Little village of Jamnik
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. In this article I’m going to show you the best places to get photographs of this great church and view.
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 atheist.
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.
View from down below
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. Take the exit off the motorway on the north side of the tunnel and then right into the little village of Dobro Polje. From a bus stop in Dobro Polje 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.
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.
These are my two favourites so far:
Main view from the top
To get to the church, head north from Ljubljana on the motorway towards Kranj and Jesenice, take the exit for Brezje and head towards the iron-forging village of Kropa. Here, go straight through and drive 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 a layby further along that is usually lined with firewood. You’ll often see cars parked here, although it’s advisable not to. There is also a place a little further down where people park, but this is a turning place for the local place so you might find yourself in trouble if you do.
The roadside view beside the pile of firewood is the most popular viewpoint 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 these ones:
View from the gravel road below
However, there is 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 the gravel track. From this point the church and the mountains are more in line.
Spring and summer sunrise
Around the end of 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.
In particular, at the end of May as it moves northwards, the sun will rise right behind Storzic, the volcano-shaped mountain behind. In July it will do so again as it travels back southwards. The photo at the top of this blog was taken end of May, and the ones below was taken in May and July.
The path towards the church
The path towards the church also provides some great viewpoints, especially from this tree:
View from the roadside between the village and Kropa
There is another viewpoint that you cannot miss when you are driving up from Kropa.
Further along past the village
When there is fresh snow on the mountains this can be a great viewpoint.
Don't forget to look 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
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.
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