Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Jesenice circle tour

We cordially invite all travellers who intend to spend a few days at the Bledec Hostel in Bled or at the Nika Hostel in Kranjska Gora to pay a visit to Jesenice as well – the town of steel and flowers. The town brings together a story of both man and nature. A story of steel-hard will and the enrapturing aroma of daffodils, which cover the fields above the valley in May with countless white buds. Why not take a walk with us along the circular tour and let history take you on a journey through time.

Stara Sava (1) is an old ironworks and residential settlement. Today, it is protected and considered a unique area of technical cultural heritage (the Bucelleni-Ruard Manor from the 16th century, the Church of the Assumption dating from the start of the 17th century, the Kasarna workers' residential building from the end of the 18th century, the blast furnace and its chimney, a puddling furnace or “pudlovka” that was used to produce iron for forging, the Kolpern – a former storage for charcoal – as well as the artificial wooden water channel called the “raka” and the mill from the 19th century).

We can visit an interesting museum housed in the castle and get to know the daily life of the ironworkers, miners and charcoal makers. We can have a look around the Kolpern, which has now become a modern banquet hall hosting the renowned Stara Sava wedding fair (in February). We can also pay a visit to Kasarna and relive the 1930s by walking through a re-constructed worker's apartment. This unique setting is also perfect for a lesson in making barley coffee. Mmm, it smells great and it's just like the coffee our mums used to make all those years ago. Just add some bread to a galvanized cup and you're transported back to your childhood.

The Jesenice Chimney, which rises 75 m into the air, was constructed for the Jesenice Ironworks. Today, it is an important technical landmark that towers above the centre of the town, a remnant of the once mighty ironworks dominating the entire valley. Let's stop for a moment, gaze into the sky and take in the powerful impression created by this man-made object. 

At the roundabout, facing the Jesenice Municipal Building (the former headquarters of the Jesenice Ironworks) stands a two-and-a-half meter high statue of a foundry worker (2) made from stainless steel and dedicated to the ironworker profession.

A walk through a chestnut avenue, past the Partizan gymnastic society, brings us to Čufar Square (3), which affords a wonderful view of the Zgornja Sava Valley. Any artist would be filled with inspiration looking at the sunset from this vantage point. The nearby Gimnazija Jesenice (4), the Jesenice secondary school, was built according to the plans of the architect Rudolf Petz in 1914. The front façade has five reliefs depicting boys representing different crafts. The square is given further historical significance by the Kino Železar (a cinema) and the Tone Čufar Theatre. The best-known theatrical event of the season is the Amateur Theatre Festival – the Čufar Days, which takes place in November.

We then pass the Dolik exhibition gallery (5), which hosts the work of local artists, and a one-storey villa designed by the architect Albert Valli (the children like to call it the Villa Villekulla due to its singular appearance), and the Culinary house Ejga (6) to arrive at the former Korotan hotel. The hotel is especially interesting because of the statue of St. John; the locals often wonder just what it is that he is carrying: a loaf of bread, a cheese or a small barrel. Walking past the buildings in what were the most beautiful and richest streets in old Jesenice for many years, we arrive at the Hotel Pošta building. From here, we take the steps to the Church of St. Lenart (7), which was first mentioned in the year 1460.

Murova (8) is a town located on the Mirce hillside. The settlement was first mentioned in 1469. According to reports, we know that the first houses were made of wood. Some are preserved to this day. From here, we can take the Old Mining Path (Stara rudna pot) to the Shrine of St. Barbara (9), which would lead us all the way to Savske jame in Planina pod Golico. However, on this occasion we take the street down to the Kos Manor (10). It was built in 1521 by Sigismund (Žiga) of Dietrichstein. It was then bought in 1812 by the merchant Frančišek Pavel Kos, who also had it restored. Today, it houses a wedding hall – a splendid space used for exhibitions and cultural events.

We can see part of Jesenice's sporting side in the museum, while the other part is apparent when we look at some of the town buildings. The underpass leading to a true sporting beauty – the Podmežakla Hockey Stadium (11) – still rings with the sounds of fans flocking to see derbies between the teams of Acroni and Olimpija. This is one of the symbols of the eternal rivalry between the towns of Jesenice and Ljubljana; the walls of the sports halls have memories of many a bloody match between the red and green jerseys. This beautiful sports building was refurbished for the 2013 Eurobasket, which was hosted by the town. The entire area around the stadium is dedicated to the athletic park, which is a popular recreation spot for the inhabitants of Jesenice.

After taking a tour of the stadium, we take Herman's Bridge (12) and cross the Sava River. The bridge is named after the former “Pri Hermanu” inn. We end the five kilometre journey right where we started – at Stara Sava. 

Cesta maršala Tita 18 
4270 Jesenice 
T: +386 4 586 31 78

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