Brežice is a town with ~ 7,000 inhabitants and the center of the Municipality of Brežice. The town lies on the Krško-Brežice plain, on the left bank of the Sava near the confluence with the river Krka. Brežice belongs to the historical region of Styria, as the Sava River separates the Styrian region from Dolenjska. The town center is compactly built along a wide main road on the left bank of the former riverbed from Brežice Castle towards the city center.
The favorable location has influenced settlement since ancient times. Celtic tombs from the 2nd century BC were discovered at the fairgrounds. n. no., after the return of the Slavs to this territory, a settlement called Gradišče was formed on the left bank of the Sava. In the 16th century, it merged with the neighboring town of Civitas Rann.
In the 11th century, the region between Sotla and Sava was owned by the border count of the Savinjska region, Viljem. After his death, his widow Emma Krška donated it to the Archdiocese of Salzburg, which she kept in her possession until the end of the Middle Ages. In the middle of the 13th century, the administrative center of the area became Brežice Castle, which was built on the left bank of the Sava to defend the nearby border between the German and Hungarian states. It is first mentioned in documents in 1249. In the beginning, partly in a wooden castle, there was an armed crew.
Around the castle, German called ‘Rann’ (waterfront), an urban settlement of artisans and merchants Civitas Rann developed. The trade route from Dolenjska to Styria, Croatia and Hungary passed through it. In the 13th century, the Archdiocese of Salzburg had a mint here, and their money was also traded in Hungary. City rights were granted to the city in 1353, and the city administration was headed by a city judge appointed by the Archbishop of Salzburg. He also served in civil and lower criminal and blood justice. They had two fairs (at Pentecost and at Lawrence), eight days before each fair there was market peace. The townspeople had the right to fish, so they had to serve with them to the archbishop and his entourage when he came to town. The German had to obtain the consent of the archbishop to purchase and even enforce the inheritance of the estate.
In the war between the German Emperor Frederick III. and Matthias Corvinus, king of Hungary (1479 - 1489), the Ogroes occupied the city and the castle. After the peace was made, Friderik kept Brežice and they became the provincial town. They retained their previous rights, but won two more fairs, and Emperor Ferdinand allowed them their own boat on the Sava. At the end of the 19th century, they held 9 annual fairs in Brežice.
The people of Brežice had great problems due to the Turkish invasions, although the town was walled up and the ramparts were repaired several times. In 1459, on his way from Bosnia, which was then part of the Turkish Empire, the Turks looted and burned it in Carniola. They reappeared in front of the town in 1473, 1475, 1478. In 1480 they were defeated at Brežice by a noble army led by Jurij Schaumburg, but in 1493 they returned. The last time they robbed around Brežice was in 1529, when they were returning from a failed siege of the imperial capital of Vienna.
The rebellious peasants were not in favor of Brežice either. In 1515, 9000 peasants attacked and burned the castle, killing all the nobles who took refuge there, including a number of Croats. In 1573, the restored castle defied the peasants under the leadership of Ilija Gregorič.
The plague killed five times in Brežice (1358, 1529, 1625, 1646, 1652), the worst in the 17th century. In 1781, in severe floods, the Sava changed its course and carried away the village of Zasavje, which was located on a river island west of the town.
In 1660 a Franciscan monastery was built. They had a school there from 1668 to 1774, until 1780 classes were held in the house of Baron Moscon, and from then on in the rectory until 1820. The school building was built in 1825. The monastery was in a severe earthquake on January 29, 1917 severely damaged the city, partially demolished, the monastery church of St. Anthony of Padua was demolished by the Germans during World War II. The current post-war building has housed a grammar school since 1945.
The German-speaking inhabitants of Brežice in the second half of the 19th century. strive for planned Germanization. They set up their own city savings bank. Teaching at the school was in German and Slovene until 1896, when the Germans achieved the establishment of a German and bilingual school. In 1912, Schulverein built a German school, and from 1921 until the beginning of World War II, the building housed a bourgeois school. The Slovenes founded the Reading Room in 1890, established a loan office and in 1904 opened the Narodni dom, where the Reading Room, the library, the Sava political association and the Brežice Sokol had their premises. Many townspeople tried to spread national consciousness, but Brežice retained its predominantly German image until the end of the First World War. In 1909, the Germans opened the German House ('Deutsches Haus') opposite the National House.
Brežice has had a hospital since 1872, the current building was erected in 1889, and the beginning of pharmacy dates back to the 17th century.
During the Second World War, Brežice was the southernmost city of the entire Third Reich. In 1941, ~ 500 Slovenes were forcibly evicted from Brežice and the Kočevar family settled in their homes. Throughout the war, Brežice was the seat of the Gestapo for Posavje and Obsotelsko. Several monuments and plaques bear witness to this time, and in 1972 a monument to peasant uprisings, the National Liberation War and the revolution, the work of sculptor Stojan Batič, was unveiled in the park along Bizeljska cesta. After the Second World War, a large part of the Germans emigrated from Brežice.
The Posavje Museum of Brežice is located in the castle of Brežice. Brežice Castle was first mentioned in written sources in 1249, and most of the work on the castle was carried out in the 16th century AD. no. and remained well preserved. The castle presents the heritage of the municipalities of Brežice, Krško and Sevnica from antiquity to the present day.
The castle exhibits some beautiful collections, archaeological and ethnological contents, such as:
Archaeological collection that preserves the remains of the Posavje settlement from the Late Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman to Slavic times,
A collection of peasant uprisings dedicated to peasant uprisings in 1515 (uprising for the abduction of peasant women and children in the vicinity of Brežice and their sale into slavery on the Croatian coast, as did the knights Marko and Štefan of Klis) and the Great Punt in 1573,
Ethnological collection, which presents the life of a peasant and his economic and housing culture, as well as professions and crafts with a short history of local winemaking and viticulture,
A collection of recent history representing the past in the 19th century,
Painting collection of Slovenian baroque masters, sacral and secular art,
An architectural landmark is the Castle Knight's Hall, equipped with beautiful frescoes from the early 18th century. It boasts good acoustics, with concerts of early music every year. It is intended for top cultural and protocol events. The castle has been used several times in the filming of domestic and foreign feature films.