Slovenia – Gorenjska

Gorenjska

Gorenjska is a land of high peaks, pointed rocky ridges, deep Alpine valleys, and clear waters. The landscape simply lures everyone who wants to escape for a while the hustle and bustle so typical of tourist centers. Here, quiet excitements can be found in the midst of unspoiled wild nature.

Gorenjska is a school of healthy living. Views from the heights extend to unimaginable distances. In hidden gorges, we are greeted by the thunder of waterfalls, in valleys by still lakes. Merry mountaineering adventures await you here as well as quiet enjoyment.

This outstandingly Alpine landscape offers numerous leisure time activities. Walking, mountain-climbing, horse-riding, golf, rafting, paragliding, winter joys, hunting, fishing as well as some other activities can liven up our days in every season.

Kranj

Steep river banks and conglomerate promontory above the confluence of the Sava and Kokra rivers used to offer excellent defense conditions in ancient times. On this remarkable strategic position a town was built, a town which gained importance already in the early Middle Ages. It was the seat of country counts of the Kranj County.

The Town Hall houses a museum and numerous buildings in the old town core are preserved. The old cemetery, where the greatest Slovene poet, dr. France Preseren is buried, has been turned into a park. The Kokra river has cut a narrow and picturesque gorge through the very center of Kranj.
A top of Šmarjetna gora above Stražišče sits a hotel. Another popular outing spot of the locals is Jošt ( 845 m ).

Near Kranj, the Sava enters the mighty Zarice gorge. It is dammed at Mavčiče and the dam for Mavčiče hydropower station has a surface of one square km.
On the plain, in the direction of Kamnik, is situated the main Slovene international airport Aerodrom Ljubljana.

Further up from Kranj the Sava flows through a narrow valley with a railroad running parallel to the river. On the west bank we find the village of Besnica and on the right bank, in a small dry valley between Dobrava and the Udenboršt forest, lies Naklo.

The village of Predoslje is situated near Kranj in the direction of the Karavanke Chain. Near the village lies the well-known Brdo castle which has a large park with eleven lakes. Near Kokrica, a small village between Kranj and Predoslje is the nature reserve -the Bobovek fishponds.

Under the slopes of Kriška gora and Storžič lies Golnik – a health resort with a sanatorium specialized in lung diseases. Preddvor with its castles whose task was to protect entrance into the Kokra Valley and its artificial lake Črnjava is becoming an increasingly popular tourist spot. Terraced peaks separated by deep ravines boast small hilltop churches of St. Jacob ( 960 ), St. Nicholas ( 651 ), and St. Lawrence ( 829 ).

From Preddvor towards Cerklje, you find several villages under the slopes of Štefanja gora ( 748 ): Velesovo with its monastery, Češnjevek with its fishpond, and Cerklje with the nearby Strmol Castle. Cerklje is also a starting point for climbing Krvavec, an Alpine skiing center.

At first, the road leading from Preddvor through the picturesque valley of Kokra turns east. Under the ridge Kalski greben the valley turns north and then below the Grintovci extends into the Jezersko valley ( 880 m ). A zigzag road leads from the valley to the Jezerski vrh mountain pass ( 1218 ) where is also an international border crossing with Austria. Jezersko is a popular tourist spot, as well.

The main street in the center of Kranj is a pedestrian zone. It carries the name of the lawyer and greatest Slovene poet, dr. France Preseren ( 1800-1849 ), who spent his last years in one of the houses in the street. The first floor of the house now has a memorial room and the
first floor and the cellar house a gallery.

High up on the steep slope of the Jelovica plateau lie the villages of Jamnik and Kolombart. Between them, right at the end of a barren ridge sits the Church of St. Primus ( 831 m ) with great views of the Gorenjska Plain and the hills behind it. In the background is StoržiČ ( 2132 m ).

At the edge of Kokrica, a Kranj suburb was once a big clay pit.

After they stopped digging clay, the pits were filled with water, thus making three fishponds. The larger two are Krokodilnica and Čukova Jama, and the small one is shyly hiding in the bushes. The fishponds are protected as a natural bird reserve.

