Orientation & Geography

Europe, Slovenia, Jugovzhodna Slovenija

Kočevje (German: Gottschee) is a city and a municipality in southern Slovenia. In terms of area it is the largest municipality in Slovenia. It is located between the rivers Krka and Kolpa and is part of the traditional region of Lower Carniola. It is now included in the Jugovzhodna Slovenija statistical region. The name also refers to the former Gottschee county in the Habsburg Empire and its German speaking population that was settled in the area from the 14th century onwards. Until the mid 20th century it remained a German linguistic enclave. Their language was a dialect of Bavarian called Gottscheerish or Granish. The German speakers were known for their folk songs. The Gottscheerish dialect is now considered to be critically endangered, with few remaining native speakers.The area is well known for its ancient forest and wild animals, including brown bears. The parish church in the city is dedicated to Saint Bartholomew (Slovene: Sveti Jernej) and belongs to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Novo Mesto. It is a Neo-Romanesque building erected between 1887 and 1903 on the site of an earlier church.