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Cerklje na Gorenjskem

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Strmol Castle

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Cerklje na Gorenjskem is a settlement with 1700 inhabitants and the municipal center of the municipality of Cerklje na Gorenjskem.
The settlement lies on the Cerkljansko polje at the foot of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, below Krvavec. The place is first mentioned in written sources in the middle of the 12th century as Trnovlje, and with its current name from 1239. From 1353 to 1782 the parish was attached to the monastery in Velesovo.
In the central part of the settlement stands the parish church of the Assumption. The older church was demolished in 1777 and the present-day Baroque church was built in its place according to the projects of Leopold Hofer. East of the church is the cemetery where the architect Jožef Plečnik designed the mortuaries. On the west side in front of the church stands a monument to the composer Davorin Jenko.

Archaeological sites in Šmartno and Krvavec testify to the history of the settlement of this area in antiquity. Of the twelve medieval mansions in the area of ​​today's municipality, Strmol Castle is the only one that has survived to this day. Among many churches, in addition to the Church of the Assumption in Cerklje, the most famous is the former monastery church of the Annunciation with catacombs and the oldest statue of Mary in Slovenia. In the center of Cerkelj is a memorial park dedicated to personalities who have left an important cultural and historical mark on the place.

Finds in the area of ​​today's municipality, on the terraces below the church of St. Štefan, are actually traces of living in the Old Stone Age (as an outdoor living station), which is confirmed by discovered objects from different types of stones. Neolithic settlements (5th and 6th centuries) were densely scattered on the slopes of the mountains above the Cerklje field. Gradišče near Stiška vas is considered to be the best preserved Neolithic settlement in Gorenjska. The Celts brought a new attitude towards metals, including iron, but they did not significantly influence the development of the place. The development of new types of tools, learning about and discovering new materials for processing, has brought a more reliable way of obtaining food - agriculture and animal husbandry.

From the 5th century onwards, the migrations of the Visigoths and Huns are typical. In 476, Odoacer deposed the last Western Roman emperor, Romulus Augustus. When the Ostrogoths defeated Odoacer after 17 years, they ruled northern Italy for half a century, restoring the Roman way of life. Under the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, the Lombards occupied the territory of Slovenia with a strong base in Kranj.

The life of people in this area between the 8th and 10th centuries is evidenced by excavations in the vicinity of the church of St. Martin in Šmartno and around the church of Sv. Janez Krstnik in Zgornji Brnik, where six Old Slavic graves were discovered. Border Count Popon died around 1101 without male descendants. The eldest daughter Sofia married Bertold I. of the Bavarian Count family of Andechs, their son Bertold II. however, he inherited most of his grandfather's estate in Carniola and Istria. In 1132, Countess Sofia left "predia multa in Monte S. Stephani in Carneola et 2 curias ibidem" (many estates on Mount St. Stephen and two mansions right there) to the Benedictine monastery in Diesen for the blessing of her soul. This endowment, written by Canon Luitpold in the Obituary, is the first written mention of the place in the present Cerklje municipality, although Cerklje is mentioned as early as the 11th century as Cerklje's original parish, confirmed by a document issued by Duke Bertold.

From the 11th century, the development of agriculture and agricultural crafts began in this area. Crop production, grazing and livestock farming have become important economic factors. Even Valvasor writes about horse breeding and trade in them - that they breed "selection horses and make a lot of horse blankets, sheets and blankets". It was especially traded at feasts and other great holidays, when many people also gathered from neighboring places.

A particularly famous activity was the baking of Veles pretzels. This salty, hard and delicious pastry was meant for pilgrims for a treat. Originally, they were baked only in the monastery, where the recipe was brought by nuns from Vienna. After the closure of the monastery, however, their baking was taken over by some houses as a home craft, which died out due to lack of suitable wheat flour. Today, they continue the tradition of baking pretzels according to a 16th century recipe in the Jagodic pretzel bakery in Vodice.

Register of Cultural Heritage, URL:, Cerklje na Gorenjskem,
Krusic, Marjan (2009). Slovenia: tourist guide. Mladinska knjiga Publishing House,
Cerklje Tourist Board, URL: https: // (retrieved 9 May 2022)

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