of Rogatec with biblical motifs and portraits of the most famous old doctors and early-adopters). During the reign of Emperor Joseph II. the monks had to leave the monastery because the monks did not have a school during their activities, nor did the parish function here.

After 120 years of their existence, the monks left a strong mark on culture, art and pharmacy in Olimje. The parish of Olimje was founded in 1785 and the former Pauline monastery was purchased in 1805 by the Attems noble family . Due to the excessive taxes, owners who could not maintain the entire building had to demolish part of the castle (north and east). At the end of World War II , the castle was nationalized by the authorities. In 1974, the castle suffered a severe earthquake and severely damaged it. Shortly thereafter, it was partially rebuilt with the help of the state, municipality and parishioners. The sanctuary and the parish were owned in 1990 by the Friars Minor . Franciscan - Minorites. On August 15, 1999, after 217 years, they revived the monastery. Now they care for pilgrims and tourists who come to see the pharmacy and the monastery, and because of the high demand for home-made products, they have also set up a herbal pharmacy.