Sveta gora’s basilica, Solkan


Basilica of The Queen of Sveta gora

Sveta gora (it. Monte Santo di Gorizia) is a settlement, elevation with altitude 862 meters and known pilgrimage trail above Nova Gorica. Pilgrimage trail is one of the most known God’s trails in western Slovenia. Often it is also named Sveta Gora pri Gorici, Sveta Gora above Solkan or Skalnica (en. The Rock). Skalnica is otherwise the name for the peak of the elevation. The biggest landmark of Sveta gora is God’s trail basilica The Queen of Sveta gora. On the top, next to basilica and Franciscan monastery, is a pilgrimage home, a Tau home and Family Center.

Gora is well known among believers and locals, it is a pilgrimage center, where believers from all over Slovenia, as well as from neighboring countries, ascend. From the top opens a beautiful view on Gorica hills, Adriatic sea and Friulian lowlands toward the Julian Alps with Triglav, across Vipava valley toward Inner and Istrian hills. The environment of Sveta gora is spiritually blended with natural beauty, inviting man for centuries.

Due to its location, Skalnica was most likely an important strategic point in Antiquity. Some guess that here once stood a pagan shrine. Originally stood here the church of St. Michael, already in the 11th century. About the church from the early Middle Ages testifies a stone plaque, which was found at the time of construction in the year 1541. The original church was most likely demolished by the Turks in the year 1470. The first written mention of Sveta gora was in the year 1938 (Vienna). In that time, they took it as a sign from heaven that it was necessary to erect a house of Good here. The beginning of divine traveling goes back in turbulent times of Turkish incursions, Reformation and different people’s religious movements. In the middle of all this chaos, in the year 1539, the voice spread among the people that on Skalnica Mother of God appeared to the shepherdess Urška Ferligo from Grgar and ordered her to erect a new church there and to pray for mercy. According to folk tradition, Urška supposed to be imprisoned by authorities and charged with lies and deceit. She was imprisoned for three times, but she was always miraculously saved. In the end, the authorities in Gorica relented in the face of an increasingly clear people’s demand and thus permitting the erection of a shrine.

Basilica from below
The view from Skalnica

The construction of the shrine started in the year 1541, a year later they asked patriarch of Aquileia for permission to construct the church. But not all went according to the plans, as Carniolan country classes, who were under Protestant influence, complained to the king Ferdinand: »Recently, pilgrimage sanctuary was established above Solkan in the desolate Gorica county and many people of all countries and languages are visiting. They claim that the blind can see again and sick are healed. All of this is just idolatry and deception. It was already forbidden, to not let anyone go on a pilgrimage there and search for miracles. In vain! Therefore, for the sake of God’s honor, a similar pilgrimage should be prohibited.« Primož Trubar was also against the construction of the church.

The first pilgrimage church, which was erected on Skalnica was a mighty three-nave building, built between the Gothic and Renaissance style. It was created from carved stone and could accept four to five thousand pilgrims. The church on October 12th, 1544, by the authority of the patriarch Grimani, was consecrated by bishop Egidium Falzetta from Creola. The patriarch donated to the church an image, which is still visible on the altar. It depicts Mary with Jesus infront of the evening landscape with the prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist (si. Janez Krstnik) on the sides. The author was Venetian painter Jakob Palma senior.

The inscription above the entrance to the church is also known: »I stand on the mountain as I did before! This was confirmed here on the mountain many times.« First trials come with Joseph II, as its Franciscan administrators, who came from Bosnia, had to leave Sveta gora after they retreated from the Turks. All the wealth was taken away, sold or was destroyed. In the year 1973, the shrine was renovated and again luxuriously furnished. It is then for the first time that a famous inscription is written above the door. Soča front also influenced this part of the land, when on June 5th, 1915 the church got hit by Italian grenade, only twenty days after, the monastery and the church were just wrecks. Fortunately, they managed to save Mary’s image, and it was in Ljubljana until the year 1921. In times of Italian rule, the people of the Littoral region sought to rebuild the demolished church, which was a national symbol for them. On August 26th, 1928 the new shrine was consecrated by Archbishop of Gorica.


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Sveta gora
Sveta gora is 682 meters high elevation, which rises above settlements Nova Gorica and Solkan. On the top are basilica, Franciscan monastery, pilgrim home, home Tau and Family center. Sveta gora is often named as Sveta Gora at Gorica, Sveta Gora above Solkan or Skalnica (en. The rock). [_Read more_]

Caverns below Sveta gora
Sveta gora is 864 meters high elevation, which rises on the left Soča riverbank, north from Nova Gorica. There are several trails that lead on the top, the most known and popular path is through caverns, which starts at Preval and follows preserved and partly cleared Austria-Hungary defense positions. [_Read more_]