Perched on a hill on the Jelovica Plateau with the kamnik alps and storzic mountain in the background is the church of Saints Primus and Felician in the little village of Jamnik, which might otherwise be passed off as just another hilltop village.
Jamnik Church is one of Slovenia’s most photographed views, and rightly so. Whether you are religious or not, you cannot deny that being up here makes you feel closer to God. The early Christian saints and missionaries certainly knew where to build their churches for maximum peace and inspiration. A view like this could convert even the most fervent athiest.
The church sits at 831 metres atop a bare green hill surrounded by forested hillsides and commands panoramic views of the Ljubljana Basin to the south, Kamnik Alps to the east, Karavanke Alps to the north and the Julian Alps to the west.
Like many churches in Slovenia, it’s lit at night so it’s a great location for dawn and dusk photos, especially when surrounded by morning mist.
You can get a clear view of the church from the motorway as you head north from Ljubljana. It’s visible just before and after the tunnel near Brezje. From a bus stop in Brezje you can take a photo if you have a good telephoto lens. I often stop here at dusk on the way back from Bled to photograph it with a 400mm. These are my two favourites so far:
From this viewpoint the church looks like a beacon shining bright for all to see at night. And in actual fact, this hilltop was just that during the era of the Ottoman raids when locals lit a big fire on the hill to warn everyone in the surrounding area of an impending attack.
To get to the church, head north from Ljubljana on the motorway towards Kranj and Jesenice to the iron-forging village of Kropa and go straight through and head up the twisty hill that follows. At the top of the hill you’ll be in Jamnik, and you won’t be able to miss the church on the left. If there is space, you can park at small layby on the corner from where the footpath to the church starts. There’s also an interesting, less photographed, view through the trees to the church here:
There is also a layby further along that is usually lined with firewood. You can park here, and this is also the most popular view point for photographing the church. From here you get a lovely view of the church with the Kamnik Alps and Storzic Mountain behind it. Many of the photos you see will have been taken from this viewpoint, including this one:
However, there is also another viewpoint on a little gravel road just below, so head down the steps from the first layby and at the sign at the bottom go right and walk along here. From this point the church and the mountains are more in line.
From May through the summer the sun will rise from behind the Kamnik Alps. If you time it right, and get the right position then some spectacular photos can be made. The photo at the top of this blog was taken end of May, and the ones below was taken early July.
The path towards the church also provides some great viewpoints, especially from this tree:
Although the church best shot in the morning or evening, it’s also good to photograph at any time of the day, when there is some good cloud around:
Of course although the church is the main attraction here, the views of the surrounding hills are also great. You can see many other little hilltop churches from this viewpoint, such as Sveti Jost near the city of Kranj:
Jamnik is easy to reach by car. If you like to hike, you can also park your car in the village of Kropa and hike the walking trail up to the church.
Join me on my Slovenia Alpine Wonders Photography Workshop and photograph this church