Rifnik Castle

The tower is still preserved to a height of three storeys and has Gothic windows with wall seats and frames with trimmed edges.

The ruins of the Rifnik Castle stand on a rocky prominence of the hill bearing the same name. The castle was first mentioned in 1326.   This is when Viljem Vrbovški came into ownership of the tower near Rifnik. Its subsequent owners were the brothers Ivan and Martin Mertl of Rifnik. In 1359 Martin Mertl was mentioned as a ministerial to the Counts of Celje. The Mertls owned the castle until 1456, until their family line died out.

The castle then fell into the hands of the descendants of Erazem Liechtenberger, a castle manager for the Counts of Celje. The next owners were relatives of the Sauran family in the 16th century. In the 17th century, a considerable part of the estate passed to Blagovna.

The castle was allegedly demolished by rebellious farmers in 1653 and laid to ruins in the second half of the 17th century. This is also evident from the topography by Vischer.

As early as in the Romanesque period, the castle was built with a typical floor plan – a stretched rectangle. It consisted of a three-storey rectangular tower on the west side and behind it a pentagonal walled courtyard. In the early Gothic era a new tower with a pentagonal floor plan was added in the eastern part of the courtyard. This tower is still preserved to a height of three storeys and has Gothic windows with wall seats and frames with trimmed edges. In the western wall there is a truncated Gothic portal with pointed arches and trimmed edges. In that period, a great hall was built on the site of a former courtyard. The castle was enlarged in the 16th century with a pentagonal vault and an inner ward. The remains of the castle with its preserved original tower possess an art-historical value as well as an important panoramic role.

Stone bridge of love

South of Šentjur, above the gorge of the Kozarica brook, once stood the Ploštanj and Rifnik Castles each on its own hill, connected by a stone bridge. Legend has it that a long time ago the Countess of Ploštanj and a young knight from Rifnik fell in love. Their fathers did not support their love and forbade them from meeting. Therefore, the lovers met secretly on the stone bridge. The Count of Ploštanj discovered that his daughter had not obeyed him, so he gave the order to loosen the stones in the bridge, expecting the bridge to collapse when the knight went to visit the Countess. However, the lovers met again on the bridge, which collapsed due to the loosened stones, and the lovers fell into the depths below.

GPS coordinates

Latitude: 46.031981° Longitude: 14.529676°