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

Wawel Castle

Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.

After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Kraków (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.

When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.