Tourist Information Center:Tic Koper
Titov trg 3, 6000 Koper
++386 5 664 64 03
Height above sea level
in the countryside
Hrastovlje is a clustered vil-lage in the central part of the Hrastovlje Valley, i.e. the dry extension of the Rižana Valley.
There are numerous remains of material culture in the territory of the Rižana Valley and Hrastovlje dates back as early as the time of the hill forts (the Kovk, Ključ and Vrh hills and the Jablance grasslands), while the settlement was significantly impacted by Roman and later Slavonic colonisation. The beginnings and origin of the name of the village undoubtedly relate to the latter. The original village with its Church of St. Mark, which is mentioned in Paolo Naldini’s Corografia Ecclesiastica from 1700, supposedly started below the Vrh hill but later came to a standstill. In 1028, the German Emperor Conrad II the Salian donated the village (Cristoia,Cristoglie) to the Patriarchs of Aquileia and in the 13th century it became the property of the Bishops of Trieste or the Bishops of Koper, who later enfeoffed it to various noble families. As an enclave of the Holy Roman Empire, the territory of Hrastovlje was owned by domini Joannis Neuasaz nobilis Alemani, i.e. the Neuhaus (or Neuhausen) German feudal family until the second half of the 16th century. In 1581, they sold their Hrastovlje estate, together with its judicature, tributes and privileges, to the renowned Koper-based doctor and philosopher Leandro Zarotti from Padua, as evident from the Latin inscription above the entrance to the fortified Church of the Holy Trinity. Nevertheless, tithes from the village were collected by the Vergeri noble family from Koper since 1421, who maintained its partial ownership of the village into the 17th century. Due to its excellent strategic position and the fort above the village, Hrastovlje held the status of a hill fort and played an important part in defending the Rižana Valley during the Uskok War (1615-1617). As regards the area’s economy, wine-growing played an important part, especially in the 19th century, while it was later joined by dairy production and baking bread. The short distance to Trieste facilitated the develop-ment of non-agricultural activities, especially the milling industry on the Rižana River. Sheep breeding and textile handicrafts were rather well developed until the mid-19th century. After the war, Hrastovlje became famous for its fortified Church of the Holy Trinity and its frescoes and it is considered one of Slovenia’s cultural monuments of the highest quality. The centre of the village houses the Viktor Snoj Gallery (academic painter and restorer) and another gallery was opened on 30 May 2008 - that of the local academic sculptor Jože Pohlen. Over 30 of Pohlen’s statues and paintings are exhibited on two floors. Both galleries enrich the village’s cultural life and attract numerous visitors.