Vampire Castle Bogensperk
Bogensperk is yet another of Slovenia's amazing castles that you probably haven't heard about yet, so read on to find out a little more about the castle where the first vampire story was written!
This fairytale castle was home to one of Slovenia's most famous ever writers, Valvasor.. (wonderful, a name us foreigners can actually say)! Valvasor was Slovenia's first ever travel guide, bringing the world's attention to the incredible beauty of his part of Slovenia, known at the time as Carniola. He wrote volumes and volumes of the "The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola", covering all aspects of Slovenian culture, life and geography.
And it was Valvasor who introduced Slovenia's Karst natural wonderland to the rest of the world, especially one of Europe's most amazing natural geological features, the disappearing lake of Cerknica.. 40 km square of water in the winter and then as if a magician has waved his or her wand.. completely empty in the summer!
His life's work and passion earned him admission to the elite Royal Society in London in 1687 which exclusively promotes a better understanding of the natural world.. other fellows of the Royal society were Sir Isaac Newton and nowadays Elon Musk.
Lets face it, if racing bikes were around in the 17th century he probabubbly would have won the tour de France as well!!, but seriously.. maybe you are impressed by this guy by now.. so going to this castle is like visiting Beatrix Potter's house or Shakespeare's Stratford.. Bogensperk castles oozes with the class of Janez Valvasor!
In this very castle, he installed copper plate printing presses and churned out articles, drawings and books on science, inventions and the wonder of Slovenia. And it should not be surprising really that in a little country packed full of fantastic Karst caves with multiple species of bats that the first Vampire article ever published should also come from here.. and guess what.. it was Valvasor who was the man to do it!! He wrote about bloodsucking in Istria or something like that, but anyway, you can see all of these numerous publications as exhibits in the castle.
Valvasor was a real character.. Hollywood take note.. and such a man needed some space for all his thoughts, inventions, workers and publications.. he also had enough children to make a football team, so this castle with it's simple pomp and grandeur was the perfect venue for this legendary man.
But the heating bill must have cost a fortune for this place and as befits many geniuses of history, the ending was tragic as he died a poor man and lost his beloved castle.
Bogensperk is a 90 min drive direct from the Lodge, but you only need half a day here for a great visit, so we went firstly to nearby Grosuplje to see 2 Fortress churches and then we jumped onto the motorway looking for one of those big signs to the next amazing castle..
We want to mention this next bit as an indicative example and cos we really don't think it is fair.. There appears to be an uneven battle that the numerous other beautiful regional castles have with Ljubljana castle.. Bogensperk is in the middle of the countryside and we needed sat navigation, but there was NO big brown sign on the motorway to tell drivers there was a really fab castle so close off the next junction!
We mentioned this upon arrival and were told the castle is run by a very small and loyal band within a local organisation and they would have to pay thousands of Euros just to get a sign from the motorway. This is just one of many different ways you guys are not getting to hear about places like Bogensperk, but it doesn't mean that Bogensperk is a rubbish visit.. quite the contrary!
So just cos Ljubljana castle happens to be in the centre of the capital city and tourists go there like robots with arms stretched out cos they happen to read a book or just be hanging around in one of the only cities they have heard about in Slovenia.. Folks.. IT DOES NOT MEAN FOR ONE MILLISECOND that you will get a better castle experience in Ljubljana compared to Bogensperk.. YOU WON'T.. Bogensperk is a so much better value for money castle to visit with real culture, history and a proper castle feeling.. and no crowds!
All we can do is write what we have noticed in wonky green bold text here to bring your attention to this perceived injustice and we will continue to let our guests and the rest of the world know about the dozens of other amazing castles in Green Slovenia that are such fantastically unique castle experiences.. we hope you take a little notice, make your own mind up and make time to visit great uncle Valvasor and Bogensperk castle!
So cos the castle is pretty much in the centre of Slovenia the drive to Bogensperk, (just to the east of Ljubljana) is wobbly, curvy, green and beautiful. But best to use Satnav, there are smaller local roadsigns the nearer you get and a nice big welcoming car park.
This castle was a residence more than a defensive castle, as the Turkish raids had finished by the 17th century.. so it's great fun to wander around, explore and find all the kooky bits. We always recommend, if it is possible, to go on a castle tour with one of the lovely guides, so maybe call Bogensperk on 00386 189 876 64 beforehand to get a slot. (It's also a good idea to check there isn't a private wedding here on your proposed day too, to avoid a semi wasted journey).
We arrived early afternoon, so it was perfect timing to try the new castle restaurant! The food and service was top notch and it was so lovely to sit in the castle courtyard to eat so we could sample the atmosphere & admire the stuff around us and get excited about exploring. Munching on local Slovenian goodies we noticed some false doors and windows and other little features to take a closer look at on the tour.
It is a really nice touch and a great idea for a little castle like Bogensperk to offer such a high quality of food. And sitting here in the courtyard easily out trumps a lot of the posher restaurant vistas and venues in your own country for sure! So we strongly recommend you support this and plan to eat here.. but book ahead.
And then we joined our lovely local guide to do a castle tour, first going through that huge thick, heavy main castle door and then learning all about the great man. The really special things about this castle are the little details everywhere you go and there is really a lot of stuff from Valvasor's life and works too.
But for us the stand out amazing feature of this castle and this man is how he drew disappearing lakes, churches and castles with such detail.. and he included ordinary scenes of ordinary people of the time so it is fascinating not just to see the huge number of Slovenia's Green secrets that he documented, but also to see how village life really was in the 1600's.. as if he had a camera.. he shows you a man with a hound, a villager chopping wood..
He is a medieval Hitchcock and he drew like Lowry painted his "matchstick men and matchstick cats and dogs".. and you can see lots of examples of this all over Bogensperk castle.. Just this is totally amazing, unique and well worth your ticket to Bogensperk, but there is a lot more here to see and enjoy!