Ivan Stopar was born on the 29th of April, 1929, in Ljubljana. In 1964 he graduated from the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana, where he also completed his PhD studies in 1976. For many years he worked as a conservator in the Celje regional unit of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, and later also headed the Celje office. He was most responsible for the restoration of a number of cultural monuments. Castles, with a new purpose and mission, rose from the rubble with the help of his conservation work.
Stopar received numerous awards for his committed work, among them the Stele Award (Steletova nagrada) in 1992. His bibliography encompasses more than 50 independent publications and at least that many disquisitions and articles in professional bulletins. He wrote several cultural historical guidebooks, which include descriptions of the abbey church in Celje, the Old Celje Castle, Celje, Rogaška Slatina, the Velenje Castle and Rogatec. Worth mentioning is also Stopar’s book Sprehodi po Stari Ljubljani (Walks in Old Ljubljana), in which he shed light on the secrets behind many houses and the people that lived in them. The book later served as a basis for a 10-part documentary series carrying the same name.
Between castle walls
Stopar will especially go down in Slovenian cultural history as a "guardian" of castles, which he promoted as treasure chests full of legends, history and tradition. For that purpose, he contributed a precious series of studies and works dedicated to castles – Razvoj srednjeveške grajske arhitekture na slovenskem Štajerskem, 1977 (The development of medieval castle architecture in Slovenian Styria), Gradovi na Slovenskem , 1989 (Castles in Slovenia), Grajske stavbe v vzhodni Sloveniji I-V, 1990–1993 (Castle buildings in Eastern Slovenia I-V), Grajske stavbe v osrednji Sloveniji I-II, 1996-2000 (Castle buildings in Central Slovenia I-V) and many other works.