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Precious Art Heritage

For a thousand years architects, sculptors and painters have created a distinctive and diverse art heritage in the churches throughout the Vipava Valley that keeps enticing modern visitors. Archaeological finds suggest that the earliest churches in the valley were built in the 9th century, whilst the majority of those standing tall today were built in the 15th century. Later, in the 17th and 18th century, a few were added here and there, but most have undergone massive reconstruction in those two hundred years. From the Romanesque period up to the Gothic period, the churches of the Vipava Valley were furnished with precious artwork. The paintings in particular feature some outstanding pieces that easily qualify as cream of the crop in terms of Slovenian religious art.

The Basilica on Sveta Gora

The impressive basilica of the large pilgrim centre in Sveta Gora near Nova Gorica is a valuable monument of cultural history. The local shepherdess Urška Ferligoj supposedly witnessed a Marian apparition in 1539 in an earlier 14th century church that preceded the present one which was built soon thereafter. From this period, the Late Gothic statue of Mother of God with Jesus Christ, and the famous image of the Queen of the Holy Mountain, made by a Venetian painter, survive. The basilica was completely destroyed in the First World War. The present structure was built from 1924 to 1928 in the Neo-Baroque style. In addition to the remarkable Marian images, visitors can admire the intricately carved ceiling, Stations of the Cross, stained glass windows and the distinct bell tower with a set of magnificent bells. 

Information: TIC Nova Gorica and 


Pilgrimage Church of Our Lady of Consolation in Log

The grand pilgrimage church of Our Lady of Consolation in Log lies en route from Vipava to Ajdovščina, and was first mentioned in 1320. The original medieval building was rebuilt several times. The present-day three-nave floor plan was designed in the 18th century. The frescoes on the walls and on the arch of the presbytery were painted in the mid-19th century by Franz Kurz zum Thurn und Goldenstein. The grand marble altar was built in two stages, the final design being provided by the sculptor Geraldoni of Venice. The painting of Virgin Mary with Jesus was produced by Mihael Stroj in 1861. The church boasts a magnificent organ, and occasionally doubles as a concert venue.

Information and guided tours: TIC Vipava


Church of St. Stephen, Vipava

The fascinating design of the church in Vipava dates back to the mid-15th century, however the church underwent a complete renovation not even a century later. By the mid-18th century it was extended and added its identifiable tower that makes it stand out even today. It is noted for its evocative frescoes. The arch of the presbytery was painted by the famous Painter Franc Jelovšek from 1737 to 1738, and the walls were painted by Janez Wolf in the period 1876–1877. In addition to the Classicist white-marble altar skilfully crafted by Giambattista Zipperl of Gorica, the church houses 18th and 19th century paintings by various artists.

Information and guided tours: TIC Vipava

Church of St. Primus and Felician, Vrhpolje

The wine-growing village of Vrhpolje received a new church as a result of the economic prosperity at the end of the 19th century. From the older church of St. Cross that survived to this day, the consecration to St. Primus and Felician was transferred to the new church. At the time of its construction, the build was a massive undertaking for the diocese and the parish. Its full restoration in 2013 received considerable publicity, partly because of the awe-inspiring mosaic laid by friar Marko Ivan Rupnik. This artwork consisting of a string of Bible scenes creates an artistic and spiritual ambiance that entices numerous visitors.

Information and guided tours: TIC Vipava

Church of John the Baptist, Ajdovščina

The church – presumably built in Late Antiquity on the site of an abandoned Roman cemetery – was first recorded in 1507. Rebuilt in the mid-18th century, its new face was the work of Anton Cebej, a renowned painter born in the hamlet of Šturje, which is today a part of Ajdovščina, on the left bank of the Hubelj River. Circa 1769, Cebej made three frescoes on the ceiling, and the Way of the Cross which is his piece de resistance in this church. Carefully restored in the 1990s, this tour de force ranks among the oldest and best known Baroque Ways of the Cross in the country. 

Information and guided tours: TIC Ajdovščina


Church of St. Peter, Dobravlje

Behind the distinct Gothic exterior of the church of St. Peter near Dobravlje is virtually a museum of the artwork by Baroque painter Anton Cebej. Upon entering the church, the first thing you see is the opulent Baroque altarpiece painted by Cebej. Behind the marble altar, Anton Cebej painted an architectural altarpiece that enriches the chancel’s interior. Along with the breath-taking ceiling frescoes, there are two more highly compelling altarpieces by Cebej; the painting of St. John and Paul in particular steals the show and features the first view of the Vipava Valley facing Vipavski Križ.

Information and guided tours: TIC Ajdovščina

Con-Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Nova Gorica

Finished in 1982 according to the plans of architect Franc Kvaternik, the parish church of Christ the Saviour in Nova Gorica boasts a striking contemporary architectural design. The Way of the Cross and the sculpture of Christ the Saviour (over 5 metres tall) were crafted by sculptor Stane Jarm in a contemporary Expressionist style. Jarm also created the statue of the Mother of God with Child in the side chapel. In 2004, the church was made the first con-cathedral in Slovenia, and is as such equal to the main diocese church. 

Information: TIC Nova Gorica