Church of St. Stephen in Sora
Many churches had previously been built at the place of the present-day church. The present-day church was built in 1884. One of Slovenian first poets, Valentin Vodnik, worked there in the 18th century, while writer Franc Saleški Finžgar worked there in the beginning of the 20th century. A commemorative room was arranged in Sora for the latter.
Remains of the Knapovže lead and mercury mine
In the valley of the Ločnica Stream, the remains of the former lead and mercury mine are still visible. The mining started there already in the 16th century. In the memory of the mining, the locals call the settlement Knapovže (knap = miner). Lead from Carinthia was more competitive, which resulted in the mine's closure. Along the road to Katarina, the remains of the mineshafts can still be seen today.
Topol or Katarina, Brezovica or Sveti Jakob (St. Jacob)?
Topol, which is better known among hikers as Katarina (after the Church of St. Catherine), consists of several hamlets scattered on the slopes below the hills of Jeterbenk, Rog and Jakob.
Jakob's story is similar to that of Katarina. The slope used to be called Brezovica, as is the village under it, but because of the Church of St. Jacob, hikers started calling it Jakob.
Polhov Gradec Dolomites Landscape Park
Nature has endowed these places with forests with approximately the same share of coniferous and deciduous trees. There are plenty of beautiful meadows on the ridges and gradual slopes near the villages and in the valleys, which have preserved their biotic diversity due to less intensive farming.
Pointed dolomite summits are a distinctive feature, which gave the hills their name – the Polhov Gradec Dolomites. Besides dolomites, the Polhov Gradec Hills are also built from pure limestone, various impermeable rocks and a small share of volcanic rocks. As a larger continuous surface, limestone occurs between Toško Čelo and Topol in the Ravnik Plateau, where also karst phenomena can be noticed. Among the peaks standing out among the steep rocky areas, best known are Grmada (898 m) and Sveti Lovrenc Mountain.
Church of St. Catherine, Topol
The church was built at the beginning of the 17th century. Its architecture is characteristic of the early Baroque in Slovenia. The presbytery is one of its special features. The frescos, main altar and the painting of St. Catherine are the work of Ivan and Helena Vurnik from 1919 and 1920, while France Kralj is the author of the altar cross.
The castle of the Hertenberg knights, ministers of the Spanheims and the dukes of Carinthia, once stood on Jeterbenk Hill (a non-standard word deriving from German Hertenberg). Ministers were members of lower nobility who performed military or administrative service for higher nobles, and the Spanheims were those famous noblemen whose seat was at Ljubljana Castle and who first used the renowned coat of arms with a black climbing panther on white background, which some people wished for to become a national symbol of the Republic of Slovenia. As the Spanheims had no descendants, the rule over their lands (including Carniola) was inherited by Ottokar II of Bohemia, who also adopted the aforementioned coat of arms. But his rule was short-lived, as he was killed in a battle with the Habsburgs in Moravia, and the rule over this part of present-day Slovenia was taken over by the Counts of Gorica who held it until 1335 when it was claimed by the Habsburgs.
In written sources, Jeterbenk Castle was first explicitly mentioned in 1252, and for the last time in 1444 when it had already been abandoned. The original tower-like building at the top of the hill was replaced in the 14th century by a more modern building at the site of a former fortification near the Church of St. Margaret in Žlebe (on the other side of the hill, which you can see in front of you), but it was soon abandoned, perhaps even demolished on purpose. Namely, the knights of Hertenberg were robbers and there is a great possibility that they got hurt during one of the Habsburg punitive campaigns. Besides the aforementioned building, the Hertenberg knights had allegedly erected the Nebovz (Nebojse) tower, which is mentioned in the folk narratives, but its actual location has never been found. The treasure, the knights allegedly hid under Jeterbenk Castle, has also never been found.
This is an interesting stone bridge over the Mavelščica Stream below Seničica, where the road turns towards Medno Motel. The bridge was built in 1666 (this year is engraved in the bridge) and it was one of the most important transport facilities on the way from Ljubljana to Upper Carniola at the time. Napoleon himself had nothing to do with the construction of the bridge, as it was built more than a century before he was born, but it got such a name later, because Napoleon's army marched over it.