The old town of Kranj, historically also named Carnium, Creina, Chreina, or Krainburg, is a historical town situated on a conglomerate prominence between the rivers Sava and Kokra. The city area was inhabited as early as in the Celtic period in the first millennium B.C.
The town achieved one of its highlights in the 7th century, the era of people’s migration and arrival of Slovene settlers. During that time, an important strategic fort and, consequently, the first settlement were founded. The biggest old Slovene burial ground bears witness to this fact.
Kranj lost its independence at the end of the 9th or in the beginning of the 10th century, when it became the seat of the March of Carniola. Later on, the March of Carniola became the Carniola Dukedom, with its seat moving to Ljubljana. The development of trade in the 13th century provided Kranj with its city rights and a number of city privileges and benefits for further development of trade, transport of agricultural products, and ironwork.
In the first half of the 19th century, Kranj was a market trading town. At the end of the 19th century, the first manufacturers were established, the industry was thriving and Kranj was becoming more and more an industrial town.
The medieval layout of the old town is built in a typical form of a pyramid, emphasized with the church bell towers. Another classic feature is the north-south axis, indicated by the visual link between the Kranj parish church and the Storžič peak. A carefully planned display of high dominating features in the city area range Kranj among the most thoroughly considered urban organisms in Slovenia and Central Europe.
At the end of the Middle Ages and in the beginning of Modern Times, the town was protected on the western Sava side by the city defence wall with defence towers, a castle and the Škrlovec armoury. The ground plan is composed of a narrow space between both rivers with two incoming roads, one at the former Main town gate at today’s Maister Square, and the other one at the Lower town gate in today’s Vodopivčeva Street. The town centre comprises the Main Square (Glavni trg) and Prešeren’s Street, which are linked with two parallel streets. Arcade passageways were built in the Tomšičeva and Tavčarjeva Street which used to connect the backyards of the bourgeois houses with the town square. The town boasts with bourgeois houses, nicely designed streets, mansions, churches, and houses with ornately decorated façades and backyards.