Visitors are drawn to the eye-catching architecture, colourful frescoes and marble floors of European churches and Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia has it’s fair share of them.
These are only five of the great Churches we found in Ljubljana. Their eye-catchingly different facades and cool locations each have a story to tell.
This is a Budget Travel Talk’s Do It Yourself Budget Tour (this one is totally cost free).
The Chapel of St. George
Inside, the chapel (1489) is intimate with three long deep set gothic windows, old patchy walls and a brightly painted Baroque ceiling. Marty and I married in our own back garden, beneath a tin roof while a tropical downpour drowned out the celebrant’s voice, but if we were to be married in a church this one could be the one.
Claim to Fame: The Coats of Arms of local governors (Dukes of Carniola) were painted on the ceilings in 1747. Churches rarely (if ever) include secular decorations, making the chapel renowned throughout Europe.
Cool Location: 375 metres above town inside the grounds of Ljubljana Castle. The Chapel can be found by it’s partially exposed exterior stone walls on ground level beneath the castle tower. As you can see this is no ruined castle – I’m pretty sure it’s the most civilised castle we’ve visited. It’s pristine exterior white walls are reminiscent of a Spanish style monastery and you’d never guess at it’s mountain top location. It even has an art gallery and funicular.
Note: You need to pay to visit some parts of the Castle (like the tower). When we visited (2015) the Chapel was free.
Ursuline Church of the Holy Trinity.
Situated in Slovene Street, this baroque style church with Italian influences was finished in 1726. On first sight I fell in love with the building’s wavy roof line and strong facade of columns, then seeing the small cross on top, realised I was looking at a church. The interior walls are all white, embellished in gold paint and the floor black and white marble tiles. The alter of coloured African marble was carved between 1730/40.
6.30 – 7.30, 9.00 – 11.00, 16.00 – 19.00
Cool Location. The Church sits on the western edge of Congress Square – a square which has marked the milestones of Slovenia’s history. The name originated from the ceremonies of Congress held here, but after a park with star shaped paths was built within, a new name emerged – Star Park. Under Communist Rule it became Revolution Square and afterward Liberation Square. It saw independence from the Austrian/Hungarians in 1918 and Tito’s post WWII speech. It hosted demonstrations that led to Slovenia’s Independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. In 1999 another speech was made here, this time by Bill Clinton, the first American President to visit Slovenia. Wow what a location.
Franciscan monastery with the Church of the Annunciation
This Parish Church is a Cultural Monument of National Significance, it’s colour, at first red but now faded to a gorgeous salmon pink shade, is a symbol of the Franciscan Order. The Church itself was finished in 1660 with the bell towers being added later. There was a severe earthquake in Ljubljana in 1895 destroying the frescoed ceiling, which was redone in 1935. The monastery is hidden behind.
Closed 12.30 to 1.30 p.m. daily.
Church of the Annunciation (the gold building next to it is Urbanc House mentioned later).
A lively choir rocking it on the church steps.
Cool Location. Preseren Square is one of the most vibrant parts of town. By day the scene is set by a costumed piano-accordion player serenading the crowds as they migrate through the square to Triple Bridge and into old Ljubljana. At night the whole square glows, highlighting the church and Urbanc House (the gold building in the photo above). The Art Nouveau Urbanc House, Ljubljana’s first department store, was modelled on stores in Vienna, Paris and Budapest. It has a gorgeous art nouveau glass and wrought iron portico cover.
Church of St. Peters – Roman Catholic Church
From Preseren Square follow Trubarjeva Cesta east, past the shoes on the wire, until just before Njegoseva Cesta to a totally different looking Church. The current church of St. Peters built in 1733 by baroque architect Giovanni Fusconi, is said to be inspired by those in Venice, but there have been churches here as far back as 1262. We didn’t get beyond the amazing exterior, but the interior is known for it’s outstanding frescoes.
Address: Trubarjeva cesta 80 1000 Ljubljana
In the setting sun.
Cool Location. St. Peters is just around the corner from gates that control the flow of the Ljubljanica River. I’ve written about them before here. I’ve included the map below because it is difficult to find the Sluice Gates on Google Maps. In Slovene the gates are called Zapornica na Ljubljanici Most. Most translates to bridge but it is not possible to cross the river via the sluice gates. For some reason google maps wants us to cross the river on Rozmanova ulica to view the gates, but they are equally visible from the other side of the river.
Ljubljana Cathedral or Church of St. Nicholas.
Across the Sluice Gates from St. Peters, in the old part of town, are the landmark twin towers and green dome of Ljubljana Cathedral. Everyone is familiar with the exterior, but step inside and be blown away by the interior.
This bronze door at the west entrance is one of two installed in 1996 to commemorate a visit by Pope John Paul II. It depicts 1250 years of Christianity in Slovenia.
Cool Location. Cyril and Methodius Square, the address of the Cathedral, is in a bustling part of town. Ljubljana Central Market is close and the side stairs of the Cathedral are a gathering place for the Friday night Open Kitchen food market, in action below.
Do you think that all great churches have a cool location – and if so did the cool area beget the great church or vice versa?
A map of the whole route with directions in order of this post.
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