Near the Slovenian-Italian border, in the embrace of the lush landscapes of the picturesque Slovenian karst region, lies the Lipizzan Majority. Founded in the 16th century, the stud is one of the most important places in Slovenia's historical and cultural heritage, and as an attraction it offers a special experience even for those who have less understanding of horses.
The Lipizzaner breed, one of the most famous horses in the world, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016. Visitors can also learn about its history in detail in the Majority. The farm offers an all-day program and is one of the most popular attractions in Slovenia for families.
Map - Where is Lipica?
Lipica stretches in the southwestern part of Slovenia, not far from the Italian border. The Slovenian coast is a short walk away, while the famous Postojna and Skocjan caves are also within an ideal distance.
- Distance to the Slovenian coast: 30 minutes / 30 km
- Distance to Postojna Cave: 30 minutes / 50 km
- Distance to Skocjan Cave: 45 minutes / 85 km
- Distance from Ljubljana: 1 hour / 85 km
History of the Lipizzaner stud
A II. The stud, founded in 1578 by the Austrian Archduke Charles, was owned by the imperial family until 1918. Charles wanted to breed horses that would stand their ground in the imperial court, the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, both in terms of character and appearance.
The Slovenian karst region was chosen for this purpose because its soil is very similar to that of Spain. The majors were established in the area of the abandoned summer residence of the bishop of Trieste.
In the 16th century, the number of stud farms increased further, and in the early 18th century, during the reign of Emperor Joseph, the number of facilities was increased.
The Lipizzaner breed was introduced to the general public in 1735 at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. During the reign of Maria Theresa, the Lipizzaner herd was dealt with even more, mainly due to her husband, Francis I, who was a real obsession with horses.
However, there have also been ups and downs throughout the history of the Lipizzaner stud, and more and more difficulties have arisen since the late 18th century. During the wars, the herd had to be fled several times to other regions, during the Napoleonic Wars and the First and Second World War. horses were also relocated during World War II.
Eventually, however, they returned to their original location and managed to revive the stock that had meanwhile dwindled. The most in the II. World War I was plagued by the stud. In 1963, the herd consisted of only 59 horses. Apart from the wars, natural disasters did not ease the fate of the stud.
An earthquake shook the major in 1802, at which time buildings collapsed and many valuable horses were destroyed. In the 1990s, however, Lipica rallied with renewed vigor and can now see a huge development behind it. The major is currently the safe and modern home of more than 400 Lipizzan horses.
Characteristics of the Lipizzaner horse
The strong, muscular and hardy horse typical of the karst region is as present in the bloodline as the horses popular with Spaniards across Europe. On the lipica exterior is a smaller, short-necked, muscular-backed variety.
Its special feature is that it is born with dark hair and acquires its characteristic white colour only at the age of 5-6, which is one of the main characteristics of the Lipizzan breed.
When it was bred, one of the goals was to be able to boast of it at court ceremonies as well. This required an easy and gracefully moving horse that could also learn quickly. The world has admired the proud gait, excellent balance and special temperament of this horse for centuries.
The Lipizzan Majority
Every day, tourists can also admire them in the Majorca of Lipica, who can get to know this variety, which is also recognised by UNESCO, as part of a spectacular show.
Even if we slip off the show, it’s also worth checking out the horse training, which takes place every morning in the majors.
There is a restaurant, two hotels (with sauna, swimming pool and fitness room) and several golf courses for several days. The beautiful natural surroundings of the Majorca offer excellent opportunities for hiking or cycling.
Although it may seem to visitors, the majority is not primarily a tourist attraction. Lipica is still dedicated to horse breeding, and regularly hosts horse fairs and international competitions, e.g. also for the World Dressage Championships.
The Lipizzaner stud is an internationally recognised equestrian center that is visited by a large number of foreign visitors throughout the year, including not only spectators but also experts in horses.
There are camps and children’s programs here in the summer, and lovers of the area are lucky enough to be able to take riding lessons here all year round.
But neither the Lipikum Museum nor the stables can be missed, about which the leader can tell many interesting stories.
The museum presents the essence of the Lipizzaner stud in an interactive way and in a way that is less understandable to those less familiar with horses, what it meant and what it means today for Slovenia and for Europe and the world.