Ptuj Castle is an agglomeration of styles from the 14th to the 18th centuries, but it is nonetheless a majestic sight, sitting high on the hill overlooking the red-roofed burger houses of Ptuj and the Drava River. It houses the Ptuj-Ormož Regional Museum, but is equally worth the trip for the views of Ptuj and the river. The shortest way to the castle is to follow narrow Grajska ulica, east of the Hotel Mitra, which leads to a covered wooden stairway and the castle’s Renaissance Peruzzi Portal (1570).
As you enter the castle courtyard, look to the west at the red marble tombstone of Frederick IX, the last lord of Ptuj (he died in 1438). In the former stables just past the ticket office is a large collection of Kurent masks and costumes.
The ground floor of one wing is devoted to an arms collection of some 500 weapons. The suits of armour are particularly fine. Also here is a fascinating musical instruments collection mostly from the 17th to 19th centuries (though there is a Roman double flute from the 2nd or 3rd century AD).
The 1st floor is given over to period rooms – treasure-troves of original tapestries, painted wall canvases, portraits, weapons and furniture mostly left behind by the castle’s last owners, the Herbersteins (1873–1945). Notice the coat of arms containing three buckles upon entering the chapel – it belonged to the Leslies, a Scottish-Austrian family who owned the castle from 1656 to 1802. The Chinoiserie Countess's Salon and her rococo bedroom are exquisite.
In Festival Hall you'll find Europe’s largest collection of aristocratic Turkerie portraits, some 45 in total – possibly of more historical than artistic interest.
The Castle Gallery on the 2nd floor contains paintings from the 16th to 18th centuries.
Enquire at the museum office if you're interested in visiting Ptuj's unearthed Roman-era Mithraic shrines, dedicated to the sun god Mithras; for a time in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD Mithraism was more widely practised than Christianity. The shrines are located south of the river, a couple of kilometres west of town in suburban Spodnja Hajdina and Zgornji Breg.