Hrastovlje Church

Črni Kal, Slovenia

Holy Trinity Church is a historical building in Hrastovlje. There are two hypotheses about its origin. According to the first, it is a Romanesque church from the 12th century. According to the second, it is an example of the Istrian variant of Early Venetian Renaissance architecture from the 15th century. The church stands behind a wall that the local population built to protect itself from Turkish attacks in the 16th century.

The church and wall were built on bare rock, and for this reason do not have deep foundations. The church is built mostly out of stone, as is typical for the entire coastal region. The stones were never entirely covered in an outer layer of plaster, and it is thus possible to see how the church was built. One can see that top of the church spire was rebuilt at some time, although it is not known why. The church is topped with tiles made of thick plates. These are characteristic for older roofs in the Mediterranean region.

The church has only 2 windows (a third window was walled up in the past) as a result of the local weather conditions. In summer, a room with a small window was protected from the sun, while in winter it was protected from the bora. Because of the low number of windows, the inside of the church is however very dark. In 1896, a hole was knocked in the northern wall to create a new window, but unfortunately some of the frescoes in the church were destroyed at the same time.

Despite the lack of windows, the church nonetheless used to be better lit than it is today. This is the result of the addition of the powerful outer wall, which robs the church of much of its light.

Because of its height, the church is classed as a multi-layered church. The church in Hrastovlje differs from all other pilgrim churches in that its bell-tower is located on the western side and in that all other pilgrim churches have small wooden towers.

The church is 11.7 metres long and 6.05 metres wide and thereby one of the smallest churches in the area. It is not even as large as the average village church. Some claim that the church is an example of IstrianRenaissance architecture from the second half of the 15th century.

The appearance of the northwestern entrance to the church, as known today, dates back to around 1776. The original entrance was probably next to the bell-tower.

The church has been painted with Gothic frescoes by Johannes de Castua in 1490. Some of them include letters in the Glagolitic script. The most famous of these frescoes is a Dance of Death or 'Danse Macabre'.



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Founded: 12th century
Category: Religious sites in Slovenia

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User Reviews

A V (52 days ago)
12 th century church with amazing frescoes painted in the late 15th century. They include a unique Dance of Death fresco. Extremely well explained by staff with a nice recording. Well worth a visit.
Andjelka (7 months ago)
I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Church of Sv. Trojice in Hrastovlje, Slovenia, and I must say it was a truly remarkable experience. This hidden gem nestled in the heart of Slovenia offers a captivating blend of history, art, and spirituality that left me in awe. Upon entering the church, I was greeted by a very friendly and patient man who served as our guide. His extensive knowledge of the church's history and the stories behind its intricate artwork enriched my visit immensely. His warm hospitality made me feel welcome and well-informed throughout the tour. One of the standout features of this church is the wealth of wonderful images it houses. The interior is adorned with breathtaking artwork that tells a unique and thought-provoking story of life and death. The intricate depictions within the church are unlike anything I've seen before, and they provide a captivating insight into the cultural and artistic heritage of the region. What makes this visit even more enticing is the availability of an audio guide in multiple languages, which allows you to delve even deeper into the rich history and symbolism of the church with the simultaneous help by the guide. The reasonable admission fee of 5 euros is a small price to pay for the treasure trove of history and art you'll encounter within these walls.
Paul Guijt (10 months ago)
Slovenia's hidden crown jewel. The hostess always starts an audio guide, often in your language. Even in Dutch! Be sure to buy the 2 euro brochure that includes the full dance and other info.
Uros R. (13 months ago)
Great place to visit. See my video on YouTube - my channel is Big Joe Cheap Travels
Paul Heller (2 years ago)
This remote part of Slovenia is worth driving to for the beautiful scenery. About 25 minutes from Koper is this historical church atop a hill with outstanding views. It's quiet. Didn't go inside as you need to call a number for someone to let you in. Open 9-16 weekdays and costs 3eur. However you can walk around the outside. Some parking on site. Worth a visit.
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The exact age of the Church of the Holy Cross is unknown, but it was built to serve as the monastery church of the Rauma Franciscan Friary. The monastery had been established in the early 15th century and a wooden church was built on this location around the year 1420.

The Church of the Holy Cross served the monastery until 1538, when it was abandoned for a hundred years as the Franciscan friary was disbanded in the Swedish Reformation. The church was re-established as a Lutheran church in 1640, when the nearby Church of the Holy Trinity was destroyed by fire.

The choir of the two-aisle grey granite church features medieval murals and frescoes. The white steeple of the church was built in 1816 and has served as a landmark for seafarers.