The Castle and the Saint

In late 3rd century AD a guy from Tergeste converted to Christianity and since it was the time of Persecutions of Nurian, hid in a cave on the Karst edge high above the town. While he got spiritual guidance in that cave, he also got arrested and was executed, probably in 284 AD. His name was Servulus, little servant (of God); since he was beatified as San Servolo he became a patron saint of Tergeste (today’s Trst, Trieste, Italy).

In the 11th century a castle was built on a commanding and strategic rocky outcrop near the saint’s cave, and the name of the saint became the name of the castle – San Servolo, Socerb in Slovene.

The castle had a significant strategic position, controlling the political border and important trading routes, so it was the reason for battles between the Venetians and the people of Trieste. In the early medieval period residential areas were added, so it grew into a fortification with permanently resident troops, and later into a true lord’s castle.

Castle Socerb as depicted in Valvasor’s The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola, 1689

The ravages of war, but mainly the mismanagement of a series of owners, the castle fell into disrepsute and disrepair; its strategic value diminishing, the lands divided and sold …

The final straw was a huge fire that devastated the whole structure. A half-hearted repairs were conducted in 1925, razing most of the castle and leaving only a part of the walls and two towers.

Today the castle hosts a restaurant and is a popular tourist spot due to the fantastic views of the Gulf of Trieste and the cities of Koper and Trieste hundreds of meters below the cliff.

The cave of Sv. Socerb, San Servolo, poor Servulus, is open to visitors; sometimes a concert is held there, that offers a fantastic experience of music in a dark, mysterious, resonant place.

The views of the forested Karst plateau, and the sea below the cliff.

Kite aerial photos shot with Nikon P330 on a Rokkaku kite.

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