Bistra is a small settlement in municipality Vrhnika with approximately 43 residents, it is located on the southwestern edge of Ljubljana marshes, next to the road between Vrhnika and Borovnica. Above Bistra rises 605 meters high hill Javorč, along the slope runs a railway line Ljubljana-Postojna.

The settlement is strongly historically connected with castle Bistra from 13th century, to year 1782 it served as monastery of the Carthusian order. Bistra Charterhouse, a large monastery complex, housed the first charterhouse in Carniola from year 1260. It was disbanded in year 1782 upon a decree by the Emperor Joseph II. Since 1951, the Technical Museum of Slovenia has been inside the walls, its museum collections comprise items related to forestry, carpentry, fishing, electricity, and transport, including the collection of Tito’s cars and several others that were used in the filming of movie Schindler’s List.

Notable people that were born in Bistra are an architect and urbanist Ivan Jager, painter from 18th century Bruno, manuscript illuminator from 14. century Nicholas and schoolmaster Štefan Primožič.


The settlement got its name after Bistra stream, which is a right tributary of river Ljubljanica, with several Karst springs. The settlement was in German known as Freudenthal. The monastery and surrounding area were in Middle Ages named after nearby Borovnica, in the archive it can be found under the name Vrauniz and different variants of the name, as Vroniz, Wrenitz and others.


Charterhouse reached its peak in 14. century, as it owned estates throughout Carniola and nearby lands, mostly south towards Cerknica. At the end of the century, the fortified monastery burned twice, which was mentioned in the description of the area by Valvasor. In the coming centuries, the building slowly waned, in that time the monastery was rebuild and baroque for several times. From here originates the illuminated manuscript of document About the place of God Augustine of Hippon, which is the work of a monk Nikolaj. The document is today stored in National university library in Ljubljana.

According to Valvasor, Bistra was hit by a severe earthquake in the year 1670, a hundred years later, in year 1773, it burned down again. After renewal, in year 1782, Emperor Joseph II disbanded the charterhouse. In addition to the manor, today there is a chapel, dedicated to St. Joseph, in which they performed religious rites after the demolition of monastery church in year 1808.

During the period of the Austrian empire, local nobles and a court for residents of Vrhnika, Polhov Gradec, and Borovnica resided there. The manor was in year 1826 bought by merchant and factory owner Franc Galle and changed it into mansion and the seat of his estate. The successors further renovated and modernized the building, until the Second World War, after which that time owner Bruno Galle, who was a supporter of Germans, ran out of Slovenia. After that, the state nationalized the estate. From that period, several objects of technical heritage have been preserved in Bistra and neighboring Dol pri Borovnici, like sawmills and small hydroelectric power plant.

In the year 1947, Forestry and Wood institute of the People’s Republic of Slovenia was established, which got its space in mansion for study collection. In year 1951 the collection was annexed to the newly established Technical museum of Slovenia, and since 1953 it is open to the public.


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Technical museum of Slovenia
Technical museum of Slovenia is located in the former Carthusian monastery in Bistrica pri Vrhniki, which is only twenty kilometers away from Ljubljana. Besides the sightseeing of museum collections, the visitors can enjoy in rest in a peaceful natural environment. [_Read more_]