One of the most photographed sites in Lake Bohinj is this church. It’s about 700 years old (although it was constructed over several hundred years) and sits at the lake’s outflow, adjoining an attractive stone bridge. The church is an important cultural landmark, but I think the main appeal is its beautiful “picture perfect” natural setting.
The Church of St John the Baptist in this region has a history dating back to the early years of Christianity, but this building was constructed in the Middle Ages. The nave is of Romanesque architecture. The walls and ceilings are covered with 15th- and 16th-century frescoes, some of the oldest in Slovenia.
As you enter the church you’ll see some interesting murals, as well as the year 1639 incorporated into the floor of the exterior entrance — presumably indicating when it was constructed.
Here are some of the features to look for when you visit:
- The fresco of St. Christopher on the outside wall. St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers and there are three painted images of the saint in several layers. The first layer was painted around 1300, the second around 1400 and the third one around 1530.
- Baroque bell tower with a double bulb-shaped cap and lantern, dating to 1738.
- The wooden head of St. John the Baptist (from around 1380). The original is kept by the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia. This is a copy.
- Three wooden church altars made by carvers in different periods of the 17th century, the main altar highlighting John the Baptist.
- Frescoes decorate the wall and ceilings of the church, some depicting the beheading of the church’s patron saint. Restoration work on the frescoes was ongoing when we visited.
- There are also interesting paintings in the church, like this one of the beheading of the Church’s patron saint….
It was one of the more interesting small churches I’ve visited, partially because of its beautiful setting and partially because of how graphically it displayed the beheading of its patron saint in “folk art” murals . Definitely a recommended stop when in the Lake Bled region of Slovenia.
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