History & culture
Numerous buildings that gained a position of ethnological monuments or heritage are the products of local creativity. This gives the imprint of exceptionality to the landscape, which is included in the natural protected area of Kozjanski Park. Ethnological monuments are areas, buildings, groups of buildings, everyday objects and other products that express the lifestyle of Slovenian, Italian and Hungarian people and of other nations living in this area. There are 96 ethnological monuments in Kozjanski Park.
The region included in Kozjanski Park is characterised by three landscape types, inter-dependent with folk architecture types. As a rule we could say that the homes are moderate, the proportion on the ground plans are lengthwise, the buildings are made of stone, originally made of wood, situated either into or next to the hillside, above the cellars. The sloping roofs are very steep, mostly equipped with “čop”, (a roof detail). For most part of the protected area, the dispersed settlements are typical, as the consequence of highly dispersed estates. It is not very usual for farmers to have all their estate around their houses.
From 1999 to 2000 Kozjanski Park carried out a systematic inventory of architectural heritage
. 3057 objects were listed. 1161 were documented. As regards to building material, the biggest part is a combination of stone and wood, and quite often only wood is used. Fire-baked bricks are the most frequent roofing material, followed by concrete bricks and of course Salonit roofs (asbestos and concrete), which in that time substituted the straw.
Source: Kozjanski park
Following the research done after the 2nd World War, Kozjanski Park was recognised as an important archaeological region. The earliest findings, various stone axes and hoes, are from the late Stone Age (Neolithic period). The findings from the Iron Age (the Hallstatt period) indicate the change of settlement image at that time, related to the arrival of new inhabitants from the East. Population greatly increased in the Roman period. Although the main Roman road avoided Kozjansko, two important side roads crossed here. Significant Roman settlements were in Buče, Golobinjek, Prelasko, Dekmanca, and in Hrastje near Bistrica ob Sotli. Their remains are hidden safely underground, waiting to be discovered.
Fun fact: Repnice
are caves, dug into pebble sand, which was deposited by the Pannonian Sea. The sand holes belong among the original natural, historical, ethnological and cultural heritage of this region and represent a point of interest on the vine and tourist road of the region Bizeljsko-Srem. The original name of these holes is “repnica – turnip hole”
and the name originates from the fact that people stored turnips among other crop in these holes. Because of the constant humidity of 95% and a temperature of 8º C, these holes were the most suitable place for storing the crop. Today they are sometimes still used for storing the crops but mostly they are used for ripening and storing of wine. Here visitors can taste the most typical wines of the vine region of Bizeljsko and Srem. Six “turnip holes” are open to the public at the moment: the repnica at Najger, the repnica at Balon, the repnica Graben, repnice Pudvoi, repnice at Kelher and the repnice of Kovačič family.
A rich heritage, pertaining to the history of art, developed through the centuries and made a major imprint to Kozjansko. The castle buildings originate from the 10th century and were built on the secured places. They had an important role of being the protective line at the Sotla river. So far, some of them have completely disappeared, while the others remain in ruins. Fortunately, some castles were preserved. These are: Pišece, Bizeljsko, Olimje and Podsreda.
Svete gore nad Podsredo
A gothic church stands on the top of the Gradišče hill, dedicated to the Mother of God of Seven Sorrows. There are also the Chapel of St. Ana and the chapel of St. Mohor and Fortunat. The way to the church is marked with the Stations of the Cross. The central church, which was formerly the pilgrim's church, originates from the 15th century. Large hewed pillars emphasise its original Gothic style. The interior is preserved in the original form only in a three-sided presbytery. There is a very interesting altar from the second part of the 18th century (late baroque) with the statue of Pieta, which was made around 1410. The statue was made in the old workshop in Ptujska Gora. The centre of the pilgrims' worship is a new statue of St. Mary, which stands on the baroque throne in the church. The Chapel of St. Ana dates back to the 14th century. The interior is formed in a unified style. The figurative painting with decoration, from 1902, is a work of Fr. Gornik. The Chapel of St. Mohor and Fortunat was founded at the beginning of the 15th century. Its original form is preserved only in the ground plan, hewed entrance portal, triumphal arch and rib-vaulted presbytery. Today’s neogothic furniture comes from the end of the 19th century. In that time, the church was transformed into the Last Station of the Cross.
