Polhov Gradec


Polhov Gradec with church of Mary’s birth and Stari grad – Kalvarija in the back

Polhov Gradec is a settlement with rich cultural history and at the same, it is a center of upper Gradaščica valley and Polhov Gradec hills. It is only 17 kilometers away from the capital, it is located at altitude 397 meters. Above old village center is elevation Stari grad – Kalvarija, which reaches 460 meters. Here once stood a medieval castle, which was ruled by ma’am Polhov Gradec, but it was in year 1511 destroyed in an earthquake. It was abanded in year 1515 after big peasant uprising when lords moved into a lower court to the place of today’s manor. At the foot of elevation flow two small rivers, Božna or Velika voda (en. Large water) and Mala voda (en. Small water), both flow into river Gradaščica below the settlement.

The settlement is located in this area since prehistoric times when first settlers searched for shelter on Polhograjska gora (en. Polhov Gradec mountain). Here they found important archeological finds from late antiquity. Old village center, which is today partially preserved, was formed below Stari grad (en. Old castle) and next to the baroque parish church of Mary’s birth from 18th century. Several old houses are preserved in the settlement. Various hiking trails lead from the settlement to the hilly surroundings, on peaks Pasja ravan, Polhograjska gora or St. Lovrenc, Tošč, Grmada and some lower peaks.


The settlement was named Polhov Gradec most likely by old Slavic fort, but the legend speaks about the tired traveler, whom once dormouse ate his saddle and belts. The traveler in anger said: »This isn’t a castle, it’s a dormouse castle!« This version comes from a legend and is also mentioned in tourist material.

Polhov Gradec was for the first time mentioned in written sources under German name Pilchgrez in the year 1261 – Pilchgraez in year 1269, and easy Graetz in year 1291, in newer era in German Billichgrätz. All these names are derived from Slovene name for the settlement (en. naselje), last element –grätz derives from Slovene word gradec or little castle. The first part of the name derives from personal name, Polh (en. Dormouse)  or Povh, so the name its self means Polhov (little) castle. Second, a less likely theory derived the word Polh from the name Pavel.


The first evidence of settlement in the area of Polhov Gradec goes back into old Iron Age. About the colonization in Roman Age testify diggings of rural villa from Roman rich man, which are stored in a museum, some are in the local museum in Polhov Gradec manor. Roman outpost was according to Valvasor named Ad Nonum. In time of great immigration, in 5th and 6th century, these places were populated by the Slavs.

On the elevation above old village center, known as Stari grad (en. Old castle) or Calvary, they erected a fort, which also led to the original name of the place – Gradec. According to the historians, supposedly from the fort, sometime in 8th century, grew old medieval castle, in which lived Polhov Gradec lords from the beginning of 16th century. In the year 1511, the castle was strongly damaged in the earthquake, in year 1515 was demolished in peasant uprisings. By tradition, the remains were used to built church of St. Peter in Dvor. The nobility moved to a lower manor, named Polhov Gradec manor. In sacral buildings, many medieval frescos, statues from Gothic era and castle equipment are preserved.

Polhov Gradec manor was extended after the earthquake in 16th century, today in it resides a Museum of Post and Telecommunications, local museum, old classroom, castle chapel and wedding hall. Courtyard of the manor is adorned with a Neptune fountain with the engraved year 1696, which is the year of origin. On the fountain is a coat of arms of Polhov Gradec barons, around are placed four pillars with nymphs and ornaments. In front of the manor is castle park with famous big old linden.


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Museum of Post and Telecommunications
In Museum of Post and Telecommunications they share stories about times when we eagerly waited for the postman bringing some fresh news and when mobile phones were not yet a part of our lifes. Formerly housed in Stara Loka Castle, between 1985 and 2008, was opened in Polhov Gradec Castle. [_Read more_]

Neptune well
The Neptune well is located in Polhov Gradec and is a specialty of the castle courtyard of Polhov Gradec manor. The well with Neptune on the middle pillar and four nymphs wears the coat of arms of Polhov Gradec nobles and is dated in second half of 17th century. It is renaissance well. [_Read more_]

Blagaj path
Blagaj path got its name after a count Rihard Ursini Blagaj, who was first mayor of settlement Polhov Gradec. In times of his ownership the Polhov Gradec manor went through many progressively enlightenment ideas. Blagaj path belongs under the Landscape park Polhov Gradec hills. [_Read more_]