Showing posts with label Idrija. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Idrija. Show all posts

Thursday 19 June 2014

Idrija Lace Festival 2014

It is time again for the lace makers to take over the streets of Idrija, Slovenia. This weekend (20.06. - 22.06.2014) the annual Lace Festival will take place again.

If you have the chance you should definitely take a trip to this charming old Slovenian town. The weekend will be full of events and the thread used for lace making will be carefully intertwined with rich technical heritage mostly related to half of a millennium of mercury mining and many local culinary delights.

If that is still not enough to get your attention, you can also enjoy relaxing walks in nature just a stone-throw away from the city.

If you are into history, a visit to the Anthony’s mining shaft (a definite highlight) and the town's museum within the Gewerkenegg castle are a must.

You should check out the official web page for the full programme of the 2014 Idrija Lace Festival.

Choose Idrija as a destination for this weekend's trip and have a great time! After the weekend is over, you will definitely want to visit the area again and again...


Friday 9 August 2013

Portrait of a lace maker

Mercury and lace. For centuries those were the main two income sources for the ordinary man (and woman) living in a Slovenian town of Idrija. While men were mining mercury, women spent their days making lace. During the last few decades both of those roles have been slowly replaced by alternatives provided by industry and hobbies of modern times.

With constant growth in tourism sector, Idrija has been trying to take advantage of a rich technical heritage, centuries of Mercury mining have left behind. Delicious local food specialities (žlikrofi) and delicate lace products are just some of all the other things this charming little Slovenian town has to offer to a visitor.

In an effort to help Idrija lace reach the publicity it deserves, I recently took part in a photographic workshop titled "Portrait of a lace maker". These are just some of the results I got from a rainy morning photo-session.

Clicking on any one of above photos will reveal them all in a much more flattering resolution.


Monday 3 June 2013

Idrija - Home of Mercury, Lace and Žlikrofi

The town of Idrija does not usually find itself on a average tourist's itinerary when rushing through Slovenia. It is true travelers are discovering Slovenia, but usually they still stay on the beaten path - if we suppose such a path even exists in Slovenia.
Unfortunately by doing this, they miss some pretty awesome places. In my opinion Idrija is definitely one of the places that deserve more attention. Since it was recently added to the UNESCO heritage list, I am obviously not the only one with such an opinion.

Centuries old lace making tradition is not the only thing this over 500 years old Slovenian town has to offer. During the annual lace festival the thread used for lace making is carefully intertwined with rich technical heritage mostly related to half of a millennium of mercury mining and many local culinary delights. You should definitely consider visiting this charming town during the festival - I wrote about it in my previous post.

Amongst the sights there is one definitely worth visiting - Antonijev rov mine shaft is a part of Idrija Mercury Mine that remains open to the public. The mine was actually officially closed a few years ago but serious mining has not been practiced for a couple of decades.

A visitor to Antonijev rov (literary meaning Antony's shaft) can get a pretty good idea about how mining looked in the old days. Now the mine is closed down due to exploited ore deposits but the memory of life revolving around mercury mining still remains very alive within the people of this old Slovenian town.

A charming castle located near the very center of the town houses an interesting museum, mostly dedicated to mining history. There are also other items on display but mainly things revolve around mercury and lace.

There are also a few other dislocated units of museum scattered around the town and some interesting sites are also located in the surrounding hills but I will address those at some other time.

For more information about Idrija and its surroundings you should click on the Idrija label.


Friday 31 May 2013

Idrija Lace Festival 2013

Every year in the middle of June the Slovenian town of Idrija becomes the center of the lace world for a few days. This year's lace festival is going to be the 32nd in a row. It will be taking place from 14th to 16th of June 2013.

The main event of this annual festival is the national competition in lace making. Every year it is especially nice to see many youngsters competing for the prestigious title alongside seasoned veterans.

There are also many other interesting things going on besides the competition. For instance there is a lace fair with loads of different lace products, but also materials and patterns used for actual lace making.

Even if lace products are not your thing, there are many alternatives to keep you occupied. Every evening of the festival there will be local bands performing late into the night on the central town square.
Locals also take care that no visitor leaves with an empty stomach. There are many local specialties to choose from. One that should definitely deserve your attention is called žlikrofi. Žlikrofi are small boiled dumplings (similar to ravioli) filled with potatoes, onions, lards and seasoned with local spices, offered as a side or main dish. Simply delicious!

For the nature lovers there is a hiking trail waiting in every direction. You will probably encounter some of the vast variety of wildlife species roaming through the nearby forests. Unspoiled nature can actually be found everywhere in the surrounding rolling hills.

A lot could also be said about the rich technical heritage this town has to offer but I will write about that in a separate post. There is another recently made video about the town of Idrija and the surrounding area included within Geopark Idrija worth checking out.

If you are in (or near) Slovenia, you should start planning your visit as soon as possible. If you need any local advice you are welcome to contact me - there are many opportunities to stray away from the beaten path.