The church of St. Mihael was first mentioned in 1167. The oldest part is the nave, to which a church tower was added in 1466. In the first part of the 18th century two chapels on the southern part were built. Later the nave was enlarged and raised with new arches. In that time they also built the presbytery and the northern chapel. In 1893 the church acquired a new main portal and a new interior painting. A large altar is dedicated to St. Mihael, and the altar in the first chapel on the right to Hema. Before Hema, it was dedicated to St. Janez Nepomuk. For this reason there is a statue of dead St. Janez Nepomuk in church canteen. It is an original local stonecutting product from the mid 19th century that reminds us of stone portals on market town houses. The pulpit is late baroque, too, while the church organ is from the end of the 18th century.
Zagaj - Svete gore
Svete Gore nad Bistrico ob Sotli are famous for beautiful Pilgrim Church of St. Mary. Beside this church there are also few chapels: St. George’s Chapel, St. Martin’s Chapel, St. Sebastian and Fabian’s Chapel and the Chapel of St. Mary of Lourdes. The St. Mary’s Church was first mentioned in 1265 as Monte Sancte Marie. A great rebuilding took place in the 17th century. In 1611, a bishop from Ljubljana, Tomaž Hren, consecrated the church. Both lateral naves were built around 1727, the main nave was raised and vaulted. Oratorio and choir were built to the vestry. The church was painted by Tomaž Fantoni between 1868 and 1871. Today’s early baroque church is designed as a basilica. In the main altar you can see the important events from the life of St. Mary and her relatives. In the nave, there are six lateral altars leaned to the columns. The pilgrims are turning toward Mary on the throne in the nave. The statue is especially interesting because Mary’s clothes get changed from time to time.
Fun fact: Zagaj (Svete gore) - Below the St. Mary’s church there are the St. George’s Chapel and the lower St. Martin’s Chapel. They both belong amongthe oldest sacral buildings in Slovenia. Their foundation is considered to have happened between the 9th and the 11th century. The archaeologists affirm that their origin dates back to the 6th century.
Podsreda was mentioned as a vicariate in the 15th century. In 1765, it became a parish church. The old church of John the Baptist was destroyed in fire. Only the presbytery with ribbed vaults is left, but it was turned into a mortuary and was used until 1871. In the 19th century a new church was built. The interior was made in late baroque with wonderful frescos painted by Tomaž Fantoni between 1877 and 1878. A large altar is a carved product from 1865. Above the altar, there is a painting that depicts baptism in the river Jordan. Lateral tabernacle style altars are from the 19th century. The left altar, which was formerly the main altar, has the statute of the Mother of God on the tabernacle. The statutes of angels are from the Castle Chapel of Pišece. The upper part of the right altar shows a group of Deisis and Magdalene, who kisses the feet of the Crucified. The pulpit from 1834 is the work of Ivan Herman from Graz. The baroque concept organ from 1822 is the work of Jožef Otonič from Maribor.
It stands on a small rocky stack in the village Bizeljska vas pri Orešju. It was first mentioned in 1441. It was built in the late Middle Ages in the tradition of circumferential castles. Today’s image of the castle expresses mainly renaissance features. The building has got only one floor and is partly built underground. Four tracts enclose the renaissance arcade yard with stone cistern. On the front side of the castle there is a chapel of St. Hieronimus from 1623. Below the castle, there are some old farm buildings.
It was build at the foot of a hill in Olimje. In 1404, it was mentioned as a court. Later, in 1550, Hans Tattenbach built a new castle. The present building has got typical Renaissance features. In the past, it consisted of four two-floored tracts with round towers, which enclosed the inner yard. The building was moated, with a drawbridge as the access. The main yard was decorated with arcades on all four sides. In 1663, the Paulines became the new owners and changed the castle to serve their interests. In the 19th century, Count Attems bought the castle and its property and ordered to pull down two tracts of the building.
With its geographical position just above the river Sotla, Kunšperk controlled the broader region all the way to Croatia, where it found its counterpart in the Croatian Cesagrad castle. It was built between 1167 -1174 on the grounds of the older castle, which had been destroyed by Henrik, the Bishop of Krško. The outline of the chosen place had an important influence on castle’s visual image in this region. Another crucial element is the basis of the castle. Its centre is formed by immense bergfrid. The last owners were the Windischgraetzs who united the property of Bizeljsko and Kunšperk. It is believed that the castle was abandoned at the end of the 18th century. In 1933, the northern residential tract fell down the precipice. Visitors can still see the ruins on a steep hill above the village Kunšperk.
Source: Kozjanski park