The mighty brick church stands in the centre of Šmartno pri Litiji, and is dedicated to St. Martin, after whom the place was named. According to some accounts, the church was named after St. Martin, the patron saint of wine, as there are many vineyards in the surrounding area, in the sunny location of the Šmarje hills. Another assumption about the origin of the name is related to mining on the Sitarjevec hill. According to legend, the church was built on the site where the buried miners managed to get safely back to the surface on the feast of St. Martin.
The church of St. Martin stands on the site of an older church, first mentioned in 1345. It became too small, so in 1899, it was demolished and a new one was erected in its place under the leadership of the pastor and dean, Ivan Lavrenčič. It was designed by the Graz architect Adolf Wagner, in the neo-Gothic style. This is reflected in the size and shape of the windows with a pointed arch, Gothic plant motifs, and an impressive height; it is 46 metres long and more than 16 metres high, the bell towers reach a height of 60 metres. In the baptismal chapel, there are tombstones of local dignitaries from the 16th century. 45 builders from the surrounding area and 60 locals took part in the construction of the church, which was completed in just two years (1899–1901), and was consecrated on 15 September 1901. The interior design is the work of many craftsmen; the Ljubljana stonemason Felix Toman, the carpenter Josip Izgoršek, the locksmith from Šmarje Anton Verbajs, and the glass craftsman Avgust Angol. The Viennese artist Kastner made paintings on both side altars, and the interior paintings above the altar, above the main entrance, and scenes of the Stations of the Cross were painted by Anton Jebačin from Ljubljana.
The church has been beautifully maintained since its construction, and offers visitors an exceptional insight into art from the time of its creation. In addition to sacral events, cultural events also take place in the church. The exceptional acoustics make it possible to organise choral singing concerts, which are especially magical when the organ accompaniment sounds between the church walls.
More information: Šmartno pri Litiji parish, Usnjarska cesta 6, Šmartno pri Litiji; T: 01 898 73 91 or 059 055 234, E: firstname.lastname@example.org