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A Little Masterpiece in the Marsh

This is the Trnovo parish church in Crna vas, Ljubljana Marshes landscape park, Slovenia, dedicated to Saint Michael - known as the Church of St. Michael in the Marsh:

It was designed and built by the famous Slovene architect Jože Plecnik in the late thirties and consecrated in 1940.

This little architectural gem is unique in many aspects. The sanctuary has an unusual orientation – the altar is placed on the longer side of the nave, bringing the priest closer to the congregation. The architect was inspired by the classical antiquity (the altar is reminiscent of the mosaics of Ravenna, the roof is mimicking those of Etruscan temples) and by the Benedictine monastery in Beuron.

St. Michael in the Marsh looks small from the air ...

The materials used were strictly local, from timber to stones from the ancient Podpec quarry to bricks from Vrhnika, made from clay of the Marshes.

The belltower is inspired by Mediterranean bell-gables, almost one-dimensional, with arches and openings reducing its weight.

Dynamic, flat, and light bell tower of St. Michael's

Because of the soggy, marshy terrain, the church is built on 347 oak driven deep in the soil. The nave of the church is on the first floor with monumental staircase leading to it (a tribute to the floods the people of the Marshes were battling), and the interior was designed by Plecnik to the last detail.

Intermingling stones and bricks enlighten the seriousness of the dark timber and concrete pillars.

St. Michael in the Marsh represent a true modernist innovation in religious architecture, and is - together with other works of master Plecnik - included in the Tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Cute little St. Michael and the vast Ljubljana Marshes beyond.

These kite aerial photos of St Michael in the Marsh were made by two very young and aspiring kite aerial photographers - Viktor (8, pilot) and Maša (12, co-pilot), flying a Canon A810 on the Blue Rokkaku kite.