MEDVODE COMMUNITY

 

MEDVODE AND ITS LOCATION

The Medvode Community is situated NW of the Slovene capital, the city of Ljubljana and SE from the centre of Gorenjska region, the town of Kranj. The meeting point of the two rivers Sava and Sora is at the very centre of the Medvode Municipality. An English translation of Medvode would be "Between Waters" and it has been known (in Austrian) as Tchwischenwaessern. Thus the word "Medvode" itself is plural. Medvode was traditionally a leisure resort, people from "Laibach" (Ljubljana) would come here to enjoy the river and relax. The Community measures 77.5 square kilometres, say 9 kilometres or 6 miles square. There are 31 villages included, and the population comprises around 13730 people (according to the Republic of Slovenia Ministry for Internal Affairs, May 17th 2000). Medvode lies almost in the centre of the triangle Ljubljana / Kranj / Škofja Loka. Industry and transport are developing apace. There is a close connection to the international airport of Brnik, Ljubljana (15km NE from Medvode). Between Medvode and Brnik there is the Ljubljana-Munich highway, the main Ljubljana-Kranj road and the Ljubljana-Munich railway (both road and railway travel through town). Medvode community streches from the hilly Polhograjsko hribovje, which is colder and fresher than in the great Ljubljana valley. Approximately half of the Medvode territory is covered with woods which has a purifying effect on the air, especially in the higher parts of the community.

 

HISTORY OF MEDVODE

Medvode community was first founded in 1849. In 1963 the community was added to the Ljubljana-siska city district and lost its local independence. After 32 years the Municipality of Medvode was again established (1st January 1995). In 1869 there were the same number of villages as there are today, but the population has grown to be three times as much (4592 to 13570). Medvode; development and passage through time. History tells of Medvode in 989, when it was known by the German word "Zwieschenwaessern". The remains of an old castle are still visible, Starigrad in Smlednik. It is said that there were Roman remains still visible in the early medieval ages. Another castle from the feudal era is Jetrbenk. However, these two are not the most famous, that title being claimed by Grad Goricane, built in 1631-1634 by the bishop of Ljubljana Oton Puchein in its famous baroque style, and now used as a museum.

Medvode started to become industrialised during and between the world wars, and particularily after the second world war, there was a lot of immigration from the surrounding areas. The chemicals and paper industry are well established. Recently, tourism and specialized farming have expanded: Smlednik, Zbilje and Polhograjski dolomiti. You could say that Medvode still have a lot in reserve to develop to the level of a small city. Medvode today offers: a small hospital with a drug store, four primary schools with two smaller divisions, a kindergarden spread across five sites, the school of music, six amateur and two professional fire departments, the association of farmers, two post offices, a bank, market centre, municipality centre with a town hall and library, bus stop (Ljubljana city bus no.15, regional and international bus stop,...), railway station, three oil pumps along with an oil store,... and many more.

In the area of Medvode community there are currently more than 400 enterprises with apx. 50 restaurants. In Medvode there are many clubs: five tourist clubs, Tourist Office Medvode is located near main road Ljubljana-Kranj, apx. twenty active sport clubs with membership in Medvode Sports Association, apx. ten active culture clubs with membership in Medvode Culture Association. In the area you also may have a privilege to visit six etnological monuments, a few protected monuments, two castles (Goricane and Lazarini) and ten churches.

 

FIVE SIGHTS OF MEDVODE

1. The Castle of Goricane

Above the village of Goricane stands a famous and proud castle that used to be the bishop of Ljubljana's summer residence. After the war the castle was confiscated by the communist government and became an ethnographic museum with a collection of non-European cultures. The castle has since undergone restoration since it has been returned to its previous owner the Catholic church, Arch-Bishopry of Ljubljana. The castle contains the well known Metzinger altar pictures, the masterpiece of Jelovsek, etc.. Some of the mentioned pieces of the art currently reside on Ljubljana depony. The old castle, whose foundations are still seen on the top of a nearby hill, was built by Oglei patriarchs and later occupied by the Spanheim family. In the year of 1456, shortly after the death of the last count of Celje, the castle was confiscated by Emperor Friderik III who donated the castle to Ljubljana bishops. In the year 1613 the castle was burnt to the ground. The remains were used to build up a new castle.

