Slovenj Gradec, with its medieval town centre, is
one of Slovenia's oldest towns. It was already mentioned as a town in 1267, and
had been mentioned as a market town a few years earlier. Slovenj Gradec is thus
an important infrastructural monument. Even though the buildings have more of a
19th century look, the town centre has still preserved its medieval design and is
now the epicentre for cultural and social life.
From the 14th century onwards, during the rule of
the House of Habsburg, the town was surrounded by a wall, with its traces still
seen behind the Mežek, Ozka, and Cankar streets, whereas a part of the old wall
is protected as an archaeological park. After the end of the Turkish and the
Hungarian raids, and when the walled town could not fit the whole population
anymore, building began outside the town walls, and the moat was purposefully
being filled up.
The most important chapter of Slovenj Gradec's
medieval past is connected with Henry IV of Andechs, the Margrave of Istria and
the Kamnik Lord, as well as with his brother and successor, Berthold V of
Andechs, the Patriarch of Aquileia. In 1251, Berthold V dedicated a church to
his niece, Elizabeth of Hungary, and so St. Elizabeth's Church is the oldest
building in Slovenj Gradec. Two Roman windows and a Roman nave are preserved
from the original building, with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements being
added to the church throughout the years. The furnishings date mostly from the
Next to St. Elizabeth's Church stands the Church of
the Holy Spirit, built in 1428 as a hospital chapel for the town almshouse. The
church belongs to the period of Gothic architecture and has got Baroque
furnishings, although the murals were done in the middle of the 15th century by
Andreas of Otting, a Bavarian fresco painter.
Beside the coins minted by the Andechs' coin mint,
as well as the rare structural elements found throughout the town, Berthold
also left behind an exceptional architectural monument of the late Romanesque
and the early Gothic period: a complex of a former castle chapel and St.
Pancras Church above the village of Stari Trg. Even as early as the end of the
11th century, a fortified castle stood here, presumably the earliest castle in
the Štajerska region, after the Rajhenburg Castle (also Reichenburg Castle) in
On the edge of the old town centre stands a
renovated Rotenturn Manor House, originating in the former Schulthauzinger
defence tower, first mentioned in the 15th century. The manor house with its
arcaded halls and a Baroque gate has seen many reconstructions, and is still
closely linked to the town life as a place of management of the Municipality of
Slovenj Gradec and the town mayor. The Rotenturn Manor House is also the main
entertainment venue during summer, hosting numerous events and concerts.