Heritage Trails through Dolenjska and Bela krajina in Slovenia
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Empires, invaders and settlers


Pilgrimage churches, 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 gora.
a pocket HISTORY

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.