Kranj (pronounced as ) is currently the fourth biggest town in Slovenia (urban area of 54.000 inhabitants) and one of our important industrial centers. It's located 30km northern from Ljubljana and 10km away from Škofja Loka and it's the capital of Gorenjska region [click on the map to see our tours].
✰ A brief history of Kranj, the capital of Gorenjska
Kranj is a historically very important Slovenian town. The name is very old and comes from the area, which used to be called Carnia (inhabited by the Celtic tribe Carni in 2nd century BC) and later Carniola (a diminutive of the original name), a province during the Roman times. The settlement of today's Kranj was called Carnium. Old Slovenians and Old Germans, who later settled in the area, named the town Kranj and Crainburg. A written script from 1060 mentions the name Creina, during the times, when Kranj was the center of the Province of Carniola. From 1364 on (up until 1846) Carniola became a duchy and the capital town became Ljubljana and Kranj lost its significance. Nevertheless, Kranj has a lovely medieval center on a hill between the rivers Sava and Kokra. It's definitely worth a stroll, even though an hour is enough to see the most of it. Kranj was also home to many famous Slovenians, from Prešeren, our most famous poet to Plečnik, our most famous architect.
Fun fact about Kranj: In 1939 and 1944 (time of the World War II) underground corridors (Kranjski rovi) were built below the historic part and were meant as hideouts for the citizens. Today they're open to public since 2008 and quickly became a tourist attraction. The corridors are all together 1300m long. See photos here>>
Take a walk with me:
✰ Our day in Kranj
We parked the car near the old center and took a walk. My girlfriend and I were so hungry, it was lunch time, so we decided to go to the first restaurant we saw. It was a cheap and good one. They mostly served Slovenian food and we ordered some things that not even I had eaten before. Both dishes were made with curd, my girlfriend had a kind of lasagna and salad, I had pancakes. It was a vegetarian lunch and I liked it very much, especially my pancakes. After an ice cream and coffee, we headed to the oldest parts of Kranj.
The medieval Kranj is very long, but narrow. Only three streets are stretched along the river banks of Sava and Kokra and you seem like you're on a small peninsula (same as in Piran). At the end, at the tip, there is a lovely view on the southern part of Kranj, which is mostly industrial.
Prešernovo gledališče (Prešeren's theatre) was redesigned by Plečnik. The arcades and lanterns are typically him.
The impressive Sveti Kancijan cathedral again.
More about Kranj in my next post. And check also photos of Kranj's cathedral.