Slovenia boasts a very well preserved cultural heritage, a large part of which consists of churches and other religious buildings. Churches of various periods can be seen in Slovenia:
- Ancient Early Christian basilicas,
- Pre-Romanesque chapels,
- Gothic and Renaissance churches,
- Baroque and Neo-Romanesque churches,
- Modern churches. Hilltop churches
are a special feature of Slovenia. Religious communities
are another important element of religious heritage. Slovenia still has more than 30 active monasteries/friaries and five active convents.
Slovenia has many pilgrimage centres where, throughout history, people have come together on specific days to fortify themselves through faith, prayer and devotional songs. Pilgrimage centres
are thus places where people draw new strength. They help believers deepen their ties with God, while to non-believers they offer a wealth of historical and artistic sights of interest. The following are the most important pilgrimage centres in Slovenia:
– the Basilica of Mary, Help of Christians contains a famous painting of the Virgin and Child by Leopold Layer of Kranj. Around 300,000 believers visit Brezje each year.
- Ptujska Gora
– the most important pilgrimage route in the Štajerska region. The Gothic church with its early fifteen-century image of the Virgin Protectress with her Mantle is one of Slovenia's most beautiful churches. It receives over 60,000 visitors every year. Ptujska Gora is also a popular destination for hikers
- Sveta Gora above Solkan
– the Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption is Slovenia's oldest pilgrim church, built in a style between Gothic and Renaissance. Besides Slovenes, this 16th-century church receives many pilgrims from Friuli and elsewhere in Italy.
Two other important pilgrim churches are Velesevo
. Other important centres of pilgrimage are monasteries:
– Slovenia's oldest monastery (founded in 1132), home to a community of Cistercians or White Monks. Contains the largest collection of medieval manuscripts, including the fifteenth-century Stična Manuscript, one of the earliest documents written in Slovene.
- Pleterje Charterhouse
– founded in the 15th century, Pleterje is the only still active Carthusian monastery in Slovenia. There is an open-air museum in front of the monastery complex.
A number of pilgrimage routes lead to these centres of pilgrimage, which are the centre of spiritual life. Well-known pilgrimage routes in Slovenia:
- The Hemma Pilgrimage Trail
, named after St Hemma or Emma of Gurk. The trail continues into Austria.
- The Marian Pilgrimage Trail
is also connected with Austria.
- The St Martin Trail
enters Slovenia from Hungary.