When driving from Ljubljana towards Ribnica and Kočevje it is worth stopping at Nova Štifta. It is just a short detour in direction of Sodražica village. Located on top of a hill (formerly called Brinov grič or Juniper hill), the church of Assumption of Mary dominates the area. It must be one of the most beautiful churches in Slovenia. Definitely a worthy photo stop! I recently visited it again with my son.
The Nova Štifta Church
The church dates back to mid 17th century and was commissioned by the local lord from Ribnica, Jurij Khisl. The baroque church features octagonal nave with impressive 20m high dome. The size of the church is not only in its high belltower but in the width as well. It looks massive, much larger that one would expect in this unassuming countryside. Nowadays the church is managed by Franciscan monks who reside in the adjacent building. I visited this place a few times before, also as a child. I always loved the tree house, located on an ancient linden tree in front of the church. My son was delighted that the house is still accessible by steep wooden stairs and we climbed all the way up.
Photographing the Church
When my son and I arrived it was snowing. Fresh layer of snow covered everything and I wanted to capture this from the air. From the air I was able to capture the size of the church even better. And the octagonal nave is clearly visible from the sky. Next I focused on the exterior where I wanted to get a shot of the church and the linden tree with the tree house in one photo. I think winter is the best time to photograph here as it reveals the tree house nicely. Luckily the church was unlocked so I photographed the interior as well. Wide angle lens was my choice however there are enough interesting details that one can capture with longer lens. In conclusion, this short trip was very successful in terms of photography.
Where to go from Nova Štifta
In addition, one can visit nearby areas such as Ribnica old town and its castle. Next, nearby there are two of my favourite regions to photograph nature, Kočevsko and Notranjska. Or you can extend your trip all the way to Bela Krajina and Kolpa river!