Vojko Pavlin: Digitisation of charters, related to the history of the Slovenian territory

Schloss Turjak

A project on the charters of the noble family of Auersperc

By Vojko Pavlin

The ENArC-project (ICARUS) is represented at the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia in Ljubljana  and coordinated by Jure Volčjak. His priority was to ensure the digitisation of charters, related to the history of the Slovenian territory. Since 2010 the majority of such charters kept at the Austrian State Archives (Haus- Hof- und Staatarchiv) in Vienna has been digitized. The first stock to be digitized was the charters collection (»Urkundenreihe«) from the Princely Archives of the Auersperg family (»Fürstlich Auersperg’sches Archiv«), and the process of digitization could begin only after receiving the permission of the leader of the Auersperg princely family, who is still the owner of the mentioned archival records, currently kept at the Austrian State Archives in Vienna.

The nobel family of Auersperg has for centuries been one of the most important families in the territory of the present-day Slovenia, especially in the territory of the historical dutchy/province(Land) of Carniola (Krain). The family name originates from the castle Turjak (in German: Auersperg) situated in the Lower Carniola, 20 km southeast of Ljubljana. Offering loyal service to the House of Habsburg, the aristocratic family of Auersperg became famous mainly for their fights against the Turks. The Auerspergs were often taking part in the administration of the province of Carniola or serving in the Habsburgs‘ courts in Graz or Vienna. Members of the family received several castles and seigniories in Carniola, as well as in Styria, Croatia and in Upper and Lower Austria.

In 1630, Ditrih von Auersperg was granted the title of count, and his sun Hans Vajkard (1615–1677), who was the tutor of the heir Ferdinand IV. of Habsburg, was in 1653 promoted by the emperor Ferdinand III. to the state prince. This princely branch of the Auersperg family lived in the palace in Ljubljana, which until the earthquake in 1895 had probably been the most beautiful building in town. They were also the counts of Wels in Upper Austria, the lords of princed county of Tengen, counts of Gotschee in Unterkrain and Pazin in Istria and the dukes of Münsterberg (Ziębice in present day Poland) and Frankenstein (Ząbkowice Śląskie) in Silesia (Schlesien). The princely branch is connected with the Czech history too, though in later time. One of the Auerspergs central castles was Vlašim (1744-1945) CR).

Archival records of this princely branch of Auerspergs were kept at the Auersperg’s palace in Ljubljana for two centuries. Soon after the 1895 earthquake the records were transferred to their castle of Losensteinleiten in Upper Austria, which the Auerspergs inheritated from the counts of Losenstein in the 18th century. Since 1956 the material has been kept at the Austrian State Archives (Österreichisches Staatsarchiv) in Vienna.

Now the collection of digitised Auerspergs charters is arranged and described within our computer program scopeArchiv and is about to be published online. The collection includes 730 description units, most of them from early modern period and only a minor part from the middle ages. The medieval charters – including some charters of other provinience – have been published by two historians Matjaž Bizjak and Miha Preinfalk at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Miha Preinfalk is also the author of a book on the family of Auerspergs which has been translated into German (Auersperg: Geschichte einer europäischen Familie).

Although the primary emphasis is on the charters, we also have to point out that a part of urbiaria books held by our institution have been digitised as well within the ICARUS (International Centre for Archival Research) Euro-program by means of ENArC (European network for archival cooperation).


Preinfalk, Miha: Auerspergi: po sledeh mogočnega tura. Thesaurus memoriae. Dissertationes 4. Zgodovinski inštitut Milka Kosa ZRC SAZU, Ljubljana 2005.

Preinfalk, Miha; Bizjak, Matjaž: Turjaška knjiga listin, 1. Listine zasebnih arhivov Kranjske grofovske in knežje linije Turjaških (Auerspergov), 1 (1218 – 1400). Thesaurus memoriae. Fontes 6. Zgodovinski inštitut Milka Kosa ZRC SAZU, Ljubljana, 2008.

Bizjak, Matjaž; Preinfalk, Miha: Turjaška knjiga listin, 2.Dokumenti 15. stoletja. Thesaurus memoriae. Fontes 8. Zgodovinski inštitut Milka Kosa ZRC SAZU, Ljubljana, 2009.

Vojko Pavlin is working at the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia in Ljubljana.

Photo: The castle Turjak by Aleš Fevžer





Univ.-Doz. Dr. Adelheid Krah ist Senior Lecturer am Institut für Geschichte der Universität Wien; sie forscht und lehrt als habilitierte Universitätsdozentin, SL, in den Bereichen Mittelalterliche Geschichte, eLearning, Geschichte Mittel/Zentraleuropas und Westeuropas. Sie arbeitete auch als Archivarin am Bayerischen Hauptstaatsarchiv in München, ist Fellow des DHI-Paris und im Vorstand von ICARUS.

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