October 12, 2010

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Škofja Loka, Slovenia

One of very well preserved medieval towns of Slovenia

Škofja Loka (pronounced as "Shkof-ya Loh-kah" ) is a historic small town in northwestern Slovenia, close to Kranj. We went there after we spent a day in
. I had never been in Škofja Loka before, so I was very curious to see how it looks like.

✰ Funny parking incident

The town is situated on several hills and randomly spread out all over. That gave me some minor headaches, because driving through the town was a bit confusing. I found a huge parking lot of a nearby factory close to the center, but wasn't sure, whether I could park there or not. A signboard said only employees are allowed to park there. So I decided to ask a local, if it's ok to park there. I saw a young couple passing by and I asked them, but guess what? They were British and couldn't help me. They were clueless tourists like us. After I told them in English about my concern, they started to worry as well. Luckily soon after a local woman passed by and told me, that it's ok to park there, that usually nobody gets a ticket for that. Even so, I did not feel very good about the whole thing, so we didn't spend a lot of time in Škofja Loka.

Škofja Loka prides itself as a museum town.

✰ About the name Škofja Loka

Prikaži večji zemljevid

The name "Škofja Loka" would literally mean "Bishop's Loka". The original name of the settlement was Loka, which is a common Slovenian topographic name and means "meadow near water". Škofja (Bishop's) was added in the 10th century, when the Holy Roman emperor Otto II. gave the town to bishop Abraham of Freising from Bavaria, where it remained until the early 19th century.

Škofja Loka is said to have the best preserved medieval center in Slovenia. That might be true, but the buildings are not in a good state. I was a bit disappointed about that, because when you see towns like Piran and Gorica (I), where the old buildings are renovated and the streets are nicely paved, you get shocked, when you walk around Škofja Loka. Some streets are not even paved and their town square is plastered with one big piece of asphalt. And another sqare is used for traffic, it's dirty and hard to walk on, because so many cars are parked everywhere. I hope this will be improved in the future and Škofja Loka will truly become a beautiful town.

Here are my photos of Škofja Loka:
The river Sora flows through Škofja Loka.

The old stone bridge over the Sora.

Spodnji trg (Lower square) and the way to the Zgornji trg (Upper square).

Parish church of St. Jacob is one of Škofja Loka's landmarks.

Around the church.

The church's tower closeup.

Near the church.
✰ The legend of Škofja Loka's coat of arms

An interesting thing about the coat of arms of Škofja Loka is a head of an African man (read more about "blackamoor") with a crown and big earrings inside the castle. How did that happen? A legend says, that Abraham, the bishop of Freising and lord of Škofja Loka was once attacked by a bear near the town and his bondman, an African man, killed the fierce animal with a bow. In thanks for that, Abraham promised to the man, that "he will make him famous, so that many later generations will remember him." He kept his promise by putting the man in the coat of arms of Škofja Loka and subsequently in the coat of arms of the Freising Diocese.

Zgornji trg or Mestni trg is Škofja Loka's town square, the biggest and main square.

The town square is picturesque, but it could be in a better shape.

An old house on Škofja Loka's Mestni trg.

Plague monument of St. Mary (Marijino znamenje).

Martinčkova hiša, a famous medieval house in Škofja Loka.

✰ The castle of Škofja Loka

Škofjeloški grad (pron. "Shof-ye-losh-kee graht") is the castle above Škofja Loka's historic center. It was built in the 10th century. In the early 16th century an earthquake destroyed many parts and the castle had to be thoroughly renovated and partly rebuilt. Today there is a local museum with a collection of paintings and a display of the local history, especially the history of 20th century.

We didn't go up to the castle, we had no time.

The Škofja Loka castle closeup.

Škofja Loka is famous for the annual Škofjeloški pasijon (see some photos here).

The Capuchin monastery.

Spodnji trg (Lower square) full of cars and not really neat.

Another view of Lower square.

My rating of Škofja Loka:

Great place for photos ✰✰✰✰✰
Well preserved and clean ✰✰✰✰✰
Toilets, parking, souvenirs ✰✰✰✰
Friendly to tourists ✰✰✰✰

Ljubljana castle :Before [Slovenia Tour 2010] Next: Kranj>>

[All photos by MKL, 2010]


  1. to me it all looks wonderfully clean and packed with history, just the sort of place i'd love to stroll around.

