Šmartno is situated in the geographical centre of Brda. Gradnik, the local poet, compares the village with the eagle´s nest resting on a place, where the view stretches from the Nanos hill in the east to the Carnija Alps in the northwest, and from the Furlanija to the Adriatic Sea. The village on the top of the hill, surrounded by defence walls with watchtowers is first mentioned in 1317. There are no special historical records of the origin of the defence walls, but it is believed that the walls were most probably erected on the remains of a Roman bastion in the period of the wars between the Habsburgs and the Venetians during 1507-1519. The Counts of Gorica used to own the land here. After the death of the last Count of Gorica, the Gorica region was inherited by the Hapsburg Emperor Maximilian who fought for the right to own the land in the long-lasting battles with the Venetians. The latter were defeated in both wars. In those times, Šmartno, which served well as a fortified hamlet built around the church during the times of the Turkish raids in the 15th and 16th century, became a strategically important point on the border between Venice and Austria. It was then that the walls and the towers were built. Šmartno was actually a part of the system of fortifications, which also included other villages: Števerjan, Kojsko and Vipolže. Šmartno was used as a fortification on the frontier for the whole of the 16th and 17th century until the middle of the 18th century when danger of military attacks from the Venitians ceased.

Like some other villages and fortifications that were built to protect the people against the Turkish raids in the region of Brda and the whole Primorska, the remarkable historical value of Šmartno is given to the village with the status of a cultural monument of the first order.

There are still many stories circling among people, describing the time when the fortification in Šmartno was in use. One story says that the inhabitants outside the fortification, in the village called Imenje, used to supply people inside the walls with food and other belongings in exchange for protection against the enemies. The word for the people´s belongings in Slovene is "imetje", which is probably where the name Imenje originated. Another explanation regarding the origin of the name of the village is that in addition to the payments, the garrison used to posses land or property – "imetje" in Slovene – which also brought about a regular income.

The houses in the centre of the village are grouped closely together around the Church of St. Martin. This Baroque church prides itself over the frescoes it contains. The frescoes were painted by the Slovene artist Tone Kralj.
When entering the Šmartno fortification and walking around the narrow streets among the old and newer houses, the feeling of being in a medieval labyrinth crosses the visitor´s mind. This feeling is even more present when you enter the Gothic house. The house was named after a very interesting gothic portal made of stone, that today leads to the cellar of the house. The pointed arch of the portal denotes the influence of the late Gothic architecture of the beginning of the 16th century. This style also influenced the construction of the farm houses, especially in the beginning, at the time when the walls were being built. In the period of the rural Baroque, in the 18th, or rather in the beginning of the 19th century, the house was renovated and more rooms were added. Today a balcony, typical of the area (called gank in Slovene), can be admired at one's visit to the house. The interior of the Gothic house contains the elements of the typical Brda house and shows the way people used to live here.

Šmartno also welcomes artists with open arms. There is a so called painter's house, where several workshops are held and where many objects of art are created.

The mild climate, warm environment and friendly villagers are the key to this artistic creativity.

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