Gewekenegg Castle, also home to The Idrija Municiapal Museum, is one of the most charming, appealing and pleasant castles in Slovenia.
It was built somewhere between 1522 and 1533 as a storage house for mercury and wheat used to fulfill the needs of Idrija, a big mining city. The castle’s residents were nine armored mine workers, who made sure everything was in order in the mine and in the castle. Later, the mine’s administration was located in it.
The castle’s name Gewekenegg is actually a German word, meaning “mine castle”. The Gewekenegg Castle was built in Renaissance style but was later renovated to a baroque style. It is the only Slovenian castle that was not built by a feudal.
Today, the Gewekenegg Castle is home to a great museum dedicated to the history of the mining city and to the castle itself. A music school, a restaurant, and a souvenir shop are also located in the castle. Many events are organized on the castle during the summer.
You will find many great objects and exhibitions spread through 26 rooms with more than 1.300 sqm meters of total museum space. The main permanent exhibition is named Five Centuries of the Mercury Mine and Town of Idrija. It is divided into ten sections which include representations of technological processes, main historical events, facts about the everyday life of miners, and numerous photographs.
Do not miss the section dedicated to the Idrija Lace with the focal piece being a traditional lace, given to Jovanka Broz in one of her visits here. Idrija is known as the oldest lace making center in Slovenia. You can take your time to discover traditional lace patterns from the whole world.
A room dedicated to one of the best Slovenian writers, Franc Bevk, is also one of the more popular attractions in the museum containing some of his personal belongings and furniture. It is part of the collection named “Famous Personalities”.
Other sections include Collections of Rocks, Fossils, Mercury Ores and Minerals, Historical View of the Town, Mercury and Cinnabar Extraction, Historical Photos and much more.
Be sure to check the museum’s web page to get additional information about its Contemporary Collections.
The museum won the Valvasor Award in 2008 – the highest Slovenian award for achievements in museology and the Best European Museum of Technical And Industrial Heritage in 1997, by the European Museum Association.
The castle is located about a 10 minute walk away from Idrija city centre. It can be reached by car as well.
Walk on the main street from the city centre, pass the main bus station and City Square, and then turn right after the sign marking the way to the castle.