|Traditional region||Inner Carniola|
|Statistical region||Central Slovenia|
|• Total||18.9 km2 (7.3 sq mi)|
|Elevation||293.1 m (961.6 ft)|
Vrhnika (pronounced [ˈʋəɾxnika] (listen); German: Oberlaibach) is a town in Slovenia. It is the seat of the Municipality of Vrhnika. It is located on the Ljubljanica River, 21 km from Ljubljana along the A1 motorway.
Vrhnika lies at the southwest end of the Ljubljana Marsh near the sources of the Ljubljanica River, where the Ljubljana Basin opens up between the foot of Ljubljana Peak (Slovene: Ljubljanski vrh, 819 meters or 2,687 feet) and Ulovka Hill (801 meters or 2,628 feet). The territory of the town extends south onto the Logatec Plateau (Slovene: Logaška planota), where the Big and Little Drnovica Collapse Sinkholes (Slovene: Velika Drnovica, Mala Drnovica) are found. A rich network of springs and streams originates and joins near the town to form the source of the Ljubljanica.
The settlement at the location of today's Vrhnika was attested in antiquity as Nauportus in Latin, and as Ναύποντος and Νάμπορτος in Greek. Medieval attestations of the name include de superiory Laybaco in 1300, Oberlaybach in 1308 (and Ober Laybach in 1309), and Vernich in 1481, corresponding to the modern Slovene name. In the past, the town was known as Oberlaibach in standard German. The Slovene name is probably a compound of vrh 'top, summit' + nika or nikve 'creek, spring', referring to the source of the Ljubljanica River. The Latin name Nauportus is a compound of navis 'boat' + portus 'transfer', referring to a place where cargo had to be transferred from boats to pack animals or carts along a trade route. A mythological reinterpretation of the Latin name as referring to the portage of a boat itself (specifically, the Argo) appears in Pliny the Elder's Natural History.
Vrhnika became a market town and was among the wealthiest towns in Carniola up to the early 18th century, when it started to lose importance. Nevertheless, it remained one of main transportation junctions in Inner Austria because of its strategic location on the crossroads between the trade routes from Trieste to Vienna and from Rijeka to Klagenfurt. The development of the town was strongly impaired by the construction of the Austrian Southern Railway in the 1840s, which bypassed it. From then on, it started losing importance, becoming a satellite town of Ljubljana, which has remained up to this day.
Vrhnika is the site of a mass grave from the period immediately after the Second World War. The Pikec Valley Mass Grave (Slovene: Grobišče pri Pikčevi dolini) is located at the bottom of a sinkhole southwest of the town, on Sveč Hill near the Vojc house. It contains the remains of six German prisoners of war that were murdered in May 1945.
Notable people that were born or lived in Vrhnika include:
- Baltazar Baebler (1880–1936), chemist
- Arnošt Brilej (1891–1953), hiking and tourism specialist
- Ivan Cankar (1876–1918), writer
- Karel Cankar (1877–1953), journalist and editor
- Stane Dremelj (1906–1992), painter
- Karel Grabeljšek (1906–1985), writer
- Janko Grampovčan (1897–1974), economist
- Francis Jager (1869–1934), beekeeping and orchard expert
- Gabrijel Jelovšek (1858–1927), merchant
- Franc Lah (1816–1890), sculptor
- Andrej Lenarčič (1859–1936), agricultural specialist
- Josip Lenarčič (1856–1939), merchant
- Anton Maier (1859–1943), education specialist
- Ignacij Mihevc (1870–1939), politician and journalist
- Floris Oblak (1924–2006), poet and writer
- Simon Ogrin (1851–1930), painter
- Franc Popit (1921–2013), communist politician
- Radoslav Silvester (1841–1923), poet and composer
- Ignac Voljč (nom de guerre Fric; 1904–1944), People's Hero of Yugoslavia
- Jakob Voljč (1878–1900), poet and writer
- Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia
- Leksikon občin kraljestev in dežel zastopanih v državnem zboru, vol. 6: Kranjsko. 1906. Vienna: C. Kr. Dvorna in Državna Tiskarna, p. 120.
- Savnik, Roman, ed. 1968. Krajevni leksikon Slovenije, vol. 1. Ljubljana: Državna založba Slovenije, pp. 453–454.
- Čepon, Barbara. 2010. Vrednotenje naravnih znamenitosti v Občini Vrhnika za turistično rabo. Bachelor's thesis. Ljubljana: Biotehniška fakulteta, Oddelek za krajinsko arhitekturo, p. 25.
- Snoj, Marko. 2009. Etimološki slovar slovenskih zemljepisnih imen. Ljubljana: Modrijan and Založba ZRC, pp. 468–469.
- Curk I. et al. (1993). In the footsteps of Roman soldiers in Slovenia. Ljubljana: Zavod Republike Slovenije za varstvo naravne in kulturne dediščine Slovenije. COBISS 35642624
- Johann Weikhard von Valvasor: The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola, published 1689, translated extracts published 1984 by Mladinska knjiga, pp. 240, 241.
- Orožen Adamič M., Perko D., Kladnik D. (1995). Krajevni leksikon Slovenije. Ljubljana: DZS. ISBN 86-341-1141-5 COBISS 36607233 (in Slovene)
- Pikec Valley Mass Grave on Geopedia (in Slovene)
- Dežman, Jože. 2009. Poročilo Komisije vlade Republike Slovenije za reševanje vprašanj prikritih grobišč: 2005-2008. Ljubljana: Družina, p. 1909.
- Slovenski biografski leksikon: Baltazar Baebler.
- Slovenski biografski leksikon: Karel Cankar.
- Slovenski biografski leksikon: Francis Jager.
- Slovenski biografski leksikon: Gabrijel Viktor Jelovšek.
- Slovenski biografski leksikon: Franc Lah.
- Doma in po svetu. 1936. Trgovski list 19(139) (29 December): 4.
- Slovenski biografski leksikon: Josip Lenarčič.
- Slovenski biografski leksikon: Anton Maier.
- Slovenski biografski leksikon: Ignacij Mihevc.
- Slovenski biografski leksikon: Simon Ogrin.
- Slovenski biografski leksikon: Radoslav Silvester.
- Slovenski biografski leksikon: Jakob Voljč.
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