The Church of the Annunciation in Crngrob near Škofja Loka is among the most notable of Slovenia’s 800+ churches.
You can easily reach the church by car, however, if time permits I suggest setting off on foot or by bike from the centre of Škofja Loka along the Path to Crngrob theme path, where along the way you can see numerous shrines and admire the pleasant Škofja Loka countryside.
The 5km path starts at the information board opposite the bus station in front of the Nama department store. You can pick up a leaflet about the path from the Škofja Loka Tourist Information Centre or find more information about this and other theme paths in the area here – http://www.visitskofjaloka.si/en/experiences/theme-paths
The path, which is marked with a yellow circle with a white inner, is relatively level and mostly on quite country lanes.
You can also go by bike, as I did when exploring part of the Škofja Loka Cycle Route earlier this year. Read more in a previous blog here – https://adeleinslovenia.com/2017/06/11/active-and-historic-loka-the-skofja-loka-cycle-trail/
You first pass the shrine of Pieta, the work of the well-known Slovenian impressionist painter Ivan Grohar.
The Red Shrine, which was erected at the beginning of the 16th century as a reminder of the plague, is one of the oldest shrines in Slovenia.
A few minutes on you reach the village and church. Though from afar the outside of the church doesn’t look particularly remarkable, other than the fact it is a particularly large church for a village with just a handful of houses – the reason for this is that it was intended for pilgrims – as you get closer and glimpse the large fresco of St. Christopher on the exterior, and another of Holy Sunday in the shelter of the neo-gothic porch, you begin to get a sense this is no ordinary church.
Then you step inside and see the full beauty of the ornate interior, particularly the gold baroque altars and magnificent painted ceiling, you will soon realise why it is considered among the most valuable churches in the country.
It was originally built in the 13th century and extended over time with the bell tower dating from 1666 and the neo-gothic porch being added in 1858.
As befits something of such value, the church is kept locked, therefore to arrange to a guided tour of the interior you should contact Tourism Škofja Loka by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by calling +00386 45 170 602 or +00386 41 424 776.
I recommended combining a visit to Crngrob with a stay or a visit to the Pri Marku tourist farm, which is situated just a few hundred metres from the church. The farm’s setting is idyllic, surrounded by rolling green hills, the church as a backdrop, and though only 5kms from Škofja Loka, it has a real air of being far from the hustle and bustle of life.
Pri Marku has 10 well-appointed rooms, or for a different experience you can also stay in the farm’s hayloft. All rooms come with a view!
You can get to know the farm’s animals – this one seemed very keen to get to know me!
Of course no Slovenian tourist farm is complete without delicious home-made, home-produced food and drink! Those staying at Pri Marku have half-board, but you can also drop by for a snack or a hearty lunch at weekends (prior booking essential) and try some other traditional Slovenian dishes and house specialities.
More information about the Pri Marku tourist farm can be found here – http://www.pri-marku-porenta.si/ANG/
© Adele in Slovenia