Tržič

The first ridges of the Karavanke chain can be made out behind the last peaks of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. The old tradesmen town of Tržič grew over the centuries on the banks of the Kamniška Bistrica River between Dobrca and Kriška gora. It has been a town of shoemakers, leather smiths, and blacksmiths for ages. Numerous old houses with typical iron shutters are still preserved in the old town core, and the Tržič Museum is also worth visiting.

From Tržič a road leads up the Mošenik valley to the Ljubelj mountain pass ( 1369 m ) in the Karavanke Chain and continues through a 1570 m long tunnel to Austria. On the Ljubelj lies the skiing center Zelenica. In Podljubelj there was a mercury mine until 1902. The nearby waterfall Tominčev slap is also worth seeing.

Behind Tržič, the Tržiška Bistrica valley turns northeast through the gorge Dolžanova soteska ( with a geological study path ) and the scattered hamlet of Jelendol under the Košuta mountain ridge ( 2094 ).
The third valley starting in Tržič turns east behind the ridge of Kriška gora and brings us right under the north face of Storžič ( 2132 m ). The road from Tržič to Begunje has one of the nicest views among Gorenjska roads.

Radovljica

Radovljica is situated on the vast plain of the Ljubljana Basin, which the locals have named Dežela ( the land ). It is encompassed by woodlands in the south-east, and the Karavanke Chain and the Julian Alps with their high plateaus Jelovica, Pokljuka, and Mežakla on other sides. Two major valleys are coming together at Radovljica: one is the blind valley of the Sava Bohinjka River which begins in the Bohinj basin, and the other in the Upper Sava Valley ( Zgomja Savska dolina ) which continues to Italy.

Radovljica is the center of Dežela. Its naturally well-protected position on a promontory between the Sava and the Suha has played a very important role in its development. It acquired the status of a town in the 15th century. Even today there is a right-angled town square in the center, surrounded by old two-story townhouses.

At one end of the square, there is the parish church and the castle with a unique Museum of Apiculture. The most significant building in the old town core is the Šivec house, a tribute to 16th-century architecture, which today houses a gallery.
Lesce with its Aircraft Center has only developed after the arrival of the railway. In the Sava valley lies the popular bathing spot and camping site Šobec.

Begunje is a smaller village at the foot of the Karavanke in which you find Katzenstein Castle, used as a prison by the Germans during WWII. Slovene patriots who were killed in the prison are buried in the surroundings and their graves are well-tended. The former prison has been turned into a museum. Begunje is also known for the Avsenik Gallery. At the entrance into the Draga valley stand the ruins of Kamen Castle and atop the small hill above Begunje is St. Peter’s Church which can easily be spotted from the valley as well. The Draga valley is the starting point for climbing Begunjscica ( 2063 m ).

From Radovljica, one of the roads descends into the Sava valley leading to Lancovo, then continues via a saddle and further on through the Lipnica valley via Kamna Gorica where a cluster of big houses reminds us that it is no peasant village.

Kropa is a picturesque village in the Kroparica ravine squeezed between steep slopes of the Jelovica plateau. Lack of demand for handmade ironwork at the end of the 19th century brought stagnation to the village and many people left. Kropa remained original, unchanged, old. It is a living museum of past times and worth visiting. The Blacksmith Museum in Kropa shows the history of iron mining and forging in Kropa and Kamna Gorica from the Middle Ages to the decline of the iron industry.

Old town core of the craft town Tržič sits in a valley, squeezed among the steep slopes at the confluence of the Tržiška Bistrica and the Mošenik. A walk through the old center is educational and very interesting.

The Baroque Manor which houses the unique Museum of Apiculture and the old parish church in Radovljica is built right above the Suha valley.

From the edge of the Alpine plateau, Jelovica extends great views of Dežela and the Karavanke.

Although the Jelovica lies in the middle of tourist Gorenjska, it is quite possible to chance upon a bear in its forests. The plateau is also famous for the fact that you can easily get lost if you are not familiar with the territory.

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