Address: Hrastovlje, Hrastovlje, 6275 Črni Kal
The fortified Church of the Holy Trinity from the 16th century stands on an elevation above the village and was built as defence against the Turks and also to protect the village residents in the later Austro-Venetian wars.
The fortification was built by the Neuhaus family on the site of a prehistoric hill fort whose stones were largely used in the construction of the defensive wall and two defence towers. The encampment wall is an irregular rectangle 32 metres long, 16 metres wide and about 8 metres high, even though the top of the wall already shows the ravages of time. The encampment wall still has preserved loopholes. There are two cylindrical towers in the exposed corners, with the first tower defending the only entrance, which is on the village side. The Church of the Holy Trinity stands in the midst of the walls and its exterior shows a wonderful construction made of cut stone blocks. The church building was constructed in Romanesque tradition in the second half of the 15th century and was consecrated in 1475 by the Bishop of Pićan Pascasio di Gallignana. The succursal church was part of the Kubed parish. The originally whitewashed church with its linear interior decorations was figured and ornamented from top to bottom towards the end of the Middle Ages. The ornamental paintings followed a complex iconographic programme desiring to capture the entire story of redemption and thus going far back into the Middle Ages. The inscription found in the interior of the church tells us that work was concluded on St. Margaret’s Day in 1490, that it was ordered by the priest of Kubed Tomić Vrhović and was created by master John of Kastav. The original paving was done in 1518 by master Anton Damidun, while stone slabs replaced it in the Baroque period. The interior was repainted in the 18th century, probably after 1700, as Bishop Paolo Naldini still mentions it in his Corografia Ecclesiastica. He mentions five altars that were partially carved and gilded (as were a number of other golden altars in the 17th century) and partially adorned with ancient paintings (probably referring to the side altars). The altars in the side apses were probably removed in the 19th century when the southern apse was used as a passage to the vestry, which was built in 1896. The marble altar in the Baroque style that extended across the entire altar space replaced the former high altar. After the wall paintings were discovered, this altar was moved to the vestry. The interior of the church is divided into three apparent naves separated by semicircular arches on round pillars. All three naves are barrel vaulted (a longitudinal barrel vault) and both side naves are concluded with semicircular apses hidden in the thick wall. The lower part of the bell tower (18.78 m) was constructed at the same time as the church and was part of it from the beginning. This is evident from the construction of the northern wall, which continues into the bell tower. The type of construction changes drastically in the upper two thirds of the bell tower, proving that its top was probably rebuilt in Baroque times. The paintings were discovered under numerous layers of whitewash in 1949 by local academic sculptor Jože Pohlen and medieval frescoes were being uncovered for almost ten years under the watchful eye of Prof. Mirko Šubic. In the 1970s, the former Piran Inter-Municipal Institute for the Protection of Natural and Cultural Heritage organised a monument conservation campaign, restoring the church architecture, frescoes and the refurbishment and presentation of architecture in fortifications. The work for refurbishing the church and the structural strength began in 1979/80 and the frescoes were restored in 1981/85 by the Restoration Centre of the Republic of Slovenia. The interior now holds high quality Gothic paintings from the fresco workshop of John of Kastav depicting Biblical scenes from Genesis, the life of Mary and Jesus and various saints. The church also offers secular images, such as the depiction of months and smaller still lives. The famous Dance of Death on the southern wall undoubtedly extends beyond local importance. The hill opposite the church, along the path leading to Dol, holds the Statue of Šavrinka by academic sculptor Jože Pohlen who presented the statue to the village on the 500th anniversary of the Hrastovlje frescoes. The author designed the monument of Šavrinka (a woman from Slovenian Istria) as a caryatid symbolising Slovenian Istria, the treats of its nature and the produce of diligent hands, as she is carrying a basket (plenjer) on her head that used to be carried by local women when carrying home produce to sell in the littoral towns and in Trieste.
Titov trg 3
Tel. : ++386 5 664 64 03
GPS Northing (N) : 45,509915
GPS Easting (E) : 13,9016