Monasteries in Slovenia

Bistra Castle

Bistra Carthusian Monastery was founded in 1255 as the first monastery in Carniola. The first half of the 14th century represents the culmination of the monastery. This is when the monastery greatly expanded and invested in the functioning of the monastic library, where they created a number of copies and original works. Later began the slow decay of the monastery which was repeatedly hit by fires and in 1670 by a strong ...
Founded: 1255 | Location: Bistra, Slovenia

Minorite Monastery Church

St. Francis Church is situated next to the Franciscan monastery. In front of it there is a small square, formerly used as a cemetery. The construction of the church and the monastery reaches back to the year 1301. Despite many restorations, traces of the period in which the church was built can still be seen in the presbytery. The present interior dates from the 17th century and the exterior from the 19th century. The le ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Piran, Slovenia

Kostanjevica Monastery

Kostanjevica Franciscan Monastery with the Church of the Annunciation of Our Lady stands on a hill dividing the town of Nova Gorica and the suburb of Pristava. It is located just some 200 meters from the border with Italy. It is famous as the burial place of Charles X of France and his family. In 1623 as small Carmelite sanctuary was erected just outside the limits of the town of Gorizia. In the next hundred years, a mon ...
Founded: 1623 | Location: Nova Gorica, Slovenia

Sticna Abbey

Stična Abbey is the oldest monastery in the territory of today"s Slovenia. It is the only Cistercian one in the country that still operates. The abbey foundation charter was issued in 1136 by Pellegrinus I., Patriarch of Aquileia, although monastic conventual life had begun a year earlier, in 1135. The monastery at Stična quickly became important religious, cultural and economic centre. As well as an ordinary ...
Founded: 1136 | Location: Stična, Slovenia

Olimje Castle

Olimje Castle is a 16th-century castle and currently a Franciscan monastery. The predecessor of the current castle occupied the site since c. 1000, and first belonged to the counts von Peilestein, including Hemma of Gurk, an 11th-century saint and member of the family. Around 1550, a Count Tattenbach rebuilt the castle in renaissance style, at the same time adding a defensive ditch to guard against Turkish incursions. I ...
Founded: 1550 | Location: Olimje, Slovenia

Pleterje Charterhouse

Pleterje Charterhouse is the only extant monastery of Carthusian order in Slovenia. The monastery was founded in 1403 by Count Hermann II of Celje, and its construction completed by 1407. In 1471 an Ottoman raid destroyed the buildings, which were reconstructed in a much stronger and more easily defensible manner. After a long period of decline Archduke Ferdinand II of Inner Austria gave the monastery in 1595 to the Jesu ...
Founded: 1403 | Location: Drča, Slovenia

Zice Charterhouse

The Žiče Charterhouse was a Carthusian monastery founded between 1155 and 1165 by Ottokar III of Styria, the Margrave of Styria. It was the first Carthusian monastery in the German sphere of influence of the time, and also the first outside France or Italy. The monastery also had one of the first pharmacies in what is now Slovenia. The monastery was settled by Carthusian monks from the Grande Chartreuse in France, whic ...
Founded: 1155-1190 | Location: Žiče, Slovenia

Jurkloster Monastery

Jurklošter settlement was first attested around 1145. It was the site of a large charterhouse (Carthusian monastery), of which the parish church, a later mansion and a defence tower remain. The monastery was founded in the 12th century. The church is dedicated to Saint Maurice and belongs to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Celje.
Founded: c. 1170 | Location: Jurklošter, Slovenia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.