SLOVENJ GRADEC MEDIEVAL TOWN CENTRE

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 Baroque period.

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 Brestanica.

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.


If you take a stroll through Slovenj Gradec's town centre you can not only visit the aforementioned churches and manor house but also The Gallery of Fine Arts, the Koroška Regional Museum, and the Hugo Wolf Memorial Museum. You can enjoy some refreshments in one of the lovely cafes, and with so much to offer, Slovenj Gradec will surely leave a unique mark. If you're in Slovenj Gradec for a longer period of time, then you should certainly visit St. Pancras Church above the village of Stari Trg, where you can have a look at the Counts of Andechs permanent exhibition in the old arsenal nearby. For the more active ones, we suggest climbing up Rahtel Hill for a great scenic view over Slovenj Gradec and its surrounding areas.
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