Every year, at the end of November, when the holiday season begins, the Christmas lights start decorating the streets of our cities. In Slovenia, the most known and visited places to observe the magic of Christmas lights are the lovely capital of Ljubljana and some other bigger cities like Maribor and Koper. But if you are not a fan of bigger crowds and would like to experience something different and special, I would recommend taking a trip to a town called Vojnik.
Vojnik is a small town in eastern Slovenia, located near the city of Celje, where you can visit an interesting medieval Celje Castle. The residents and local authorities of Vojnik have come up with a unique display of Christmas lights and nativity scenes, also known as "jaslice" in Slovenia, that are decorating the town’s streets. For the last four years, an event called Christmas Vojnik or Božični Vojnika has been taking place, lasting from the middle of December to the beginning of January. There, you can visit the Christmas market, have a snack or try a delicious mulled wine and start exploring the streets of Vojnik.
At first, you will feel like you have just entered a movie scene, with white and gold lights all around you and slow, holiday music playing from the speakers on the streets. Next to each house, a different nativity scene is set up, made from various materials like wood, paper, glass and even rubber. In 2018, a record number of more than 230 nativity scenes has been set up, varying from all sizes and from classic, more traditional displays, to the abstract ones.
There is also a special display of even more original nativity scenes, located inside the house of Saint Bartholomew. One of a kind displays, made from all sorts of materials, even nails, will take your breath away and enrich your imagination. Located next to it, is the church of Saint Bartholomew, more commonly known as Župnijska cerkev sv. Jerneja - another interesting sight to visit when in Vojnik. You can go inside the church and observe its interior, decorations and the largest nativity scene of them all.
All of the streets and paths leading to the displays are marked, and there are always friendly local people on the stands of the Christmas market, selling unique and home-made products, which can serve as a gift or a reminder of this lovely experience. The best time to visit Christmas Vojnik is, of course, in the evening, when the magic of Christmas lights can truly shine and leave you impressed. If you have missed it this year, don’t worry. I am sure that the tradition of Božični Vojnik will stay alive for many years to come, and there will hopefully be many more chances for you to come and enjoy it.
Picture © Credits to: Novice.si
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