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The entrance to the church

Church of St. John the Baptist

The lovely church with a surrounding wall from the times of the Turkish invasion. The eastern facade is adorned with exceptionally well-preserved 15th century frescoes.

On the edge of the flat plains, beneath the wooded hills between Begunje and Podvin, stands the old church of St. John the Baptist.



The church, which can be reached within minutes on a path from the village of Spodnji Otok was first mentioned in 1405. A legend remains from the time of the Turkish invasions that explains why the church here chimes noon an hour earlier. When the Turkish invaders were approaching the town and village, their horses were attacked by hornets and they fled. Since this happened at exactly 11am, the church still today chimes noon an hour early. Legend has it that one of the Turk's horses fled so quickly that its hoof struck the church door and left an everlasting hollow.


The exterior

In front of the entrance door there is a shed with an altar and pulpit, probably built in the early 16th century. It had a wooden coffered ceiling, which was painted by Jernez of Loka around the year 1530. The ceiling with its figural paintings was destroyed in 1927. There are exquisitely preserved frescos on the eastern facade dating from the 15th century. They are painted in the style of Janez Ljubljanski who linked the heritage of Fruilian and Carinthian painting. There are frescoes of Mary and St. John beneath Jesus's Cross, whilst above the entrance there is a fresco of Mary with Child, seated on a throne.


The interior

The original church that stood on the little hill was smaller and more basic than the present day one. It was later enlarged and Baroque features were added – two side naves and, sbusequently, a Baroque chapel.


The main altar to St. John the Baptist was made by Matej Goričnik in 1859. The paintings for the altar are the work of the artist Matija Bradaška Jr. In the northern chapel there is an altar dedicated to St. John Nepomuk, probably also the work of Matej Goričnik from around 1859. In the southern chapel the altar is dedicated to St. Martin.


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