travel

What to do and see in Melania Trump's hometown

By John Malathronas

Published May 23, 2018

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The Slovenian town of Sevnica was at the top of few must-visit travel lists -- until November 2016, when Melania Trump was revealed as the next first lady of the United States.

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Now, tourists flock even to the elementary school in the town where the third Mrs. Trump, born Melanija Knavs, spent her formative years.

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Sevnica, the nearby town of Raka, and the surrounding region of Posavje are taking full advantage of the new interest in the area in an attempt to become a major travel destination.

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These are some of the highlights for travelers who spend time near where Melania Trump grew up.

An apartment on the left of the third floor of this modest block was once home to a young Melania and her family.

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This black-and-white modern villa in Sevnica’s Ribnik district is owned by the Knavs family (Melania’s mother stays there when she’s in town)

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The Kruhek bakery and coffee shop in Sevnica sells the Prva Dama (translated as "first lady" in Slovenian) -- an apple pie, complete with an embossed "M" and a tiny American flag, for $2 apiece.

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Cafe Julija in Sevnica offers a delicious "Melanija" cake made with an apple and almond filling in a housing of white chocolate.

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This imposing building stands on a hill overlooking Sevnica. Inside, visitors can buy "first lady"-branded products.

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Those “first lady”-branded products include beauty creams, wine, tea, pralines, cured salami sausage and apple slices dipped in chocolate.

First Lady Products/Sevnica Castle

Kostanjevica na Krki is also known as Slovenia's Venice.

Matej Jordan

Kostanjevica is a medieval town built on an island on the river Krka with three highly Instagram-worthy bridges.

John Malathronas

Kostanjevica's Cistercian monastery is now an art gallery. Its large garden, the Forma Viva, is an open-air museum full of weathered oak sculptures. It’s also the birthplace of one of Slovenia’s most famous wines, the ruby red Cvicek.

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Typical food from the region includes simple cured meats, served with onion and, yes, Cvicek wine.

Courtesy Krsko

The Posavje countryside, where Melania Trump grew up, is a beautiful hill-strewn region, crisscrossed by rivers. Among the most beautiful areas is Kozjansko Regional Park, east of Sevnica.

Courtesy Krsko

There are many beautiful old buildings in the area -- among them the fairytale-style Otocec Castle. The Gothic structure is also home to one of Slovenia's longest golf courses.

The austere, Romanesque structure of Rejhenburg Castle has an unenviable history as a deportation center for Slovenians during World War II.

Courtesy Krsko

Home to an 18th century organ, a gilded altar and a 1796 painting by Slovenian artist Leopold Layer, the St. Lawrence Church in Raka also claims connections to Melania Trump.

John Malathronas

This font in St. Lawrence Church, Raka, is where Melania Trump was baptized in June 1970, according to parish priest Franc Levicar.

John Malathronas