BOHINJ: HOW OUR ANCESTORS LIVED
Bohinj is mostly associated with the beautiful glacial lake, which is the largest permanent natural lake in Slovenia. Those more inclined to sports perceive the place as an excellent starting point for climbs to numerous peaks in the Julian Alps as well as mountain pastures and the Vogel Ski Resort. Beside the lake, Bohinj includes the area of three valleys (Upper and Lower Bohinj Valley and Nomenjska dolina Valley), where life and economic activities have developed to allow survival “at the end of the world”.
Bohinj was inhabited very early, i.e. in the Iron Age, which is especially striking in view of its geographical position. At the time, the first Bohinj villages were slowly formed and ironmongery developed, with the iron ore remaining the main source of life for many generations. Although the area did not allow food production and therefore agriculture has always been poorly developed, the meadows in the valleys provided enough hay for winter. In the warm months, the animals were moved to high mountain pastures. This way, livestock breeding and cheese making were developed in addition to alpine farming that emerged on as many as forty mountains.
As rainy weather is typical of Bohinj, the hay stacked for winter had to be protected against moisture, so special double hayracks called toplarji were designed. The Slovenian hayracks, which provided enough space for storing agricultural tools, are a special feature within the European area. The harvest was stored in granaries, which, besides churches, represented the only brick-built facilities in the area for a long time.
During World War I, Bohinj served as a collecting place for soldiers and material that was used in part of the Isonzo Front up in the Krn mountains. The narrow-gauge railway led all the way to Ukanc, from where the path was continued on horses until a cableway system was built.
The basic Bike Slovenia Green tour – Bohinj leads through all three valleys, with the Upper Bohinj valley villages especially telling a story about the ancient Bohinj life. The extended tour takes participants along the lake and up to the famous Savica waterfall, stopping by some of the important historical sites.