Kamnik is located at an elevation of 483 m on the Kamniška Bistrica and Nevljica streams in the north of the Osrednjeslovenska (Central Slovenia) region.
Kamik was first mentioned in 1061 as a village in possession of the counts of Andechs, making it one of the oldest in Slovenia. As a market town it was first mentioned in 1188 as a property of the counts of Andechs; as a town it was first mentioned in 1229/1267. At that time was prosperous and even had its own mint. At the time it was protected by two castles (Stari grad and Mali grad) overlooking the town. During the Middle Ages it was one of he most important trading places in the duchy of Carniola, being located at the road between Ljubljana and Celje. In 1501 the town obtained the privilege for an annual fair. In the 16th century, however, lost its importance. During the times of the Austrian monarchy, Kamnik was the site of a large gunpowder factory. In order to set up another such facility that was located farther away from the front lines, a new factory was set up in Trofaiach (Styria). Through history Kamnik has been successful in keeping its old idyllic look with many medieval and Baroque façades. The old town features medieval buildings under the castles on the hill. Mali grad ('small castle') with its three-storey Romanesque chapel is still preserved, while only ruins are left of Stari grad ('old castle'). A tourist attraction is the arboretum Volčji potok, a permanent exhibition of flowers and trees under the nearby Kamnik Alps.
The old Kurhaus (spa center) [top picture] was founded in 1876.
The 'little castle' (mali grad) [bottom picture: background right] is situated on a steep rock in the middle of the town. Under the stone walls are the remains of a Slavic burial ground. The castle was mentioned in written sources in 1202. The fortification was torn down in the 16th century, but the chapel was preserved. The building, along with a crypt, was probably built around 1100 — the same as the Chapel of St. Margaret (present presbytery of the lower chapel). Soon, a nave was added and the Romanesque portal with a lunette was moved. The chapel was added on in the 13th century. The upper chapel was dedicated to St. Bartholomew and the lower to St. Elijah. The upper chapel was vaulted in Gothic style after 1470. The entire building was remodelled in Baroque style around 1700. The lower chapel in the presbytery was decorated with frescos after 1771. Older frescos, of which fragments remain, originated around 1520. In the presbytery there are still remains of frescos from the 15th century.