|WHERE LACE IS
INTERWOVEN WITH SILVER
Hotedršica - Idrija - Cerkno
From Logatec to Cerkno and from the swallowholes of
the Hotenjka to the Pasica ravine, the wonders of nature and
the achievements of human creativity, ingenuity, knowledge,
and persistence inspire curiosity. Just as lace thread outlines
a pattern, this Heritage Trail binds in memory experiences
that can fill us with new knowledge in one day and because
of their extraordinary nature will tempt us to recall them
many times over.
From the Ljubljana-Koper expressway, we turn of toward Logatec
and on the way to Idrija we stop in the village of Hotedršica,
which is famous for the nearby swallowholes of the Žejna and
Hotenjka streams. At the Hotenjka swallowhole is the Tomažinov
Mill, which has its mill wheel positioned just over the swallowhole
and is one of the rarest of its type in Europe.
After lunch, our path leads on through the canyon of the Zala
stream to the Idrijca River and the Zgornja Idrijca Regional
Park. Hidden in the karst section of the park below an almost
vertical cliff is Divje jezero Lake, from which enormous amounts
of water erupt following heavy rains. Only fifty-five meters
long, Slovenia's shortest river, the Jezernica, flows from
the lake into the Idrijca.
Following the road beside the Belca stream, we drive to a
valley of stone dams called "klavže." In some places
they are also called "Slovene pyramids," as much
for their appearance as for their exceptional importance in
Slovenia's technical heritage. These dams once served to collect
water for sluicing wood downstream for the needs of the mine.
Along the Idrijca River we arrive in Idrija, Slovenia's
oldest mining town and the site of the second largest deposit
of mercury in the world. The Holy Trinity church stands today
on the place where this unusual metal ore was discovered in
After a traditional Idrija meal, which must include the famous
idrijski žlikrofi, a sort of ravioli stuffed with potato,
cracklings, and chives, we will discover all the mysteries
of Idrija mining at the museum in Gewerkenegg Castle
(1), which once served as the mine's administrative center
and storehouse. From here we go to an authentic miner's house
and the remarkable Antonij Shaft (2) built in 1500.
A fabulous underground world is conjured up by the bergmandelci
or trolls. In addition to the mining exhibitions, Gewerkenegg
Castle also houses Idrija's other treasure, a collection of
bobbin lace items created by Idrija's women and girls that
contains many true masterpieces.
From Idrija we drive to Cerkno, the center of the unusual
Cerkljansko region. Here we visit the Cerkljansko Museum
(3) and the church of St. Ana, which was designed by Gregor
Maček and where the frescoes of Fortunat Bergant arouse admiration.
We follow our visit to the town, which is particularly enlivened
during Mardi Gras period by its laufarji masqueraders, with
a visit to the Pasica ravine. Here we discover the well-hidden
Franja Partisan Hospital (4), which is considered one
of the most interesting World War II monuments in Slovenia.
Afterwards we can visit the old Čufar homestead. In the evening
we return to Cerkno for a traditional Cerkljansko dinner.
||Idrija City Museum (Gewerkenegg
Prelovčeva ulica 9, Idrija (05/372-66-00); open
every day 9:00 to 18:00
||Antonij Shaft, Arkova 43, Idrija
(05/377-11-42), www.rzs-idrija.si ; Monday to Friday
from 10:00 to 16:00, Saturday, Sunday, and holidays
15:00, and 16:00, by prior arrangement for larger
||Cerkljansko Museum, Bevkova 12,
Cerkno (05/372-31-80), open Monday to Friday 9:00
||Cerkljansko Museum, Bevkova 12,
Franja Partisan Hospital
open April 1 - September 30 every day 9 - 18, March,
October, November 9 - 16, December, January, February
Saturday, Sunday and holidays 9 - 16