The all-new stories of Paradise Valley
Inspiration for Brand New Experiences
Life follows an unpredictable course. Only when looking back can we trace its rises and falls, and what's perhaps most close to heart, those precious things that stay on our mind. Ever wonder why Vipava Valley winemakers are so committed to preserving their indigenous old varieties? Why it is that the people of the Goriška region are resolved to erase frontiers, creating a unique twin-city harmony of two Goricas that breathes with an inspiring cross-border spirit? In the Vipava Valley and Goriška we are now presenting four great historical events taking place in these lands, illuminating the local landmarks they left behind and reviving their stories, accessible through unique immersive experiences. Discover the mysteries of the paradise valley!
Roman Fortress Castra
Near Ajdovščina, a great 4th-century battle shaped the course of European history. The site of the city began as a Castra fortress, ancient Roman military stronghold built in the second half of the 3rd and early 4th century to protect the eastern borders of the empire. In 394, the famous Battle of the Frigidus took place nearby, with the victory of Christian emperor Theodosius over his pagan rival setting the way for Christianity as a state religion. Legend has it that the battle was decisively affected by the powerful burja wind, which swept aside the arrows of the losing army. To this day Ajdovščina has preserved a compact section of the Roman walls with many towers of the former fortification, a unique case in Slovenia. Ajdovščina is also the single Slovenian town arising from the foundations of a late-antiquity military encampment. Many cultures left their indelible traces here, and today you can discover them through the eyes of Ajdovščina-born painter Veno Pilon and visit the Pilon Gallery. Or you can simply walk the remnants of the ancient fort and unwind in the relaxed Mediterranean beat of the restored city core.
The mighty Rihemberk Castle above the village Branik was for centuries the centre of the agricultural and cultural development of lands at the crossroads of the Vipava Valley and the Kras. The castle complex, one of the oldest in Slovenia, first originated in early 13th century on top of another, yet older prehistoric settlement. Early on the walled castle was fitted with an impressive, still visible tower, while additional buildings and defensive structures were added in the following centuries. The Lanthieri noble lineage who owned the castle for over 400 years refurbished it into a lavish palace by the end of the 19th century. The wars of the 20th century then nearly demolished the castle, and a gradual restoration, which is still underway, began after the Second World War. Today, its walls surrounded by fascinating nature are home to a bat colony. The castle is open for visit from spring to autumn, while passionate explorers can adventure on the unique Lords of Paradise experience, immersive journey across castles, rivers, homesteads and vineyards of the Vipava Valley.
Medieval Vipavski Križ
The Vipavski Križ with its castle on a hill near Ajdovščina was once an important market town, a hub of trade and the spiritual and cultural centrepiece of the Vipava Valley. The great story of the tiny Vipava settlement, now one of the most beautiful cultural history monuments in Slovenia, begins in 1483 when the last count of Gorizia ordered a camp built in the Križ for defence against the Ottoman raids. The Vipavski Križ Castle is fist mentioned in records from 1535. Safe behind walls, the community flourished economically across centuries, receiving market town rights in the 16th century as the smallest city in the empire. In the 17th century, the counts Attems renovated the Vipavski Križ and built a Capuchin monastery. The monastery now keeps a precious library and an extraordinary fine arts collection. Castle remnants and alleys of the nicely restored Vipavski Križ play a scenic settings to wine festivals preserving the memory of historical wine trade, and a variety of cultural events. To get to know its soul choose the Medieval Vipavski Križ experience, which also takes you on a foodie exploration of the flavours and scents of the Vipava Valley.
In 1906, the Bohinj Railway connected Vienna with Trieste, bringing major progress to places along the way. As part of this famous track a stone bridge over the River Soča was built in Solkan, now a worldwide construction marvel. The Solkan Bridge with its arch running 85 metres in length is the biggest railway stone arch in the world. This engineering masterpiece built from chiselled blocks remains a monument to technological progress. During the Great War the bridge had been destroyed and then renovated according to original design between 1925 and 1927, preserving its primacy among stone arches as well as its original purpose. With the outstanding vista across the banks of the emerald River Soča, it attracts visitors and stands as a symbol of daring adventure. Would you like to visit the bridge and test your sporting chops? Book a unique adrenaline adventure that connects the Solkan Bridge and challenging outdoor sports activities with the fascinating history of the frontier region.