Johann Weichard Frh. von Valvasor


Janez Vajkard Valvasor in the introduction of his own book.

Janez Vajkard Valvasor was a native of Ljubljana, a Carniolan, nobleman, commander in the Austrian army, historian and polymath. As Slovenia belonged to Austria at this time, it was called the Herzugtum Crain. The official language was Austrian, which is a form of German. So he his name was written Johann Weichard Valvasor, which in fact sounds very similar if spoken German.

He graduated at the Jesuit school in Ljubljana. Then he travelled around for fourteen years, all over Europe and to northern Africa. He became commander in the Austrian army during the Austrian-Turkish war. He fought in the region of Vojna Krajina (Militärgrenze) in Croatia.

When he came back, he married Anna Rosina Grafenweger and bought Bogenšperk castle near Litija. Here he installed a writing, drawing and printing workshop. He wrote and published books, and his most famous book is The Glory of the Duchy of Carniol. He described and explained many karst phenomena, among them the periodic lake Cercnica. His creative explanation of this phenomena brought him a membership of the Royal Geographical Society in London.

A weird fact is, that actually this book also contains the first written account about a vampire. This geographic work contains local legends and one of them is about a Croatian farmer named Giure Grando, how had the habit of returning from the grave and frightening his relatives and neighbours.


28-MAY-1641 born in Ljubljana, father: Jernej, mother: Ana Marija b. Ravbar.
1658 graduated at age 17 at the Jesuit school in Ljubljana.
1663/64 participated in the Austrian-Turkish war.
1672 married Anna Rosina Grafenweger.
1672 bought Bogenšperk castle near Litija.
1678 installed a workshop for copperplate engraving.
1688 membership of the Royal Geographical Society.
1689 published The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola (Die Ehre des Herzogthums Crain).
1693 died in Krško, and is buried in the family tomb near Izlake.


The following work, published in four books in the year 1689, was the main work of Valvasor, and his last one. There was no publishing house, so he had to finance the book himself. This was so expensive, he spent all his money and had to sell Bogenšperk castle finally, to pay the loans.

This book is important in many ways, as it describes and explains numerous geographic and geologic features, which have never before been described. It influenced geoscience for centuries. There is a second edition, published in the 19th century. The editor tried to correct mispellings, which means he transformed the style and language of the 17th century into the language of the 19th century. Many authors use the first edition, but as it is very rare and expensive, sometimes you can only see the second edition. This fact explains differences in language if different authors cite the same passages.

The following book was written in German, the official language of Crain. The english translation of the Title would be: The Glory of the Duchy of Carniol.