Vrhnika ( German: ) is a town in Slovenia. It is the seat of the Municipality of Vrhnika. It is located on the Ljubljanica River, 21 km from Ljubljana along the A1 motorway.
The settlement at the location of todays Vrhnika was attested in antiquity as Nauportus in Latin, and as ????????? and ????????? in Greek. Medieval attestations of the name include de superiory Laybaco in 1300, Oberlaybach in 1308 (and Ober Laybach in 1309), and Vernich in 1481, corresponding to the modern Slovene name. In the past, the town was known as Oberlaibach in standard German. The Slovene name is probably a compound of vrh top, summit + nika or nikve creek, spring, referring to the source of the Ljubljanica River. The Latin name Nauportus is a compound of navis boat + portus transfer, referring to a place where cargo had to be transferred from boats to pack animals or carts along a trade route. A mythological reinterpretation of the Latin name as referring to the portage of a boat itself (specifically, the Argo) appears in Pliny the Elders Natural History.
In Roman times, Nauportus was an important communication point. Vrhnika as it exists today started to develop in the High Middle Ages.
Vrhnika became a market town and was among the wealthiest towns in Carniola up to the early 18th century, when it started to lose importance. Nevertheless, it remained one of main transportation junctions in Inner Austria because of its strategic location on the crossroads between the trade routes from Trieste to Vienna and from Rijeka to Klagenfurt. The development of the town was strongly impaired by the construction of the Austrian Southern Railway in the 1840s, which bypassed it. From then on, it started losing importance, becoming a satellite town of Ljubljana, which has remained up to this day.