  2. I like this small town a lot, quiet, peaceful, and relaxed. It's a bit dreamy for me to imagine living in such a historic town there. I didn't think it's bad that they didn't renovate the buildings and make pavement. For me, it's quite normal to walk on asphalt, Taiwanese are used to it.And the old medieval buildings looked so real with the old appearance, I really enjoyed walking there. :-)

    I also like the legend of the coat of arms, the lord kept his words, it's noble and respectable.

  3. Awesome. Makes me feel sad that I didnt travel Europe more when I was in London. Nice to see places that look like that are still around ;D

    Photos awesome as usual.

  4. I've been reading posts on your site for a while. I'm curious: With all the awesome traveling you do, how do you finance your trips?

  5. @adamantixx: It's definitely interesting to walk around.

    @LilyChen: It was very peaceful indeed. But I prefer Kranj more :)

    @FloatingCamera: Thank you.

    @Joan the Black Iris: It's my job, my life style and I'm good at saving. I don't drink, smoke or waste money. And I work from home, which lowers my living cost :)

  6. Looks like a really nice area to just walk around alone with your thoughts. The town square's quite pretty.

  7. you know what you need?

    you need pretty girls to model for your photos. i mean, lily is an exception - she's yours. that doesn't count as modeling for your photos. you HAVE to have her in your photos or otherwise why would she even bother to be your girlfriend but that's not the point.

    so, when can i start model for you?


  8. haha the pictures look better than you described it in the beginning :P
    I like the story about the African man though.

    Your gf is always so photogenic!
    and since I am not as photogenic, I don't like to put very many pictures of myself up haha :P
    But look who's talking! You hardly have any pictures up of yourself as well :P

  9. Despite the dilapidated look of the houses, I like how they have flowers on the window sills. Reminds me of the French countryside!

  10. loka = crazy girl in spanish and portuguese :) lol well what a nice town! wonder is there any crazy slovenian girl out there? gonna check out myself next year lol

  11. LOL that's what I'm gonna say like what fufu's stated. LOCA! (check out shakira's new single with the same title :P)

    Slovenia is beautiful. That's the kind of place I'd love to visit! Old town squares, cobblestones alleys, quaint houses... :)

  12. such beautiful architecture.. and seems like a nice small town. everytime i hear the word "loka" though, i think LOCA as in crazy! hahaha! ;D with regards to parking - i never risk it... you never know if that day will be the day someone decides to do their job and check if anyone is parking illegally. ;P

  13. awww your g/f is so preetteee!!! ~.^

  14. @Nashe^: Yes, it's great for a stroll.

    @Lizzy: Send your application photos to my email first. I need to examine them so I can find out, if you're the right woman for my blog ;-)

    *~kAy~*: Well, I love to post photos of beautiful women on my blog, hence the pics of my girl. But I am shy about putting myself, because I used to have some crazy haters on my blog. Don't want them to use my pics for their evil plans :-P You're hot, don't be silly. You can put tons of pics of yourself, your followers will become more :-P

    @P.T.: Yes, Slovenians love flowers :D

    @fufu: Welcome here and hope you will like it. Maybe I posted just the best photos, hehe :-P

    @kyh: Thank you very much and thanks for always reading my posts. I feel appreciated :)

    @Kym: We're not Spain "-_- haha.. it does sound same indeed, but the meaning is totally different. I did risk the parking, what could happen in Loca? They're all loco there :-P

    @Kay: Welcome back :-D Missed your comments a lot lately. How have you been? Busy? Anyway, thanks for your compliment :-)

  15. Yes, unfortunately I have been very busy indeed completing my Masters this semester. It is quite hectic and I barely have any spare time at all! =(

    I can't wait to graduate and begin my travels through Asia!! Thank you so much for your blog, it has given me much valuable information about where to travel first. Your country is so beautiful. I will definitely add to my list of European destinations. ^.^ Although I don't like the cold at all, so which months are the warmest in Slovenia?

  16. oh i just noticed your comment about your haters? your blog is great and so informative. how can anyone hate you for that? i don't understand people, i swear. well i love your blog so i hope you keep blogging no matter what anybody says. even if i don't comment as much as i would like, i try to read it at least on a weekly basis. i learn so much from it. thank you!! :-)

  17. @Kay: Thanks so much for your kind words :) Hey, no problem about commenting. I rather see people read my posts than comment and not even read. Comments are nice, but it's not what keeps me blogging. It's when I see people find my posts useful, informational, funny :)

    Ah, those haters.. had some problems back then, but now they're gone. Some people are judgmental, you know. See one post and already think they know you. Anyway, glad you're reading. And when I'm back in Asia, I'll blog about that more :) Hopefully about Japan next year :-D


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