The great twin towers of St. Stephen's dominate
the attractive old town of Ribnica, situated in a lovely river valley
and surrounded by heavily wooded hills. The ancient walls of the
10th century castle enclose a tranquil park commemorating centuries
of important cultural figures born in the Ribnica valley. Among
these are the composer Jacobus Gallus, linguists Dr. Ivan Prijatelj
and Stanislav Škrabec, and the first cartographer of Slovenia, Peter
Kozler. The castle itself houses a charming archaeological museum
and a magnificent collection of local arts and crafts including
the famous wooden ware and pottery. The 19th century church of St.
Stephen is one of the largest in Slovenia, its present twin towers
a later addition by Jože Plečnik. Not far from the town centre is
the village of Hrovače, where the former home of Stanislav Škrabec
has been beautifully restored.
A short distance from the north-west of Ribnica is the beautifully
located Church of St. Ulric at Maršiči. This exquisite small church
is decorated with lovely early 16th century frescoes, painted in
a colourful folkloric style. The principal images are of the Journey
of the Magi and Nativity, and the well-known painting of a pilgrim
in the form of a fox. This well-defined allegory combines Reformation
ideas with a traditional folkloric depiction of an animal a beautiful
short essay in humour and history.