Wednesday 24 April 2013

Geopark Idrija promotional video

I am proud to present a promotional video about the town of Idrija and its surroundings. It is the part of Slovenia I call home.

These valleys and hills have a lot to offer, but are still visited by very few foreign tourists and travelers. I hope this video will help turn things around.

If you are after some off the beaten track tips about the area, you are always welcome to drop me a line.


Monday 19 November 2012

Akordika group through my lens

Every summer for the last few years there is an interesting festival held in the Slovenian town of Idrija. It is called "Četrtki na placu", which literally translates into "Thursdays on the square".
The stage set on the main town square makes a great venue for events like this. Hopefully there will be even more of them in the future years.

Every year this small festival features different bands, vocal groups and even a theater group or two. So on every Thursday evening in July and August mostly local crowd gathers to listen to event.
If you ever happen to be in the neighborhood during that period, you should definitely check it out. The entrance is free of charge.

Often there is also something on the stage well worth a look. These photos are from a pleasant August evening I spent with a group Akordika. A guy I know plays trombone for them so it was an even more interesting performance from my point of view.

They advertise themselves as Musical theatre performers - a group of 10 talented people who perform popular musical theatre pieces.

Apart from top notch musicians, there is also a group of three dancers adding another dimension to their performances. They mostly perform pieces from various musicals, but also have many other great scores up their sleeves.

They do a great job and I really recommend you check them out if you ever get a chance.

I promised to send them a couple of photos and since some quite nice ones turned out I thought to also share them with you. I hope you like them.


Monday 27 August 2012

Introduction to Kayaking

A few weeks ago a friend of mine invited me to join him on a Kayaking introduction course. He was one of the organizers of this event taking place at a regional park near the Slovenian town of Idrija.

The place is called Idrijska Bela and it has been a popular local summer getaway destination for ages. A narrow road from the town of Idrija follows the Idrijca river upstream to the point where a stream called Belca joins it.

On your way to this public natural swimming spot where you also pass by the interesting Divje jezero. This "Wild lake" (as it translates into English) is remarkably deep. Actually the depths of this lake still remain undiscovered.
The lake is also the source of the shortest river in Slovenia (only 55 meters or 180 ft long).

The Kayaking event was a part of series of sports events taking place in this beautiful setting almost every summer weekend. As such it was also free of charge.
When we heard about this M. and I were both very excited about it as it was going to be our first kayaking experience.

We expected to see a serious crowd trying to seize this opportunity but it was not so bad. Actually there were quite a few spaces left for random passers-by. This kayaking preschool as organizers called it, was divided into a few rounds - each taking one hour.

The part of Idrijca river where the event took place is dammed, so the water was pretty calm. This meant instructors could come up with different games to make things interesting. At the same time each of those games included various exercises aimed to help us develop a better feel for our kayaks.

We both did quite well but at the same time we also began to understand how much effort we would have to invest before being able to tackle some serious rapids. Some things were quite hard to do even on still water. We could only imagine how it would feel on some white water rapids.

At the end of our course we also got to try an Eskimo roll. This is the act of righting a capsized kayak by use of body motion and/or a paddle.
It does not just look hard - it actually is. I guess I do not have to point out no one of us succeeded without at least a little bit of help from our trusty instructor.

Fortunately the Eskimo roll is not the only way of freeing yourself from a capsized kayak. You can also simply swim out of it and drag your kayak to the shore. By doing this it gets filled with water. Emptying it usually requires quite a bit of effort.

Some of us had the privilege of trying it a couple of times.

All in all it was another great day spent in the beautiful nature. We were really glad we took part in the event and got a taste of kayaking. We actually liked it so much, we are thinking of trying it in a little bit more serious environment.
Luckily in Slovenia one can find some of the best rivers for this sport. The only problem is, I would never dare to attempt it without some professional guidance...


Thursday 16 June 2011

Idrija Lace Festival 2011

Summer is the time for festivals and when it comes to this Slovenia is no different. If you happen to be in the neighbourhood this weekend, you should visit the 30th Idrija Lace Festival. It is an ethnological, cultural, educational and entertaining event. This year it is taking place from Friday June 17th till Sunday June 19th.

Idrija is a small town in the western part of Slovenia. It has over 500 years of history heavily related with mining of cinnabar ore, from which 13 percent of world's mercury was produced. It was the second oldest and biggest mercury mine in the world that had closed in 1995 due to commercial, geological and ecological reasons.
Technical heritage from that time is well preserved and a visitor can take a close look at many interesting technical achievements from the half of millennium of history. Besides the mine museum and the largest preserved water wheel in Europe, one of the highlights is definitely Anthony’s Shaft - the oldest part of the Idrija Mine which belongs to the oldest preserved entrances into any mine throughout the world.

This weekend is the perfect time to visit Idrija. Besides many permanent exhibitions the town literally breathes the lacemaking tradition during the annual festival.

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