2. The Lake of Zbilje

The area around Sava is great for recreation and sports and it has all the possibilities for tourism. Rowing (renting a boat for one whole hour costs just two dollars, Ł1.50), sailing, fishing, water-skiing are just a few of the ways to spend a sunny day on Zbiljsko jezero. Just walking around the shore or sitting outside the bar watching the lake or feeding the swans can be exciting. The lake of Zbilje has recently been cleaned up and the underwater mud plants that caused a somewhat unpleasant look were cut near the shore. There is no wonder if anyone says that the shore of the lake of Zbilje is Medvode's most interesting spot. Autocamping in Zarica (in the lakeside of Dragocajna) offers tennis and other playgrounds, FKK beach, swimming area, etc.. This area closes up with an old castle with Kalvarija path on a hill above Smlednik and tourist complex around Lazarini baron chateau.

3. The Village of Sora

Below the regional park of Polhograjski dolomiti there lies the village of Sora (1997 & 1998 winner of Slovenian best decorated village awards). This award is a tribute to the villagers and their cooperation in community planning. The church of St Stefan was first mentioned back in the 13th century. In this village two famous Slovenes resided: Valentin Vodnik (1784 to 1785) and Fran Saleski Finzgar (1907 to 1918). The latter was a writer of the famous play 'Veriga' - a story about greed and the possession of a simple chain. The story really happened in a nearby village of Senica where the original chain is still kept. Today the village of Sora is well known for Hisa kulinarike that is run by the Jezersek family. This restaurant and conference centre can host the most lavish occasions and the largest groups (up to 15000 guests) for receptions, banquets, etc.

4. The Mountain of Smarna gora

The nearest and most popular place near Medvode (actually outside of the Medvode community borders) is the 667 meters tall peak of smarna gora, along with the slightly higher Grmada peak. Tethered or free hang-gliding is available. You may also climb on the popular 'rock-tooth of Turnc'. The chaple on smarna gora was first mentioned in 1314. The church was built in 1729. The bell tower remains high above as a monument for the mighty stronhold used to keep off the Muslim Turks. On the tower you may see a plaque in honour of the famous Slovene Jakob Aljaz (priest, advocat, mountaineer, composer, poet and 'national morale booster') who was born in the village of Zavrh below on 6th July 1845 (this date now celebrated as Medvode community honour day). He died in Dovje in Gorenjska in 1927. Is there a Slovene that does not know about a poem 'Oj, Triglav moj dom'? On his house of birth there is a carved a sign dedicated to this great Slovene by the Medvode community. In the nearby village of Spodnje Pirnice there was born another famous Slovene. In 1912 a national second world war hero Franc Rozman - Stane was born. He was a commander of the Slovenian communist army NOV and PO. He died in 1944. His house is also commemorated with a plaque.

5. The hills of 'Polhograjski dolomiti'

The mountaineers and hikers begging for a breath of fresh air and excellent views on a valley below can find their walk well revarded after they beat the regional park of Polhograjci... There are at least ten routes from Medvode valley leading to these peaks: Jetrbenk (772m), Govejek (774m), Osolnik (857m), St Jakob (806m, highest standing church in community), Grmada (898m) and Tosc (1021m) from whence you can really enjoy the view on Ljubljana grand-valley, Karavanke, Sorsko polje, Kamniske in Julijske alpe (SE area of the Alps) including Slovene's highest mountain of Triglav (2864m). Before entering the regional park there lies an abandoned mine complex Knapovski graben in Trnovec. There are many caves containing few areas that were used to mine lead and silver. The mine was mentioned first in 1716, when Max Anton Pichelstein first applied for a mine operation work permit. Production in 1803 was over 300 tons of Plumbum ore. The ore was lit at today well known Legastja location. After the first world war the mine still operated during 1927-1929 and even after the second world war.

 

 

Edited & designed by Gregor Rozman
gregor.rozman@medvode.si