Vipava is a town and centre of the municipality with which it shares its name. It lies in the upper part of Vipava Valley, along the numerous springs of the Vipava River - the only river with a delta source in Europe. Due to the river's many outlets, the town boasts 25 bridges, of which the bridge of Lanthieri Manor is renowned as its oldest and finest. And it's particularly because of these many bridges that this region is also known as little or Slovenian Venice - although town locals and nearby residents still like to refer to the town simply as market. This is the name under which the settlement was listed in a document dating to 1367, when local merchants first acquired the right to their own fair. Vipava with its surrounding region remains an important agricultural centre in western Slovenia and is especially known for its production of wine – unlike many other cooperatives that have since closed, the Vipava Agricultural Cooperative has been in continuous operation since 1894. Tourism is also important to the region, as are small and medium-sized enterprises. Today, many inhabitants also find employment in nearby Ajdovščina.



The first settlers of Vipava were the Celts. Hence, its name – the word Vipava comes from two Celtic words: “wip” (meaning valley, region) and “ach” (meaning rocks, stone). In a simple translation from Celtic, Vipava means: valley under the rocks. Archaeological findings attest to the fact that Vipava was once also a Roman settlement. And it was most probably a nearby spot that served as the battlefield for the 394 A.D. Battle of the Frigidus (today, Hubelj) – a definitive encounter that saw Caesar Theodosius seize the help of the mighty Vipava bora to defeat Eugenius in what was the last serious contestation of the Christianization of the Roman Empire. Homage to the historic significance of Vipava is perhaps most pronounced among the many castles that dot its landscape. These served as the homes of wealthy noble families that included the Herbersteins, Thurns, Edlings, Baumkirchners and the last aristocracy – the Lanthieri. Testaments of their lives are revealed by the ruins of the Vipava Castle (‘Old’ Castle) perched atop the steep slopes of Nanos, the heritage of Tabor Castle and the compounds of the formidable Lanthieri mansion that sits in the centre of Vipava and which acquired its baroque appearance in only the 18th century. And it was in the 17th century that the Lanthieris built the gorgeous Zemono hunting manor on top of a rising with a panoramic view of the rolling countryside surroundings. Zemono is the only example of polydonic secular architecture in Slovenia and counts as one of the country's few remaining entirely preserved renaissance buildings.

The foundations of Vipava's housing date primarily to the 18th and 19th centuries. Both the wealthy and poorer citizens of this region were keen on making their communities as beautiful as possible, so they embellished their homes with attractive entrance portals known as “koloni” or “portoni”. These can still be seen everywhere, even in the narrow streets of Vipava. Another interesting feature in the town is the series of stone figures of boys (putti) which stand in front of Lanthieri Manor and that once adorned its front courtyard park.

Sacral heritage is found in numerous places but most famously, in the parish church of St. Stephen’s, which is decorated with impressive ceiling and wall frescoes painted by the masters Franc Jelovšek and Janez Wolf. Other special cultural attractions in Vipava include 4500 year old sarcophagi, two of only six in Europe. These have lain in the Vipava cemetery since 1845, when they were brought here from Egypt by Anton Lavrin.



Tabor Castle

A tower castle first owned by the Patriarch of Aquileia was constructed by the main springs of the Vipava River in the 14th century. The ownership of this so-called 'Lower Castle' was later passed on to baron Andrej Baumkirchner, a famous military leader and friend of Erazum Lueger (known also as ‘Erazum of Predjama’ – the legendary knight of Postojna's Predjama castle). Subsequently, the castle belonged to count Thurn and then count Edling, from whom it was finally inherited by Countess Laurencia Lanthieri in 1565. A century later, the Lanthieris rebuilt and refurbished the castle with a rustic portal bearing the year 1653. Given the possibility of Turkish and Venetian invasion, the castle was protected by an outer wall. This is also likely the reason the people named it 'tabor' (meaning: camp or encampment).


St. Stephen’s Church

Vipava counts among the oldest parishes in the region of Gorica. The once gothic and later renovated baroque church of St. Stephen’s is located among residential houses and dates to the year 1556. The church was reconstructed in 1750 and its first set of masterpiece frescoes painted soon afterwards by Franc Jelovšek. At the request of Dean Grabrijan, the entire lower section of the presbytery was painted by artist Janez Wolf in 1877. In his depictions of the story of St. Stephen, Wolf also included many portraits of then-renowned Vipava locals. The church is known for its numerous valuable pieces of artistic/heritage, particularly the altar, altar frescoes, the chapel of St. Barbara and a Baroque cross. The altar portrays the sacral art of Janez Valentin Metzinger - a portrait of St. John of Nepomuk on its north wall and an image of the death of St. Joseph on its south.


Vipava Park

Directly in front of Lanthieri mansion is a park arranged in the English tradition. At its centre is a fountain with a pool in the shape of a four-leaf clover. During the time of the Lanthieris, numerous Baroque statues of boys (putti) stood in the park holding various types of requisites.


Lanthieri Mansion

The Lanthieris were eager builders. In the mid-17th century, they built a mansion adorned with stucco on its exterior walls next to the old Baumkirchner castle at the springs of the Vipava River. The manor was built in 1669 and is a typical example of Venetian architecture. Originally a much more modest home, the Lanthieris renovated it in 1762 into the impressive baroque image we see today. The last resident of its halls was count Karl Frederic Lanthieri, who lived there until 1910. In 1918, the manor fell into military hands, where it remained until October 1991.


Vipava Castle (‘Old’ Castle)

Just above this region, atop a steep hillside that’s home to various types of Mediterranean evergreen oak (or holm oak), stand picturesque ruins dating from around the 12th century. These are the remains of a castle that was likely built in the 12th century and was first mentioned in 1275 as Upper Vipava Castle. The castle was under the ownership of the Patriarch of Aquileia. As a feudal regional principality castle, it saw its owner change many times. In 1344, it fell to the ownership of the Habsburgs and in 1487, it became the property of the Herberstein nobility. For a short period in the first half of the 16th century it was even conquered by the Venetians, who were then soon afterwards driven away by the Habsburgs. After 1577, Vipava Castle became the property of the Lanthieri family. They are thought to have abandoned it in the 17th century, after which time it began to deteriorate.


Military Museum

The museum is located in the “Janko Premrl – Vojko” army barracks of the Slovenian army and was the first of its kind to be established in the framework of the Slovenian Armed Forces. The collection of Sergeant Mitja Močnik is based on excavations found at positions of the Austro-Hungarian and Italian units along the infamous Isonzo Front. The museum comprises five exhibition areas:

  • the Austro-Hungarian first aid station (Feldlazaret) for the seriously wounded,

  • the Austro-Hungarian universal workshop for the blacksmith, carpenter, shoemaker and tailor,

  • the working and living quarters of the commander of the Austro-Hungarian battalion (K.u.K. Baon-Komanndo),

  • an underground divisional shelter – a cavern that served as a small convenience store and a central telephone station,

  • support and front line trenches (Lauf-schutz Graben) with a guard post and guard.