A Castle in White Carniola

Vinica is a small, cozy town in the extreme southwestern corner of Slovenia, in the beautiful region of Bela Krajina – White Carniola, perched on a cliff above the border river Kolpa that separates Slovenia from Croatia.

While the town is sleepy today, it has had quite a tumultuous history … and so it boasts a castle.

Castle Vinica was probably built in the 11th century, but the main complex dates to early 14th century. In the 1400s it was guarding the approaches to Carniola against the Ottoman invasions, succesfully repulsing two major attacks in 1469 and 1471.

This lithograph from Valvasor’s Die Ehre des Herzogthums Krain shows the castle as it was in 17th century, with the town safely tucked behind its walls.

Vinica derives its name from the noble Vitis vinifera, the grape vine, and the region is quite famous for its wines.

The coat of arms of Vinica thus aptly shows a gryphon (a creature that is almost a dragon – and the word for ‘kite’ is Slovene, ‘zmaj’, means ‘dragon’ too, so flying a kite there is a very natural thing!) holding a bunch of grapes

The castle has been recently renovated, hosting a couple of luxury apartments, a wine bar and a lounge.

Vinica is a very artistic town … a birthplace of the famous Slovene poet Oton Župancic, today hosts painters, musicians, craftsmen, and is a summer residence of a filmmaking and world travelling couple Irena and Igor Šterk.

Three kite flying musketeers, with the famous Slovene film director Igor Šterk on the right

Vinica and the whole White Carniola region is a perfect place to visit … just plunge into the relaxed atmosphere of the place, its striking natural beauty, the welcome of the locals, the supreme cuisine (lamb!) and into the refreshing, vibrant Kolpa river.

All kite aerial photos shot with Canon A810 on a Rokkaku kite.

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