Heritage Trails from the Idrijca to the Kolpa
Heritage Tours from the Idrijca to the Kolpa
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Turjak - Rašica - Dobrepolje - Maršiči - Nova Štifta - Ribnica

From the castle of the lords of Turjak to the ruins of Fridrihštajn Castle, traces of loves that broke all the rules are scattered across the landscape. Here, castle nobles fell in love with peasants, Slovene literature found its language, and the peddler "Ribniški Urban" was known around the world but returned home from everywhere to his familiar lindens and forests. One day is barely long enough to explore the gems of the past between Turjak and Ribnica, and a second day is almost certainly too short for experiencing the nature that embraces Kočevje.

Day 1:
From Ljubljana we take the road through Lavrica and Pijava Gorica to Turjak (1), where the lords of Turjak (Auersbach) lived in a magnificent Renaissance castle. From here Andrej Turjaški (von Auersbach) departed in 1593 to lead his troops in the victorious battle against the Turks at Sisak; here Hanna Turjaški, whose heart, wound in red ribbon, rests in a nearby chapel, concealed her love; here the Protestant translator of the Bible Jurij Dalmatin preached and hid from his pursuers.
Just a short distance from Turjak is Rašica where the Temkov flourmill and sawmill stand on the site of the former Trubar Homestead (2). The life and work of Primož Trubar, the Protestant Reformer who laid the foundation for Slovene literature by publishing the first book in Slovene, is exhibited in the memorial house.
Past Ponikve, whose church of St. Florijan boasts a Baroque golden altar from the 17th century, we arrive in Dobrepolje, a wide karst polje that is occasionally flooded by the Rašica stream and other waters that flow from underground caves. Among the many caves in Dobrepolje, especially well known is Podpeška jama (Podpeč Cave), which the 17th-century polymath Janez Vajkard Valvasor drew in the first published plan of a karst cave in Slovenia. The largest linden grove in Slovenia begins beside the church of St. Anton (3) in Zdenska vas. Once the scene of a regular livestock fair, today it is a pleasant tourist spot for picnicking in the shade of century-old lindens. In the village are many preserved double kozolec (hay-drying racks) or toplars that give the village landscape a characteristic appearance.
We turn off the road to Ribnica to the village of Maršiči and its church of St. Urh (4) from 1450. Among its frescoes is the particularly interesting "pilgrim fox" clothed in the insignia of a Church dignitary and carrying a stolen goose in a sack. From here we drive to Nova Štifta, and the church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (5), which was built because of a miraculous appearance of light. The octagonal sanctuary with its twenty-meter high cupola is one of Slovenia's most important pilgrimage sites.
Large woodenware objects beside the road tell us that we are approaching Ribnica. After lunch in one of its gostilnas, we inspect the town, whose trademark since the 14th century has been various wooden items for everyday use. We can learn everything about the production of woodenware at Ribnica Castle(6), where there is also a display of another local craft, pottery (=). In the center of town is the parish church of St. Štefan, famous for its richly painted interior, the bell tower renovated according to the plans of architect Jože Plečnik, and many art works. The nearby Miklova House contains an art gallery and a library. In front of the castle, which supposedly stood as early as the 10th century, a memorial park honouring prominent people from Ribnica has been arranged. Slovenia's greatest poet, France Prešeren attended elementary school here, and he was recorded in the school's "Golden Book" as an excellent student. In nearby Hrovača we can inspect
the restored home of Father Stanislav Škrabec, the greatest Slovene linguist of the 19th century (7).
We stay overnight in Ribnica or Kočevje.

Kočevje - Kočevski gozdovi

Day 2:
We begin our day with a stroll around Kočevje, whose center lies in a bend of the Rinža River. The Kočevje Regional Museum (8) is housed in the Šeškov dom Cultural Center. Among its many exhibitions are a collection of drawings by Božidar Jakac and "The Lost Cultural Heritage of Kočevje's German Community." From the town we walk up the Stojna ridge. On a promontory above the town once stood Fridrihštajn Castle where Friderik II of Celje hid with his forbidden second wife Veronika Deseniška. The view from the peak reveals all the beauty of the Kočevje region.
After lunch, we spend the afternoon in the area of Kočevska Reka that was once closed to the public. Here grows the largest walnut tree in Slovenia, with a circumference of 434 centimeters. We can also drive to Koprivnik, which lies on the edge of Kočevski Rog. A stroll through unspoiled nature or a hike along marked foot trails or with a reliable local guide through the forests of Kočevje (9) fills us with new strength-for the return home or for tackling another Heritage Trail.
For a pleasant conclusion to the day, we enjoy a homemade dinner.

(1) Grad Turjak, Turjak, Velike Lašče - informacije: Marija Janežič (01/788-11-51, 041/912-812)
(2) Trubar Homestead, Rašica, Velike Lašče (01/788-10-06); open every day from 9:00 to
18:00: in winter by prior arrangement
(3) Videm Dobrepolje Parish Office, Videm NN, Videm (01/780-72-07) or Jože Zrnec, Zdenska vas 51, Videm
(4) TIC Ribnica, Škrabčev trg 23, Ribnica (01/836-93-35)
(5) Franciscan Monastery, Nova Štifta 3, Sodražica (01/836-15-91), by prior arrangement
(6) Miklova House Museum (01/836-11-79) or
TIC Ribnica (01/836-93-35)
open May to October 10 - 12 and 16 - 18, in winter by prior arrangement
(7) Miklova House Museum (01/836-11-79) or
TIC Ribnica (01/836-93-35)
(8) Kočevje Regional Museum, Prešernova 11, Kočevje (01/895-51-14); open Monday
to Saturday from 9:00 to 12:00, Wednesday from 16:00 to 18:00; closed Sunday and
holidays, by prior arrangements
(9) Municipality of Kočevje Center for Promotion and Development of Tourism, Trg zbora odposlancev 12-18, Kočevje (01/893-14-60)