From forests to meadow orchards, endangered birds to castles and old mills, from vineyard trails to concerts – to say that Kozjansko Park offers an abundance of attractions, both natural and manmade, would be to seriously undersell it. Covering an area of 206 square kilometers, it’s a regional park – it’s the largest regional park in Slovenia.
As such it offers more than just the usual flora and fauna you find in other, lesser, parks you might pass through on your way to somewhere else. Whether you’re a cyclist or an art lover, a hiker or a photographer, you’ll find something to appeal to your interests. This is a multi-faceted tourist destination in its own right and dominates the region. With its different eco-systems, expect to find everything from sub-Alpine rolling hills to fecund vineyards and flat plains. Interspersed within the landscape are churches, chapels, castles, houses and commercial buildings.
The park was established in 1981 but its boundaries aren’t exactly defined. In general, the area south of the Voglajna river, west of the Sotla river, east of the Savinja river and north of the eastern part of the Posavje hills is known as the Kozjansko region and the park is bounded to the north by the Rudnica mountain, to the east by the Sotla river and to the south the boundary runs over Vetrnik and Orlica to the Senovsko and Bizeljsko hills. It’s an architecturally significant place too, with castle buildings dating from the 10th century and ancient stone signs dotted across the landscape. Among those that haven’t succumbed to the elements and ended up in ruins, are several impressive structures, the most famous of which is Podsreda. Aside from that there are sights to see in Pišece, Bizeljsko and Olimje, to name but three. The Parish Church of Pišece, to take just one example, dates back in official records to 1651. This Baroque-style church of St Michael boasts a rectangular nave, a double hanging dome and a square presbytery vaulted by a dome, which houses four tombstones of the Moscon family, the former owners of the nearby Pišece Castle.
Ethnological monuments are also an important fixture of the park and the owners are keen to point to its buildings, groups of buildings, everyday objects and other products that reflect the lifestyle of the Slovenian, Italian and Hungarian people who have made this region their home at one time or another. Of the 96 ethnological monuments in Kozjansko Park one of the most striking is the Levstik mill in Podsreda. Info: +386 (0)3 800 71 00, [email protected], www.kozjanski-park.si.