Slovenia is predominantly a Catholic country, with most of its churches belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. Some people claim that Slovenia boasts the highest number of religious buildings per capita in the world. While I can’t confirm this, it’s undeniable that the country is teeming with churches. Some of these hilltop churches have become popular photography spots, given their scenic locations that act as magnets for photographers. These churches are usually small, adding to their quaint appeal. This post is about seven of the most beautiful church interiors that I have had the privilege to photograph. Let’s proceed to the first.
Ljubljanska Stolnica / Ljubljana Cathedral
The St. Nicholas Cathedral in Ljubljana is quite unassuming from the outside. Its plain yellow facade hardly boasts any decorations, and because of the surrounding buildings, it’s difficult to see and appreciate its size and the two bell towers. However, as one gets closer, the artwork on both of its entrances catches the eye. The main entrance displays a graphic representation of the history of Christianity in Slovenia, while the side door features representations of the most important bishops of Ljubljana.
The true marvel reveals itself inside. The frescoes of the ceiling, the stunning altars, the beautiful organ, and the overall atmosphere are all-encompassing. The Ljubljanska Stolnica just might be one of the most beautiful churches in Slovenia!
St Jacob Church / Cerkev Sv Jakoba, Škofja Loka
When you step into St. Jacob Church (Župnijska Cerkev Sv. Jakoba) in Škofja Loka, you’ll notice the darkness inside. This contributes to a mysterious and peaceful atmosphere but makes photography quite challenging. Luckily, there’s a simple solution. At the back of the church, there’s a lighting machine where one can insert coins to turn on the lights! With the church beautifully illuminated, one can fully appreciate the intricate ceiling and artworks by master architect Jože Plečnik. In my opinion, this church has the most beautiful ceiling in Slovenia!
St Peter Church / Cerkev Sv Petra, Radovljica
Radovljica is one of the most beautiful and best-preserved medieval towns in Slovenia. Walking through the old town feels like stepping back in time. Only the occasional car or person with a cell phone to anchor us back in reality. The St. Peter Church is located at the town’s edge, situated on what was once a glacier moraine. If the church is locked, you might try your luck and ask for the key at the adjacent župnija.
Once inside, don’t forget to look up! The “Star of Angels” is the church’s most stunning artwork. But don’t overlook the rest of the church – it’s filled with beauty if you simply open your eyes.
Pilgrimage Church / Romarska Cerkev, Ptujska Gora
Ptujska Gora church will impress you long before you even get there. The church itself is huge, and its position on top of the hill makes it visible from far away. This is an important pilgrimage site, and the church is famous for a wooden relief of Mary the Patroness with a mantle, which truly is a unique work of art. The stained glass windows create a beautiful light that fills the church and generates wonderful colors for photography.
There is also an information center adjacent to the church, which is worth visiting. And one of my absolute favorite Slovenian photographers, Stojan Kerbler, lives here. He has masterfully documented the lives of local people in the area—a true inspiration.
Gornji Grad Cathedral / Katedrala v Gornjem Gradu
This beautiful white Baroque church stands out of Gornji Grad cityscape due to its immense size. It is one of the largest churches in Slovenia, if not the largest. The white, elegant exterior continues inside, making the church feel even more spacious. It is one of the most elegant Baroque churches I’ve seen. It’s worth spending time exploring the church. There are unique masterpieces all around the church. The local priest is also very pleasant, helpful, and ready to dedicate time to introducing visitors to the history and art of the church.
Crngrob Church / Cerkev v Crngrobu
My first visit to Crngrob was 20+ years ago when I was studying for my tour guide license. The church was part of the practical exam, and I needed to know about its history and artwork. I still remember the legends of the Ajdovska deklica (Giant Pagan Girl), the Turkish horseshoe dent, and the story of the church’s most famous fresco of Sveta Nedelja on the outside wall.
The church is usually closed, so if you want to see the interior, I suggest checking the website for the schedule of services. Usually, when a service ends, there is enough time to visit the church and marvel at its beauty. There might even be a guide around, happy to tell you all about its history and art. The church at Crngrob is definitely one of the most interesting churches in Slovenia!
Solčava Church / Marija Snežna v Solčavi
Solčava is a quaint village on the way to Logarska Valley. Most people simply drive through to reach the Alps and never stop here. What a miss! This remote, small village hides one of the gems of churches in Slovenia. The Church of Virgin Mary of the Snow surprises everyone who steps inside. Its simple, elegant, and artful interior will captivate you for a long time. Even the little cemetery surrounding the church is worth exploring. It’s possible to climb the bell tower and enjoy views of the village. Last but not least, across the village there is a viewpoint from where the church itself can be beautifully photographed.
Churches in Slovenia – Conclusion
These are my seven choices for the churches with the most impressive and photogenic interiors in Slovenia. Of course, this list is not exhaustive; several other churches could easily be added, such as The Church of the Holy Trinity in Hrastovlje, St George’s Church in Piran, Plečnik’s Church at Bogojina, and St Martin’s Church at Lake Bled, to name a few.
What do you think? Which church do you like the most from the photos above? Have you visited any of them? Do you have any suggestions for which church I should go and photograph next? Thank you for reading!