Cycling lovers may feel some nostalgia by visiting Freudenau mansion, also called “Meinlov Grad/ Meinl’s Castle “, located about 30 km from Moravske Toplice, in the village of Črnci (municipality of Apače). Its history dates back to the 13th century, and the current image originates from the 17th century.
As with many other mansions and castles, Meinl’s Castle has its own rumor. It says that there are secret underground tunnels with which the castle is connected to the Austrian side. However, no evidence was ever found for the stories mentioned.
Ownership of the mansion changed several times over the course of history, in the 20th century it was owned by Julius Meinl II., who was a large coffee merchant and he was also importing tea. He had his own coffee roaster – so he supplied with coffee a large Austro-Hungarian market. In 1909, he bought a property in Črnci, he was a progressive and a good owner and therefore the locals loved him. His famous young man wearing a fez (on the coffee packaging) is said to have come from the name of the place “Črnci” (meaning “blackish or black”). Julius Meinl left the mansion during the German occupation in 1941, as his wife was of Jewish origin.
The landmark of the mansion is a 2nd-century roman relief built into the lobby of the north entrance and represents the spouse. The mansion now has a private owner, but it has not realised its investment plans. The building is collapsing and it has not been sold until now.
A great incentive is the final thesis prepared in 2020 at the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Traffic Engineering and Architecture of the University of Maribor entitled Renovation of the Freudenau mansion in Črnci near Apače, by Matjaž Rožec. The project is conceived as a hotel accommodation, which would definitely be a unique revival of the local area. The renovation of the mansion could certainly become one of the most recognizable sights of the wider surroundings.
Matjaž Rožec; Prenova dvorca Freudenau v Črncih pri Apačah, Fakulteta za gradbeništvo, prometno inženirstvo in arhitekturo Univerze v Mariboru; 2020.