The squares and medieval buildings of the spa and beer making city tell great stories. Nearby churches and chapels offer spectacular views of the countryside and mining sites. The monastery in the hidden Gračnica Valley surprises with star gazing opportunities and ancient Celtic beliefs. Find the inspirations for your own life’s story in #myLaško.
WILD VICARAGE (DIVJI FAROVŽ) ON HUM HILL
The majestic pyramid-shaped Hum hill above Laško is the scene of many stories and legends. Besides its natural beauty it also holds a fabled vicarage’s fair lady’s treasure.
At a place that is now a stone cavity, called Wild Vicarage (Divji farovž), was once, at a time when priests were allowed to marry, a home of a vicar and his beautiful daughter.
While she was growing up her father was decreed to a life of celibate, which he refused and moved to a hunter’s cabin on Hum hill with his wife and daughter. The new vicar isolated him from the locals and his homestead, now named the Wild Vicarage, allowed him to hunt in the forests surrounding Laško and Celje as his only source of survival.
Once upon a time the fair lady’s beauty tempted a wild hunter. He promised three tubs of gold to the vicar if he can marry his daughter. Almost tempted by the fortune that was waiting outside his door, he was stopped by his daughter and wanted to swiftly cancel the arrangement. In his anger, the devilish suitor picked up his heavy ax and hit the front door of the house so hard that the ground beneath him split and swallowed the Wild Vicarage whole, including the fair lady and the hunter’s treasure.
Vicarage’s fair lady and her treasure are now awaiting for a young man to break her curse. It is said that this can only happen every one-hundred years on the midsummer’s night. No one knows which night will reveal the shine of the treasure. So far no innocent young man sitting on a moss seat managed to answer all of fair lady’s questions, that day is surely yet to come!
Old town centre squares
Valvasorjev, Orožnov and Aškerčev trg squares give the the old city centre its signature look. On Orožnov trg square, which used to be the home of the craftsmen, you can find Medusa, a mythological character with snakes in place of hair which shows that Laško area was inhabited as early as in Roman times. Aškerčev trg square, which was established under the castle mount in the 12th and 13th century is surrounded by the reminders of Laško’s rich past. A column topped by a statue of Mary which was originally positioned next to the church in Marija Gradec sits at the centre of the square. Laško’s Tourist Information Centre (TIC Laško) is housed on Valvasor trg square, in the same building that the first barrel of beer was brewed.
Lilie family manor house
The manor house’s majestic courtyard with a well is nowadays a venue for numerous events in the old town centre. On the way to the mayor's office and Laško Municipality Administrative Unit, at the entrance portal, the Lilie family coat of arms dating back to 1676, can still be seen today. The building complex which is now the administrative centre of Laško was historically also used as a blood court with an adjoining prison.
In 1825, the first barrel of beer was brewed by mead and gingerbread maker Franc Gayer in the Špital building, dating back to 1440 and previously used as a home for old and disabled people. Originally it neighboured a church dedicated to St. Elisabeth and is one of the oldest buildings in Laško, now housing the Tourist Information Centre (TIC Laško) complete with a shop where you can buy souvenirs and homemade delicacies.
Arch-parochial church of st. Martin
The bell tower, central nave and ribbed vault ceiling are the original features that date back to the 12th and 13th century. The architectural style know as the “Laško group”, which was first featured in the Carthusian monastery church in Jurklošter, makes this church with ten altars built during the the Baroque one of Slovenia’s most important Romanesque buildings.
Between 1530 and 1533, the historic building was the home of Primož Trubar, vicar, Protestant reformer and the father of the first book printed in Slovene, Abecedarium. The rectory, that was built around the 12th century, is connected to the St. Martin church by an adjoining corridor.
In 1865, the first Slovenian translation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet was written in this very building by Karl Šauperl, translator and curate. As of the second half of the 16th century, if not earlier, the church’s school lessons were held in the curacy, until a local three-subject “trivial” school opened in 1774.
Chapel of John of Nepomuk, Laško
John of Nepomuk, the patron saint of raftsmen, gave his blessings to numerous rafts on the Savinja river, as well as protected the town from flooding. The statue shows the saint holding a finger to his lips; legend has it that he had refused to reveal the secrets of a confessional, which led to his death as a martyr.
The mighty renaissance mansion, now housing the Laško library was built in the 16th century and named after its owner Žiga Weichselberger – Višnjegorski, a provincial administrator and Laško judge. The building that we see today was renovated multiple times and given its features such as the arcade corridors in the 19th century.
Kislinger house and Laško museum
At the entrance of the Weichselberger Mansion stands the former market granary, where the townspeople once stored grain and wine. Now it is the home of Laško Museum where the town’s historical development from prehistoric times up until the present day has been displayed. The museum offers three permanent exhibitions: Laško – A Trip through Time, Brewery Industry and Spa Tourism and Geology of the Laško Area.
The Tabor Castle that towers above the city was historically used as the administrative seat of the local aristocracy and a court of justice dating back to the 11th century. Yet, the first mention of the castle dates back to 1270. For many years it was owned by the Counts of Celje, who used it as a hunting base. The name Tabor (Camp) originates from the role it played in the defence against Turkish invaders. Nowadays it hosts a restaurant with superb culinary offer and a wine cellar.
