Ojstrica (castle)
Osterwitz, Osterwiz, Osterbitz

13th century

Hidden under the tree-leaves on 636 meters high steep hill named Stari grad at Loka at Tabor lie humble ruins of once imposing castle Ojstrica (Osterwitz). Fortification was in ownership of free lords of Žovnek. Supposedly it was later also a place for a prison of Celje in which also Friderik II. of Celje was imprisoned. It is also supposed that in 1428 his second wife Veronika of Desenice was murdered here. It is told that she was drowned but according to another legend she was thrown from rocky cliff from neighbouring hill Krvavica. Legend continues that Veronika of Desenice was returning on the rocky cliff, where she was murdered, every moon-lit night and cry.
First mentioning of the castle in sources is from 1280 as castrum Ostirwitz, in 1308 as haus Osterwitz, in 1362 as schloss Osterwitz, and then in 1372 as (geschloss Ostrawicz), in 1423 (vest osterwitz), in 1459 (gesloss Osterwitz) and in 1484 gesloss Osterbicz.
Castle was managed by castellans of Žovnek-Celje which were in 14th century named after the castle (in 1320 knight Ushalk, in 1330 Mertl and in 1352 Eberhard). Pavel Luegel from Žalec (mentioned in 1417) and Jurij Minndorfer(1432) were also castellans from Celje. After the year 1452 castle was ruled by provincial-prince caretakers, first among them was Hans Eckelheimer, followed by deputy of provincial-prince Jurij Apprecher (mentioned in 1459), Hansen Apprecher (1478), Krištof Obračan (1484), Tomaž Gradenecker (1494), between 1501 and 1530 Leonhard Raumschüssl and his sons and from 1535 Jošt Limbarski. In 1542 Friderik von Rechberg was mentioned, Hans Wagen in 1546 and in 1556 it was handed to Maksimilijan Schrottenbach as bet-posession, which abolished the castle and build a mansion at the foot of a hill. Castle was almost totally ruined allready at the beginning of the 17th century.
On the top of the hill the original castle core with imposing keep (bergfried) was standing, build from big carved blocks. Poor remains of ruins tistify of than and underneath at a steep hillside other castle and auxilliary buildings were located, protected by three moats chisled in the rocky crest. A few walls, few meters high, of these abjects are still preserved. A castle-chapel of "Our dear lady" was also on Ojstrica.
Also these remarks were found: Chronicles of Cilli (Celje) reports in chapter XXXVIII. that widow of Ulrik of Celje, Katarina, well-protected castles Žovnek, Ojstrica and others; in 1635 among other castles Ojstrica was attacked by peasant resistance.

Terrain, where the ruins are located, is dissicultly passable, the vegetation has completely overgrown and roots of the trees have starting to grow over ruins and are destroying them with their strength. Interior is filled-up with soil, leaves but mustly with heavily knitted tree-roots. It is diffucult to establish parts of the castle from ruins. For some ruins it is possible to conclude at the beginning if it is part of castle core or wall/defence wall at the moats. A scratch from Vischer could be used but as it is known that they were never very accurate. So the descriptions of photos will be limited.

For those who wish to visit the ruins I offer a brief guide on hot to get to location.
On the Vransko-Celje road turn left towards Tabor. From here you driver through village Loke and immediatelly after the end of the village you'll find an intersection, which is shown oh photo no.1.
You take the macadam road towards hill Krvavica (a sing/table will be visible). Continue driving till sand-pit, where you can park your car or any other vehicle. Photo no.2.
From here you take the macadam road back (to north) for approximatelly 30 meters. Aforest way will be visible on your left along with signpost for Ojstrica (photo no.3 and 4). Path is continued by steep hillside to the castle ruins.

According to someone from plate Tabor a tunnel once existed from the castle to mansion, but it has allready collapsed (maybe not completely). In this tunnel one local farmer more than 30 years ago (most likely at the time of demolition of the mansion) supposedly found very well preserved medieval sword, which he later exchanged (presumably with a doctor) for a fishing rod. Nowadays Ojstrica is still very interesting location, where noses of metall-detectors like to sniff. Excavation of the ruins is forbidden, but if we find something it's not ours to keep.

Kralj, Franc: "Žovnek in Žovneški", Kulturno zgodovinsko društvo Žovnek Braslovče, 2000
Jakič, Ivan: "Vsi slovenski gradovi", DZS, 1999, ISBN 86-341-2325-1
Stopar, Ivan, Dr.: "Razvoj srednjeveške grajske arhitekture na slovenskem štajerskem", Slovenska matica Ljubljana, 1977
Koropec, Jože: "MI SMO TU: Veliki punt na Slovenskem v letu 1635", Založba Obzorja Maribor, 1985
Contact details:
Web links:
http://www.obcina-tabor.si/loke.htm (Municipality of Tabor - Loke)
http://tabor.netfirms.com/ (Municipality of Tabor on old postcards)
Shows and entertainment:
GPS coordinates:
N 46° 12.467' E 14° 59.003'


Eastern hillside
Eastern hillside
Eastern defence wall
Rocks which falls and rolls down the steepnes
Northern wall covered with leaves and vegetation
Ruin on the north side
West wall with modern grafitti mentioning Veronika of Desenice
West wall, most preserved of all but filled-up to the top on the other side
First visible ruins on south side
First visible ruins on south side
Georg Matthäus Vischer: Topographia ducatus Stiriae, 1681; Visible ruins of the castle Ojstrica on the right, under the hill newly build mansion
Panorama of Savinja valley from neighbouring hill; simmilar view was once enjoyed from castele Ojstrica
Schloss Osterwitz, St. Georgen am Tabor, Ojstricia - J.F.Kaiser Lithografirte Ansichten der Steiermark (1830)