Russian Chapel

Russian Chapel

Explore local heritage

Russian chapel

Lake Jasna
Must see
Elevation: 818 - 1.132 m
7.3 km
Local heritage
Height difference: 325 m
1 h 44 min walk
Asphalt road
Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

The Russian Chapel was built in honor of the Russian soldiers who were building the road over the Vršič Pass in World War I and were tragically buried by an avalanche. Reportedly, 170 to 300 Russian and 10 to 80 Austro-Hungarian soldiers died during the road construction. Kranjska Gora was an important strategic point on the Isonzo Front at this time. The Orthodox wooden chapel of St Vladimir was built in 1916 and next to it is the grave of one of the buried soldiers with the Russian inscription ‘To the Sons of Russia’. The chapel is wooden and has a stone foundation. The two domes imitate the typical Russian Baroque style.

The Russian Chapel is dedicated to the memory of the Russian soldiers who were buried in an avalanche during the construction of the road over the Vršič mountain pass.

In 2006, the road to Vršič has renamed the Russian Road and connects Kranjska Gora with Bovec. All the turns are paved and numbered. Every first Sunday in September, the “Juriš na Vršič” or Goni Pony cycling event takes place on the road past the chapel.

Already at the time of Slovenia’s independence, the Kranj Institute for Nature Conservation and Cultural Heritage restored parts of the Russian Chapel, restored the graves of Russian prisoners at Erjavec lodge (Erjavčeva koča), cleaned and restored the grave of the unknown soldier next to the chapel and erected an information billboard. Since 1996, a Memorial Ceremony has been held at the Chapel every last Sunday in July, attended by many important Slovenian and Russian representatives. In the following years, the chapel’s deteriorated elements were continuously repaired, until in 2005, with the help of the Ministry of Culture and a donation from Russian sponsors, it was completely restored with its surroundings.

In 2015, the ceremony was attended by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and a year later by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.

How to get to the Russian Chapel?

You will have to drive past the Jasna lakes, uphill towards the Vršič mountain pass, and past the Mihov dom mountain lodge. The Russian Chapel is located at the fifth kilometer of the Kranjska Gora – Vršič road at an altitude of 1,100 m. The area around the chapel is fenced and landscaped with paths and benches. On the opposite side of the road, there is a parking space for visitors to the chapel.

Sights in the immediate vicinity

If you go to the Russian Chapel, you can also see:

  • Jasna Lakes
  • Panoramic view on the way to Vršič (the Prisank window is particularly nice)
  • The Vršič mountain pass itself and the frozen face in the Prisank wall – the Pagan Girl
  • Have refreshments in one of the lodges on the way
  • Visit the Land of Kekec (Kekčeva dežela) with your children
  • Descend into the Tamar Valley and visit Bovec
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