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Šoštanj is located in Slovenia
Location in Slovenia
Coordinates: 46°22′47.16″N 15°2′53.65″E / 46.3797667°N 15.0482361°E / 46.3797667; 15.0482361Coordinates: 46°22′47.16″N 15°2′53.65″E / 46.3797667°N 15.0482361°E / 46.3797667; 15.0482361
Country Flag of Slovenia.svg Slovenia
Traditional region Styria
Statistical region Savinja
Municipality Šoštanj
 • Total 3.7 km2 (1.4 sq mi)
Elevation 358.7 m (1,176.8 ft)
Population (2012)
 • Total 2,933
Climate Cfb

Šoštanj (pronounced [ˈʃoːʃtan]; German: Schönstein) is a town in northern Slovenia. It is the seat of the Municipality of Šoštanj. The area is part of the traditional region of Styria. The entire municipality is now included in the Savinja Statistical Region.[2]


1955 postcard of Šoštanj

Šoštanj was first mentioned in written documents dating to around 1200 as Schönstein in relation to its castle. As a market town it was first mentioned in 1348. It was given town status in 1919 and until the 1960s was the center of the Šalek Valley (Slovene: Šaleška dolina). In 1963 nearby Velenje became the administrative center. Šoštanj again became a municipal center in the late 1990s.[3] The town has a long leather-working history, with industrial-scale activity going back to 1788. The factory was owned by the Woschnagg family, a Germanized branch of the Vošnjak family, until it was nationalized in 1945.[4] The processing factory was closed down in 1999. A leather industry museum is now open in the town.[5]

Mass graves[edit]

Šoštanj is the site of four known mass graves and one unmarked grave from the period immediately after the Second World War. The Gorica 1–4 mass graves (Slovene: Grobišče Gorica 1–4) all lie north of Lake Šoštanj. The first grave is also known as the Čebul Meadow Mass Grave (Grobišče Čebulov travnik).[6] The second grave is also known as the Stvarnik Meadow Mass Grave (Grobišče na Stvarnikovi njivi) or the Bodjan Meadow Mass Grave (Grobišče na Bodjanovi njivi).[7] The four graves contain the remains of Slovene, Croatian, and German civilians that were murdered on the Gorica Ridge northeast of the town in late May 1945 as they were fleeing to Carinthia. The victims include a group of wealthy Šoštanj residents murdered on 23 May 1945.[8][9] The graves are part of the same set as the Družmirje 1 and 2 mass graves. The Janez Pirmanšek Grave (Grob Janeza Pirmanška) lies in a meadow west of the town, at Primorska Cesta no. 7, above the sawmill and log storage area. A memorial to Šoštanj residents that fell while serving in the German army formerly stood at the site. The grave contained the remains of the Slovene civilian Janez Pirmanšek, who was liquidated on 20 May 1945.[10]

Power plant[edit]

Šoštanj Power Plant begun producing electricity in 1956.[11] The plant is partly sponsored by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank, and is highly controversial. [12]


The parish church in the town is dedicated to Michael the Archangel and belongs to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Celje. A second church in town was built in 1776 on the site of a 13th-century predecessor and is dedicated to Saints Hermagoras and Fortunatus.[13]

Notable residents[edit]


External links[edit]