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Monastery Stična

Monastery Stična

Stična Abbey is the only operating Cistercian monastery in Slovenia and one of the greatest cultural, church and architectural monuments here. It dates from 1132 or the Romanesque period.


The monastery soon became the religious, church, cultural and economic centre of Carniola. Before the reforms introduced by Emperor Joseph II, the monastery’s library kept the valuable illuminated Stična manuscripts in Latin, dating from the 12th and 13th century. In 1428 an important manuscript for Slovene linguistics was written at Stična, one of the first texts in the Slovene language. The monastery complex changed its appearance over the centuries. 

The oldest part of the monastery remains preserved in the cloister and abbey church. In 1784 the monastery was abolished following the Josephine reforms. The White Monks returned to Stična in 1898 after 114 years away.

 

They continue their centuries-old tradition in the Cistercian spirit of Ora et Labora. The Stična Abbey remains one of the oldest spiritual and cultural centres in Slovenia.

Cloister
The central area of the Stična Abbey complex is the cloister. It consists of four passages forming a square around the garden in the middle.
 
Its original appearance was unknown until recently when research revealed important information for its reconstruction. The cloister was changed considerably in 1230, when Gothic vaults were built. Because in later periods, particularly in the Baroque, only small changes were made to its structure, it remains one of the most splendid Gothic cloisters in Slovenia.
 
During the Middle Ages it was decorated with frescoes several times; the most important murals were painted in the mid 15th century by the distinguished Gothic painter Johannes von Laibach.
 
According to the Rule of the Cistercian Order, the rooms around the cloister were arranged in a specific order. The most important in the western wing is the chapter, where monks took all important decisions, while the most important in the southern wing is the refectory, the stuccoed dining hall of the monks, which in its present form dates from the 18th century.
 
 
 
Basilica of the Sorrowful Mother of God
The church was built in the 12th century as a Romanesque, pillared basilica with three naves and semicircular apses to the east. Two of the apses are still visible in the eastern courtyard, whereas the remains of the apse of the main nave are preserved under the paving of the presbytery.
 
An original Romanesque wall is exposed in the right chapel next to the presbytery. The structure of the Romanesque church is also visible in the attic. In the 17th century, under the guidance of Abbot Jakob Reinprecht (1603–1626) the Romanesque church was rebuilt in the Baroque style. The exterior and the interior were completely changed and the building was shortened by the span of one arch. The second Baroque renovation of the church took place during the time of Abbot Viljem Kovačič (1734–1764). After the reforms of Emperor Joseph II in the late 18th century, the church became a parish. In 1936 it was elevated to the status of the basilica, marking the 800 anniversary since its construction.
 
The main nave of the present-day church is 62.3 m long and 18 m wide. Most of the church furnishings – altars, pulpit, benches in the monk’s choir, organ, part of the benches in the church – dates from the late Baroque period or from the second half of the 18th century. The high altar is consecrated to the Sorrowful Mother of God.