Kamnik, Franciscan church of St. Jacob

There is scarce information on pre-historic Kamnik and based on a handful of evidence only assumptions may be made. Similarly, the era of the migration at the time of the fall of the Roman Empire is completely blank. Kamnik thus rose out of anonymity only in the medieval times and prospered under the guidance of Stari Grad and Mali grad Castles. It was a lively tradesmen centre, with its mint and several notable noble families to whom it served as home. Written records first mention Kamnik in the 12th century, at the time when it was the centre of the vast Carniolan lands of the Bavarian noble family, the Counts of Andechs.  They manifested their importance also with the mint that manufactured coins with the inscription ‘Civitas Stein’. Although the inhabitants are noted in written records in 1229, the town got its town privileges before that. On 29th March 1874, Rudolf Maister, a famous Slovene military officer and activist, was born in Kamnik and the town thus became Maister’s town. In 1996, the municipality proclaimed his birth date to be a civic holiday on which the people of Kamnik pay respect to their great fellow inhabitant.

According to Janez Vajkard Valvasor, the first church of St James was built around 1474, which is even before the arrival of the Franciscans in Kamnik, and the monastery right after 1493. The friary owns a rich library, while the church takes pride in one of the last works of the great Slovene architect Jože Plečnik – the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre.  In 1695 the church and the monastery were renovated. 

The church was built in the Baroque style and was decorated by two famous Baroque painters: Valentin Metzinger and Anton Cebej. Its hall is rectangular and is covered by a barrel vault.  On the north and south side there are shrines with altars. The presbytery is slightly lower and covered with a shallow dome. In the second half of the 19th century the well-renowned Kamnik painter Matija Koželj (along with other artists) also helped beautify the interior of the church.


Frančiškanski samostan Kamnik
Frančiškanski trg 2
1240 Kamnik

T: 00386 1 83 18 030
F: 00386 1 83 18 050
E: franciskani.kamnik@rkc.si