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Churches and wayside shrines

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Churches and wayside shrines

Being the dominant religion, Christianity has left its mark in the form of numerous churches and wayside shrines (kapelica). In the area of the Notranjska Regional Park, there are more than 30 different churches.

In the past, churches had many roles. Besides their fundamental, spiritual one, they also acted as centres of village life and, on many occasions, village banks. Some of them were upgraded into fortifications for protection against the Ottoman raids.

When speaking of churches, we cannot overlook the numerous architectural marvels – the church of St. Wolfgang is famous for its three-leafed clover floor plan, and the churches of St. Peter in Dolenje Jezero and St. Vitus in Martinjak for their wooden painted ceilings.

Churches often feature remnants of the past. In the church of St. Peter, there is a chandelier that was crafted in the former glass workshop in the Javorniki hills, whereas the church of St. Stephen in Lipsenj is a specialty among churches because of its low bell tower. Also interesting are the ruins of the church of St. Cantianus in the Rakov Škocjan valley, and the church of St. Nicholas on Mount Slivnica.

Christian wayside shrines, too, have always played an important role. The shrine by the old road between Rakek and Cerknica was built to commemorate a battle between the Austro-Hungarian and French armies, whereas the shrine above Grahovo, dedicated to St. Florian and St. Nicholas, may indicate the location of a former church.

Number of existing churches: 38
Oldest written reference to a church: 1040
Period of Josephinian reforms – dissolution of churches:  end of 18th century
Arson of the church in Cerknica:  1472
See also

Lake Cerknica

The Križna jama cave

The Javorniki hills