Tabor – the Fortified Church of Hrastovlje

This was really frustrating … we went to one of the most charming and interesting places in Slovenia -and all we got are a couple (no, really – two!) good kite aerial photos …


This fortified church dates back to 14th century – just after the plague ravaged the countyside – and is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, them supposedly being good against the disease. The walls around it were added later, in the times of Ottoman raids: the rich bitches hid tin their castles, and the folks were mainly left for themselves, so they built the wall and the whole village hid there – the walls offering physical, and the church spiritual protection.

A walled church like this one is called tabor in Slovene, meaning encampement.

While the old little church and its walls are cool, the real Medieval gem is hidden inside – all the walls and the ceiling are covered in 15th century frescoes, made by Janez of Kastav, and they include one of the few extant depictions of the Danse Macabre – the Dance of Death.

Part of the Danse Macabre scene. The whole can be seen here (the fresco is 7 meters long). Note the glagolitic inscription!

The frescoes are perfectly preserved because they were covered with plaster and were ‘discovered’ in 1948. A side story – one of the panels depict a strange bird that went (locally) extinct, but came back … read all about this fascinating recovery here.

Southestern bastion and a part of the church apse

The defensive walls include two bastion-like towers; two layers for archers are still visible.

The whole ensemble – the walled church on the hillock and the sleepy village around it – set below the sheer cliffs of the Karst edge is truly spectacular (and there is a really good restaurant, too). One of the must-see places in Slovenia!

Kite aerial photos shot in impossible conditions with Nikon P330 on a Rokkaku kite.

Leave a comment