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Church of St. Michael in the Marsh

Ljubljana, Slovenia
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The church designed by Jože Plečnik between the two world wars in marshes (Barje) near Ljubljana. Plecnik's creativity is evident in this wooden church where, in spite of a very limited budget, he managed to create a peaceful and informal environment.

This church is one of the most original sacred buildings of 20th century in Slovenia. The richness of colors and shapes which reminiscent of the baroque churches gives to this building a special atmosphere. The inspiration was the architect antiquity, as evidenced by wall behind the altar copied from the mosaics of Ravenna. His second example has been the art of Benedictine monks of the monastery in the German Beuronu. The roof reminds to the Etruscan architecture, which he considered to be of Slavic origin. Plečnik used local material and made the construction extremely cheap. He got stone from nears Podpeč stone quarry and the locals have donated wood. They dumb about 350 oak piles in marshy soil.

The Elements

The church hall lies at the angle to the entrance and is because of frequent flooding on the marsh elevated up to the second floor. The main entrance is over main staircase that ascends in the shape of a bridge and continues through the bell tower. The priest's living quarters are located in the first floor apse, which is built of stone. IN the apse there are stair for the priest to entry the vestry from his living quarters. The bell tower, which function like belvedere, is detached from the building because for reasons of statics. It is constructed as a wall supported by arches. The walls of the church hall are filled in with wood and the columns with polished concrete pipes originally intended for the sewage system. The roof is covered by concrete tiles, a copy of Roman roof tile, and is another elements that reduced the building costs.