Empires, invaders and settlers
with onion shaped cupolas on hilltops, are characteristic
of Dolenjska. When there were too many pilgrims to crowd
inside, the outdoor pulpit and altar were used. You can
see these at Stopno, Trška Gora and Golobinjek and Žalostna
The Romans had a garrison
at Trebnje, but there is good evidence of people living here long
before they arrived. The Dolenjska Museum in Novo mesto displays
priceless finds of jewellery, swords and vessels decorated with
birds and figures. Do not miss the Hallstatt helmet spectacularly
slashed by an axe.
The Slavic ancestors
of today's Slovenians arrived in the 6th century. The land they
settled has, until 1918, been part of succeeding European empires
including the Carolingian and finally the Austro-Habsburg empire.
Ottoman Turks repeatedly
attacked in the 15th and 16th centuries. Castles were built and
manor houses fortified with steep roofs and corner bastions; and
foreign nobles built grand houses in the 1700s. But the area has
remained essentially Slovenian, with a notable flowering of Slovenian
arts and letters in the 18th century.
The Church has been
important in the life of the country and churches are often prominent
landmarks. Many of them look Baroque in style, but are Gothic in
origin. Look inside for frescoes and surprisingly delicate and restrained
Baroque altarpieces as at Mirna (see left), Šentrupert, Vesela Gora
(see page 7) and Stopiče (see map - A). Vaulted ceilings are often
painted with a delicate tracery of flowers. If the church is locked,
the priest or neighbour will usually let you in.