Explore the charming island, count the stairs and make a wish by pulling the wishing bell.
History & Architecture
Before the church was built on the island, a temple dedicated to the pagan goddess of life and fertility stood at the same place. After Christianisation in 745, the ancient Slavic temple was replaced by a church, dedicated to the birth of Mary. The church was renovated in 1465 and rebuilt in single nave Gothic style. The special feature of the church was 52 metres high free standing bell tower, made of porous stone, called buckwheat grains. The panoramic bell tower has one large and two small bells that still resound today. The church got its current baroque image in the middle of the 17th century; the chapel of the Mother of God was also built on the island to motivate people to pray. The famous staircase was also built in that period. The staircase has 99 stone steps. There is a tradition still alive today, i.e. that the groom has to carry the bride up all 99 steps if the couple wants to get married in the church on the island.
The most recognisable symbol of the island is the Church of the Mother of God on the lake with a long and diverse history. Amidst the greenery, you can explore interesting island buildings such as the bell tower, curacy and provost's house, small hermitage and some other mysterious legendary buildings.
The wishing bell is popular among the many visitors who come to the island. When they ring the bell, they recommend themselves to the Mother of God and express their wishes and requests for her to hear them.
The sexton's house is located at the south staircase. The sexton's house and the hermitage are now connected by a building that was constructed in the second half of the 20th century and was named "Potičnica" in 2012.
The source of a small spring can be found on the north shore, where a stone chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes has been carved in the slope since 1888.
Potičnica (Potica House)
Potičnica is a place where you can find various types of the traditional Slovenian "potica" with various fillings. Potica is Slovenian festive pastry made from rolled leavened dough, spread with various fillings and rolled in a round pot model that is also called "potičnica". The most famous is pehtranova potica or potica cake with tarragon filling, and is traditionally served during Easter holidays, and the most popular is orehova potica (potica cake with nut filling), typical for Christmas festivities. Besides sweet potica cakes we can also try potica cakes with salty filling, such as "ocvirkovka" (cracklings filling) and "špehovka" (bacon filling) and they are traditionally served in the period when pork sausages are made.
You can try different types of potica cakes at Potičnica, a very special one is potica with hazelnut filling and dried figs that grew on the island.
Walk up the stairs and stop at the historic chapel.
Ring the wishing bell.
Climb to the bell tower to enjoy in a beautiful view and see the mechanical oscillation clock in action. From there you can also see the wishing bell if you look towards the top of the church.
Try one or more types of traditional Slovenian potica cakes at Potičnica.
Walk through the sales gallery and pick a souvenir.
Walk along the path around the island.