Vipavski kriz – a small town with big stories
Vipavski kriz is a tiny picturesque village in Vipava valley with narrow cobblestone streets called gase, well preserved colorful houses, castle with a castle cellar, Capuchin monastery (the latest building which was built in 17th century!) and 2 churches. Once it was the smallest town in Hapsburg monarchy (but today the 2nd smallest town in the world!) while nowadays there are less than 200 inhabitants with 5 Capuchin priests living in Vipavski kriz. It is protected as a Slovenian cultural monument. Vipavski kriz, a truly pearl of Vipava valley, should be on your itinerary when visiting Vipava valley.
3 interesting facts about Vipavski kriz
Seen from every corner of Vipava valley!
Do not pretend you don’t see Vipavski kriz. A 183-meters high hill with 2 church bell towers can be seen far from great distance. If you are coming from the direction of Ljubljana, you will first see a majestic castle, while if you are coming from the direction of Nova Gorica, you will see the parish church.
Would you like to hear the story?
»Once upon a time there was only a little church standing on a hill. Through the valley a white stone-paved road was connected Aquileia with Emona. Just under the hill another road that was connecting Trieste with Trnovo forest was crossing this very important trading route. And this crossroad gave a name to a village (Križ). People started building houses one beside another. And each house had an entrance to the left and to the right side. What is more, if a man and a woman from nearby houses wanted to get married, they simply made a hole in the wall and make a large house for their future family« Crave for more stories? Rent a local guide with a vast knowledge of Vipavski kriz.
Gasarji vs. placarji vs. grajski
Who are gasarji? Poor people living in narrow streets/gase are called gasarji. Gase represents the old part of Vipavski kriz which lies close to the Parish church. Here one-story colorful houses with small windows are leaning against the wall while the wealthy part of the town belonged to placarji mainly citizens, craftsmen or traders who were living close to the castle. Their houses were bigger and nicer. What is more, even the newly paved streets (the finished with renovation in 2015!) highlight these differences: white cobblestone streets lead from castle to the rich part of the town while black cobblestone streets lead to gase. People living in the castle, were named grajski (grad in Slovenian language means castle). Interesting, isn’t it?
In the 17th century the turbulent war times were over and Vipavski kriz was on the rise again. It became one of the most important towns in Vipava valley with its own city guard/kriška garda which protected the town of Vipavski kriz and the whole Vipava valley. But the town prosperity didn’t last long. The nearest town called Ajdovščina started developing, Napoleon troops passed by (find a cannon ball on the facade of a house!) and bora wind (Slovene hurricane that reaches a speed of 240 km/h!) uncovered the castle roof. The lord of Attems left Vipavski kriz forever. Believe it or not, they are the only lords in the world who were pushed back by strong bora wind 🙂
One year ago Mirjana opened a wine bar and shop called Darovi Vipavske (Vipava Valley’s Goodies) in Vipavski križ offering a wide range of Vipava valley products. You will find her shop in front of the big square close to the monastery and the castle.
She works hand in hand with local providers, starting with 40 winemakers (taste orange wine or Pet Nat wine from Fedora winery!).
Gin, schnapps, craft beer, rose with bubbles and liqueurs, tea from grape leaves, extra virgin olive oil, honey products, vinegar, jams, juices, the ramsons buds, ceramics, paintings, soaps, wooden and stone stuff, and much more is on the offer at Vipava Valley’s Goodies.
I visited Vipava Valley’s Goodies during a month long event Okusi Vipavske (Wine and culinary Festival) in the beginning of May.
While tasting Vipavska jota and sipping a glass of Zelen wine, Mirjana told me that her dream is that Vipavski križ becomes the town of artists and music like Grožnjan, Istrian village in Croatia.
“People from Vipava valley are very artistic and have plenty of great ideas. Have a look at this chair, made by local artist from Vipavski križ. He placed polaroid photos on the chair!”
When my glass was empty, she pours more wine from another Vipava valley indigenous grape variety called Pinela and brought me a plate with herbal omelette, lard and pancetta. What a blast! Lard just melts smoothly in my mouth.
“Vipavski križ is slowly but surely becoming a must see attraction in Vipava valley visited by Slovenian and foreign travelers. Also local people from Vipava valley are coming here to sip a glass of wine and enjoying in the relaxed atmosphere.” said Mirjana, wine connoisseur who recently got a diploma for WSET LEVEL 2 in wines and spirits . And I agree completely with Mirjana while finishing apple strudel prepared by chef Gorazd Berce.
On the day when I was visiting Vipavski križ with 2 of my friends, the bora wind reached a speed limit of 135 km/hour. Trees were swinging in strong wind and there were no people outside. Just 3 of us :).
What to see and do in Vipavski kriz?
– visit a Parish church (find a memorial plaque to Primož Trubar!),
– visit a Capuchin monastery and its rich library,
– walk through narrow streets/gase and take some photos,
– find a former prison in front of the white-stone fountain,
– spot the cannon ball, built in the house nearby, a reminder of Napoleon army,
– visit a ruined Attems castle with beautiful arched cellar underneath,
– sip a glass of wine and taste local delights at Darovi Vipavske wine bar and shop.
Annual events taking place in Vipavski kriz are worth visiting and are organized by Zavod za turizem Vipavski kriz and Darovi Vipavske.
– Cherry Festival (June),
– Festival of Zelen wine (June)
– Fair days in Vipavski kriz (June)
– Day of open wine cellars in Vipavski kriz (December)
– Life story of nativity scene (December)
Where to sleep in Vipavski križ?
Don’t know where to sleep? Search no more! In Vipavski križ there is one accommodation available. Check it here. In case it is booked, there are various accommodation options in Vipava valley as well. (Ajdovščina, Vipava).
Vipavski kriz is like a princess who is waiting for your visit!