Monasteries in 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.

The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

The three-level elevation with arches, triforium and galleries seems more uniform and expresses anglo-Norman influence in the thickness of the walls (Norman passageway at the gallery level) or the decorative style (heavy mouldings, decorative frieze under the triforium). This building site would have to have been overseen in one shot. Undoubtedly interrupted by the war of Succession (1341-1364) it draws to a close with the building of the lierne vaults (1410) and the fitting of stained-glass windows. Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and Duke Jean V, whose coat of arms would decorate these vaults, finished the chancel before starting on the building of the facade and the nave.

Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).

The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.