Heritage Trails from the Idrijca to the Kolpa
Heritage Tours from the Idrijca to the Kolpa
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Art & Craft

One of the oldest and most popular cottage industries in Slovenia is the making of wooden ware, and the deeply wooded landscape around Ribnica still provides plentiful raw material for the traditional craft. The first written records of wooden ware date from the 14th century, and in the 15th century, Frederick III granted licenses to the people of the Ribnica and Kočevje areas to export wooden ware and pottery to the entire Austro-Hungarian Empire. These historic rights encouraged peddlers, as well as watchmakers from the Kolpa valley to trade over considerable distances. Lace-making, another traditional craft, developed in Idrija over 300 years ago, has been much sought after for its superb quality and designs since the 18th century. The Lace School was founded in 1876 and continues to teach traditional techniques of bobbin lace while encouraging innovation in design. This combined approach results in unique and beautiful pieces that are not only highly decorative but also works of art. The Gewerkenegg castle museum has permanent displays of old lace as well as regular exhibitions of modern works, and there is an annual Lace Festival and competition in St. Achatius Square at the end of August.