A walk through the history of what is today the municipality of Sevnica shows us that the vast landscape along the left and right bank of the Sava River has been inhabited since ancient times. This area used to be home to the Illyrians and Celts, and later came under the rule of the Roman Empire. The Ajdovski Gradec archaeological site, which used to be an early Christian settlement, testifies to the turbulent times of the Migration Period.
Sevnica was first mentioned under the name Lichtenwald in 1256 when the area belonged to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. After a short period under Hungarian rule, this region was ruled by the Habsburg Monarchy until the end of the First World War.
Sevnica was not spared by Turkish incursions nor by peasant revolts. That is why the hill castle of Sevnica, under which the town began to develop, was fortified in the 16th century. The town square burned down several times and the city has been affected by the plague. The plague column and the Church of St. Roch on a hill above the town are reminders of those times.
Sevnica was granted market rights in 1322, the right to organize fairs in 1513, and the right to hold annual food fairs in 1783. A military base in Sevnica was first mentioned in 1292, while a medieval castle was not mentioned in written sources until 1309. The castle is a silent witness of the times between the Renaissance and the Baroque period. Below the castle stands the Lutheran Cellar from the 16th century, which is one of the most beautiful monuments of the Renaissance in Slovenia. The Slovene reformer, writer, and translator Jurij Dalmatin is supposed to have taught Luther’s teachings in this building.
The oldest building in the main square of Sevnica is the lower castle, which was built in 1613. Together with the Neo-Romanesque Parish Church of St. Nicholas, the Church of St. Florian from 1443, and the statue of St. Martin from the 17th century it represents the oldest part of town.
In the 19th century, the Slovenian national movement was heavily present in Sevnica. In 1866, the first reading society of Posavje was founded here. After that, in 1869, an assembly was held, at which conscious Slovenes demanded the political program United Slovenia.
When a railway was built through Sevnica in 1862, the new part of the town began to develop outside the market area, near the railway station. At the beginning of the 20th century, faster development of the industry followed and Sevnica became the most developed town in the Posavje region between the wars, closely followed by Krmelj with its coal mine. During the Second World War, the area was forcefully included in Hitler’s migration program, leaving a deep and painful scar in the collective memory of the local population.
Sevnica received city rights in 1952. The town of about 5,000 inhabitants is the industrial, craft, commercial, cultural, and administrative center of the Sevnica municipality and its extensive hinterland. This region is dominated by the woodworking, metalworking, chemical, and textile industry. However, small farming, fruit growing, viticulture, agriculture, and livestock farming are also strongly represented in this area. The greater part of the municipality consists of a picturesque countryside with meadows, cultivated fields, vineyards, and hills, on which churches stand like lone guards. The area has been gifted by nature with two native flower species – azalea and gentian that reveal their beauty in May.
The entire area of the Sevnica municipality offers countless opportunities for excursions, picnics in nature, hiking, biking, and fishing.
- Sevnica, foto Jože Hvala
- Železna cesta, foto Jože Hvala
- Ajdovski gradec, foto Jože Hvala