Olimje Monastery, the Witch’s Hut and the Olimje Chocolate Shop
|Region||Savinja Statistical Region|
|Starting point||Olimje Monastery|
|Route length||5,5 km (3.7 miles)|
|route duration||2-3 h|
|Best time to visit||spring, summer, early autumn|
|Appropriate for||Baby Strollers , Baby Carriers , 1-3 years of age , 3-6 years of age , 6+ years of age|
|Level of difficulty||Moderately demanding route|
Enter the Olimje Monastery, stop by the Land of Fairy Tales and smell the candy at the Olimje Chocolate Shop. This trip fulfills every child’s fantasy!
These three sights are only a walking distance away from each other. Take a stroll from the monastery, via the Land of Fairy Tales & Fantasy to the Olimje Chocolate Shop. This trip is suitable for both toddlers and children in baby strollers, as the route is well maintained. If the distance is too strenuous to walk in one go, you can visit each location separately.
Your starting point is the Olimje Monastery of Friars Minor. This former splendid castle, once owned by the Counts of Attems, has a very interesting history. The most interesting story of the monastery has to do with herbal medicine. Would you like to hear it?
The predecessor of the current castle occupied the site since circa 1000, and first belonged to the Counts von Peilestein (known locally as "Pilštajn"), including Hemma of Gurk (Slovene: Sv. Ema Krška), an 11th-century saint and member of the family. Up until 1436, Frederick II, Count of Celje was its owner. Around 1550, the Count of Tattenbach rebuilt the castle in renaissance style, adding a defensive ditch to guard against Turkish incursions. Even later on, the surroundings of the castle were still changing.
When the brothers of the Pauline order from Lepoglava, Croatia, settled in Olimje in 1663, they began a systematic study of medicinal herbs. One of the rules they followed was that every convent must have a special hospital room (“infirmaria”) for those who fall ill.
A preserved painting of the monastery (from 1681) portrays two beautiful gardens, where medicinal plants were most likely grown. However, the main healing power for the monks lay in prayer and not in herbs.
Eggerer, the prior of Olimje, stated in his work "Heavenly Pharmacy" that "Faith and trust in God's help are far more efficient than all of Dioscorides' and Galen's remedies combined." Nevertheless, the Pauline monks took into account the knowledge of the science of medicine and started what we call the Old Pharmacy on the ground floor of the South tower. The exact year of the pharmacy establishment in Olimje remains a mystery. We can assume, however, that it began to operate somewhere around 1663.
A kilometre from Olimje monastery, hidden in the woods is the Land of Fairy Tales & Fantasy.
Enter into a fairytale world where children big and small meet the Slovene folk tale characters such as Kekec, Bedanc and Krjavelj, as well as Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood and others. Witches are the main attraction here and the land was created precisely because they once haunted this forest. We will say no more, go there and see it for yourself!
The trip has a very sweet finish line, the Olimje Chocolate Shop, where you can indulge in the best chocolate around here. The production is located in Olimje, where they make various chocolate products, all by hand! This means that each product – chocolate bars, pralines, truffles, griotti, coated fruit, dragees, are processed at least four times. First, the chocolate is poured into the mould, second, the chocolate hardens and the filling is added, third, the cavities are filled with more chocolate, and the fourth, the decoration process. Simply delicious!
Shall we come back here? Absolutely!
Jelenov greben (“deer ridge”)
The Jelenov greben homestead is situated just above the famous monastery, at the foot of the Olimje hills. This place is packed with many interesting activities.
Upon your arrival, curious fallow deer and mouflons come up close to get a sniff of you. If they are shy, their master beckons them by calling out their names: "Pikaaaa, Pikiiii...," and he immediately feeds them some corn. The deer are free to roam the 8-acre fenced farm. This was originally a cattle and viticulture farm, which was passed down to the 18-year-old Borut Ježovnik. Full of fresh ideas and with the support of his family, he decided to try something new for the tourists. First, he sold all the cattle and then he imported 75 fallow deer from the Croatian islands of Brijuni.
Among their many activities, their culinary offer is a very recognisable feature. In their rustically-decorated restaurant, the attentive staff offers traditional Sotla Valley and Kozjansko region food, venison and mushroom specialties, while the wine list is packed with a selection of fine Slovenian wines.
00386 (0)3 5829 046
00386 (0)3 5829 412
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