The plaque stating: “You endured, brother bridge,” reminds us of the original wooden structure on the Žikovca stream renovated in 1923 by the owner of the former Laško artificial slate factory. After World War Two, it was replaced by a concrete bridge, and in 1997, a copy of the original wooden bridge was built by Laško Brewery at the request of local residents.
King of beer
Next the bridge across the Savinja river that leads to the old town centre you will be welcomed by a statue of Gambrinus, the king of beer. The statue by Ferenc Kiraly was made during a summer sculpturing workshop and unveiled by the Laško Brewery on its 175th anniversary in 2000.
Laško cultural centre
The monumental building was erected in 1933 as the Sokol centre and completely renovated in 1994. The former home of the Sokol movement now hosts concerts of all genres, theatre performances, opera, ballet and children’s shows. Throughout the year, it also organises numerous other events such as art exhibitions, seminars, conferences and other gatherings.
RELIGIOUS SITES OF LAŠKO AREA
Jurklošter carthusian monastery
The remains of a once majestic complex - defense tower and the Church of St. Maurice, all situated in the mysterious Gračnica valley, are great reminders of the original Carthusian monastery, one of the most significant in Central Europe. Founded in the 12th century it provided the backdrop for the undying love story between Frederick II, Count of Celje, and Veronica of Desenice.
Church of the Mother of God, Marija Gradec
The construction of the church began in 1505 at the foot of a rocky hill next to Saving river. In the 18th century, four Baroque chapels were added along the front steps which were used by locals as a setting for Passion plays. Held in Slovene, these events are considered to be the earliest form of theatrical performance in Laško.
Church of St. Hermacora, ŠMOHOR
The oldest and highest branch of the Laško parish was first mentioned in writing in a document dating back to 1421. At the beginning of the 16th century, the presbytery and bell tower were annexed. On the inside, the church features a pulpit dating back to the 17th century, the main altar from the 18th century and the two side altars with Baroque elements from the 19th century.
Church of St. Maurice, Jurklošter
Dating back to 1277 the Carthusian monastery church was the first example of the “Laško group” architectural style. Its features include a ribbed vault ceiling as well as the Gothic stone bell tower and wooden roofing.
Church of St. Catherine, Kuretno
As one of oldest in Laško area, dating back to 1500, the church surprises with a multitude of statues depicting various saints. The main altar is dedicated to St. Catherine, surrounded by statues of St. Margaret, St. Apollonia, St. Barbara and St. Lucy. The side altar opposite the pulpit is dedicated to St. Dorothy. It also contains a painting called Adoration of the Magi, an important work from the first half of the 17th century.
Church of St. Michael, Šmihel
The double bell tower pilgrims’ church was built between 1637 and 1641 and is one of the most important cultural monuments of the Savinja region. The ornately decorated interior includes golden altars as well as wood and stone carvings. Seven chapels were built along the path from the foot to the top of Šmihel; four of them still survive today.
Church of the Lurd Mother of God, Rimske Toplice
The pilgrims' Church of the Lurd Mother of God, known as Lurd, was built in 1886. A few stones from the famous Lourdes Cave in France were built into the altar. The location of the church also offers wonderful views of Rimske Terme spa centre.
Church of beatified Anton Martin Slomšek, Zgornja Rečica
The church is situated in the picturesque Rečica valley. It was designed by architect Janez Valentinčič, assistant to the renowned Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik. Plečnik’s influence is reflected in the balconies on the bell tower with concrete domes above them, which direct the ringing of the bells down the valley. Built in 1939, it then became the first church in Slovenia to be dedicated to the beatified Anton Martin Slomšek in 2000.
Chapel of st. Barbara, Trobni dol
The modern chapel houses four bells, the first one being a wishing bell. Grant your wishes under the bell tower with two concave roofs and a sculpture representing the saint’s image composed of clay, glass and iron.
Holly well, Laško
The well has its source under Hum hill and was discovered at the time when the Southern Railway was built. The thermal spring water was considered the highest quality drinking water in the Laško area. The chapel alongside it was constructed in 1906 by the Laško Tourism Association. The well’s name originates from a story of a priest who knelt in a short prayer and crossed the well, and so the water gushed out and quenched his thirst.
Eucharist cross on Hum hill
A 3-metre high cross is situated just under the peak of Hum hill. It was raised before Second World War in memory of the Eucharistic Conference in Ljubljana. During the war the cross was burnt down and was finally restored half a century later. Its inscription plate states: “I have been set up anew to a promise of true parishioners and other townspeople of Laško.“
Church of Gertrude of Nivelles, Sedraž
Church of St. Margaret, Rimske Toplice
Church of Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, Širje
Church of the Sacred Heart, Zidani Most
Church of St. Coloman, Lokavec
Church of St. Nicholas, Lažiše
Church of St. Cantianus, Polana
Church of St. Jodoc at the foot of Lisca
Church of the Holy Trinity, Lahov Graben
Church of St. Peter, Olešče
Church of St. Rupert, Šentrupert
Church of St. Leonard, Vrh nad Laškim