Castle Socerb – Medieval fortress with mighty walls

On the Karst edge, 437 meters above the sea, above the settlement Socerb stands a beautiful medieval fortress with mighty walls.

The Socerb Castle (Italian: San Servolo), which today is known for its magnificent views of Trieste, the Miljski gulf and surrounding places, was once far more than a mere sightseeing point.

Castle Socerb is an old castle in Slovenia, dating back to 14th century.

Castle Socerb

The extraordinary strategic position of the castle was of great importance in the past, and if the walls could talk, they would probably tell a story of many wars, owners and events that left a mark on these wonderful, for Slovenia a historically very important mansion.

Even though it is in ruins today, the Socerb Castle has had many owners over the centuries. According to historians, the first owners in the 14th century, between 1463 and 1511, were the Venetians (Family Ducaini), after the Trieste-Venetian War, at the beginning of the 16th century, the ownership transferred into Austrian hands. In 1521 Nikolai Ravbar received it in the fief.

The castle was desired by many individuals and military leaders, so it is not surprising that the Venetians, Habsburgs and German forces attacked the fort. In the Second World War, especially for its strategic role, the Germans took it over and made it their fortress.

The Socerb castle is worth exploring. The historical records speak of the beautiful history of the entire region, and especially the turbulent events, most of the war. To stand on the walls of Socerb means touching almost a thousand-year history. The last parts of the fortress still stand, and that is why today, fortunately, we still have a part of the once great castle, from which we can capture a wonderful photo of the Gulf of Trieste and its surroundings, while in the distance we can see the Adriatic Sea.

Hiking trails

You can start a wonderful hike to the Socerb castle from town Osp, where you will also see many climbing tours along the ridge of the Karst Rob. The path will lead you under the Karst edge through the settlement Osp towards the forest path, leading to the castle walls. You will reach the castle Socerb in about an hour or an hour and a half.

Important points nearby:

  • Cave of Saint Socerb – 200m long and 44m deep pit, in which, after the conversion to Christianity, the Saint Socerb used to live. His conversion to Christianity got the governor of Trieste so mad, that he killed Saint Socerb in the year 284.
  • Church of Apostle St. Thomas.
Socerb - San Servolo


According to the legends and some testimonies, the original church of St. Thomas was supposed to be under the village in the valley “by the sea”, and later transferred to its current location. This is supposed to because of a flood that damaged the church to the point it collapsed. The current church was built around 1600 and was later rebuilt again it in a late Baroque style. Most changes occurred during the time of Matija Brauhar (1852-1877) and Jožef Bartl (1877-1855). Belfry of the Aquileian type (29.94m high) does not give us any information about the year of construction.

A natural pearl for climbers

Walls over the place Osp (Karst edge) invite many climbers from Slovenia and wider. If you love climbing and adrenaline, then this is definitely the region you need to visit.

Historical Timeline:


  • 14th Century: The Ducain family
  • 1521 Nikolai Ravbar II.
  • 1535 owned by Venice
  • 1615 Epic Battle for the city (3000 dead soldiers)
  • 1622 – 1688 city buy Benvenuto Petazzi (Count Socerbski since 1630)
  • 1688 Archduke chamber in Graz
  • The first half of the 17th century is the city of Marquis de Prie
  • 1768 – 1848 Montecuccoli family from Modena
  • 1907 Baron Demetrio Economo
  • 1944 (autumn) Axis forces

Important Events and Facts:

  • 16th century: Trieste-Venetian war
  • 1689 Visit to Valvasor (Topographia Ducatus Carnioliae modernae)
  • 1694 The city is described by Don Pietro Rossetti. He is especially impressed by the structure of the castle and the position at the top of the scale.
  • 1780 The Socerb Castle is hit by a lightning strike
  • 1924-1925 Demetrius de Economo to restore a part of the wall
  • 1944 headquarters of the VOS and the People’s Court
  • 1944 (autumn) The castle occupies the German units
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© Author: Text, photo and video:
Leon G. Milošević

GPS Coordinates
45°33'50.2"N 13°51'42.7"E
1h 30min
Easy and marked path.
Necessary equipment
No special equipment required.
Difficulty for this tour
Castle Socerb stands on the Karst edge, 437 meters above the sea level. It is a beautiful medieval fortress with mighty walls. Known also as San Servolo…