Heritage Trails from the Idrijca to the Kolpa
Heritage Tours from the Idrijca to the Kolpa
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Kostel - Osilnica

At the southern edge of Slovenia lies a fairytale region of legends, a unique past, and a different present. Where the Kolpa and Čabranka rivers join, the traveller is greeted by towering cliffs above the valley of Slovenia's warmest river. In the past, the people of this long ignored area along the border called on heaven for help. In order to be heard, they built here seven churches dedicated to various patron saints.

We travel from Ljubljana through Pijava Gorica, Velike Lašče, Ribnica, and Kočevje to a region along the Kolpa River. The Land of Peter Klepec, a weak farm lad to whom the fairies granted immense strength in exchange for good deeds, amazes us from the first moment with the beauty of its landscapes. Before entering the land that Peter Klepec defended against its enemies with a tree he tore from the ground, we stop for a short break and lunch.
Before us on a towering rocky outcropping appears Kostel Castle (1), which due to is strategic position played an important historical role in the past. For a long time it resisted the attacks of the Turks, who finally captured it only through trickery: disguised as fleeing peasants and carrying babies in their arms, they convinced the guards to open the gates for them. The castle with its partially preserved Gothic core is gradually being restored, and during the visit you can learn many things about its history and about the past of the surrounding area.
Continuing on our way toward the village of Fara, we stop to see the fifteen-meter high Nežica waterfall beside the road. Folk tradition says it was named for a girl who drowned here together with the ox she was taking to water. We continue our journey along the Slovene side of the river that borders Croatia.
The Kolpa River leads us to Osilnica, Slovenia's smallest municipality. In spite of its small size, the Osilnica parish boasts an astounding seven churches (2). On a high outcrop overlooking the river below, the first we encounter is the church of St. Ana. In Bosljiva Loka stands the 17th-century church of St. Vid, and in Ribjek is the restored church of St. Egidija, which has a roof of wooden shingles. The interior boasts a coffered ceiling and a gold altar. The largest of the seven churches is the church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Osilnica, and the churches in Čačič, Papeži, and Žurge delight us with their pleasant appearance and outstanding viewpoints. After our pilgrimage to Osilnica's churches, we enjoy a meal at the Kovač gostilna in Osilnica.
This lively region invites us to simply relax or to enjoy the many forms of recreation from rafting to horseback riding and hiking that the area has to offer. Even on a modest visit, the valleys of the Kolpa River and the Čabranka River, which runs into the Kolpa near Osilnica, surprise us with their submediterranean and alpine vegetation and their many other natural features.

(1) Castellum Tourist Office, Fara 25, Vas (01/894-80-10, 041/754-094), by prior arrangement or
TŠD Kostel, Hrib 6, Vas (01/894-21-75)
(2) Osilnica Parish Office, Osilnica 21, Osilnica (01/894-16-30, 041/767-596), by prior arrangement or
TIC Osilnica, Osilnica 16, Osilnica (01/894-15-94)