The skeletons church – Slovenia

After a day’s walk in the countryside of south-western Slovenia, we met funny tourists on our way! They were looking for a church called “the Holy Trinity”, whose walls would be painted with skeletons… Intrigued, we followed them in their quest and ended our route in Hrastovlje, a small village nestled at the bottom of a valley…


A church that looks like a fortified castle

It didn’t take us long to spot the bell tower of the small church of the Holy Trinity, despite that this religious building is hidden behind an imposing stone wall, about 8 meters high! As we will learn later, the pious villagers of Hrastovlje would have built these high walls to protect their church from the attacks of the Ottoman army, around the 16th century.

After the surprise effect (it must be said that a church surrounded by fortified walls is not common!), we decide to continue the visit – inside this time. The doors of the church being closed, we call the churchkeeper (with the help of our new companions) to be able to enter, hoping to see these famous skeleton paintings…

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Inside the church, the skeletons are dancing…

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The churchkeeper, sent to the site, quickly turned on all the lights and gave us an audioguide programmed in French – several languages are available. The magic worked: no piece of wall or ceiling is spared by the rudimentary 12th-century paintings, whose scenes depict the main passages of the Bible. And finally, we discovered the famous fresco of skeletons painted on the rock, an aptly named “Dance of Death”. This time we didn’t need the audio guide to understand the message that the painter wanted to convey: death spares no one, neither child, nor disabled person, nor servant, doctor, priest, lady or king… And he was right: death spares no one, not even the Ottoman soldiers who tried to penetrate this fortified enclosure!

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Informations utiles:
Holly Trinity church – Cerkev sv. Trojice, located in Hrastovlje
Entrance: Entrance fee 3€/person, audioguide included and available in different languages.
Opening on demand (phone number of the churchkeeper is displayed if the church is closed)
Duration: from 30 minutes to 1h

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* Post written according to our personal experience *

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