Pogled na grad BorlGrad Borl je biser, ki ga ne smemo pustiti propasti.

A brief History of the Borl Castle


Borl Castle, set on a high limestone rock, just above the confluence of the Drava River and the Bela stream, has reigned here for centuries. First founded in the 12th century, possibly even earlier, it has always played an important role due to its strategic location along the Hungarian-Croatian border with the former Austrian Empire. It originally served primarily as a Hungarian border outpost, but later became the center of a lordship that passed through different owners over the centuries.  From the mighty lords of Ptuj, it passed through the Székely family, to the Sauer family, who increased the size of the castle in the 17th century, thoroughly restored it and chose it as its seat. In the time of Count Jurij Friderik Sauer and his wife Marija Barbara, b. Trautmannsdorf, Borl was given its present Baroque appearance. It remained the property of the Sauer family until 1801. 

 Maria Wilhelmina, widow of the last Count Leslie, born Countess Wurmbrand-Stuppach, bought the castle from Prince Stanislaw von Poniatowski in 1803 and lived here until her death in 1851. Count Ferdinand inherited Borl from his aunt and renovated it thoroughly in the middle of the 19th century. Count Gundaker von Wurmbrand-Stuppach, a retired Minister of Commerce, was the owner of Borl Castle at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and used Borl as a summer residence, as his father had done before him. 

After Gundaker's death in 1901, his daughter Adalberta inherited the Castle. She married Max Kübeck the same year and created a home and family there. After the First World War, the changed political and social situation led to problems, notably due to the consequences of agrarian reform, so in 1922 the castle was sold to the company Borlin based in Varaždin. The Kübeck family moved to Austria. Like many Slovenian castles, Borl passed into the hands of non-nobles and changed from a noble home into a large estate owned by the company Borlin d. d., which endeavoured to manage it according to the principles of a market economy. Using advanced agricultural practices, Borl seemed on the way to becoming a worthy exemplary estate and to expanding further by purchasing adjacent estate. Yet none of this materialized. First, a major economic crisis cut into the business of the Borl estate, and plans were finally halted by World War II.   

With the outbreak of World War II and the invasion of Yugoslavia by German forces, the situation changed rapidly. The Germans confiscated the castle and turned it into a concentration camp for political prisoners. 

After the war in 1946, Borlin's property was expropriated in full and without compensation in favour of the land fund. The castle itself became a devalued social property. Fortunately, the post-war authorities soon found a new purpose for it, and in 1951 it became a resort known throughout Europe. In the second half of the last century, the Borl Castle resort played an important role in the economy of the Ptuj region. It is often mentioned as a leader in the development of the tourist industry. This success peaked in the 1960s, mainly due to the opening of a new swimming pool. After the hotel’s closure in 1980, the castle no longer had a permanent purpose, and was used only for occasional events, weddings, and visitors. Even the bats only visit the castle during the summer. 

In 2020, however, its partial renovation finally began….


Text: Sonja Golc and Mira Petrovič
The translation was reviewed by Janet Ashton.
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