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The unique atmosphere and features of the old town centres, market boroughs and villages of historic - Gorenjska - are both charming and delightful. Here you will be transported back in time to the Late Medieval and Renaissance periods, into an era of craftsmen, guilds and burghers, thence through a succession of architectural styles that accompanied the industrial and economic development of the region. Kranj, the regional centre, also boasts a fountain, arcades as well as other works by Jože Plečnik, one of ’s most renowned architects of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Medieval towns

Slovenia boasts a number of historic towns nestled in the bosom of the Alps.

With its magnificent Late Medieval architecture, impressive castle, and a 600-year-old bridge, Škofja Loka is often considered the best preserved medieval town in Slovenia.

With the country’s sole-surviving water-filled moat, as well as a number of Late Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque buildings, Radovljica also fascinates.

The historic core of Kranj is protected as a historical monument. Many interesting events are organised within the precincts of these old towns, offering the possibility to travel back in time.

Early industrial heritage

Gorenjska is an area of extraordinary industrial heritage, much of which arose further to the discovery of iron ore deposits. Culmination of the development of smelting in this region through the ages was the creation of the Jesenice steelworks, itself the successor of foundries which developed in the town during the 19th century, as did the foundry settlement suburb of Stara Sava, which is today preserved as an industrial heritage site. The origins of metal working in this region date back to the Celtic period and in Kropa near Radovljica, iron-making traditions live on. Smelting in Železniki began in the Middle Ages, though its famous preserved blast furnace dates from 1826. With its canals and houses with metal-shuttered windows, Tržič – the so-called Venice of Carniola – is yet another town whose early development is based on foundries operated by the motive power of water. 

Traditional crafts

In Gorje near Bled, as well as on Pokljuka, you can get to know the old traditions of bell-founding and wood shingle making; Žiri and Tržič keep alive the tradition of shoemaking, whereas Žiri and Železniki preserve their lace-making heritage. The Škofja maintains collections pertaining to a variety of local trades and professions, as well as their various guilds: cobblers, tanners, tailors, potters, butchers and bakers. Radovljica and Žirovnica are likewise proud of their beekeeping traditions, and, like Škofja Loka, their heart-shaped honey-breads.

Alpine villages

Old homesteads, containing a number of special architectural features are scattered throughout 's Alpine regions. The 19th century Liznjek House in Kranjska Gora is in the so-called rural baroque style, whereas the houses in Dovje village have semicircular portals.

Jože Plečnik

Architect Jože Plečnik (1872-1957), whose eclectic yet distinctive style left its mark on such cities as Vienna, Prague as well as his native Ljubljana, designed monumental arches in Kranj, together with a fountain, the steps beside the Rosary Church, and the Bežek Villa. Some churches in the Škofja Loka area also boast baptisteries, chandeliers and tabernacles by Plečnik, who also designed the Chapel of the Virgin of the Snows on Krvavec and the Murke Pavillion in Begunje.