BARJE WEST

Duration

1 day

Category

TOURING

Fitness level

LOW

Tour type

Technical difficulty

LOW

Length & elevation

38 km 200 m

There are but a few capital cities that have such a vast and special green area as the Ljubljana Marshes at their doorstep, which can be reached by bicycle or even on foot. The area is not only special for its beautiful nature, it also boasts a very rich history and archaeological heritage. Each of our one-day Ljubljana Marshes Tours are designed to allow you to experience all aspects of this incredible area protected as a landscape park.

There are countless of trails running amongst the meadows, fields, and forests. Your eye will most certainly be able to rest on the green area once outside of compact settlements concentrated at the foot of the hills, where you may encounter more animals than people.

Barje West Tour is the second shortest of the four tours leading but packed with point of interest. It leads across the meadows of the central area to some settlements at the foot of Mt. Krim and returns over the western parts of the marshes.

Highlights on the tour: 1, (2), 3, 4, (6), 5, 19, 18, (17), 16, 15, 14. The highlights in the brackets are optional extensions – not included in the distance/elevation count but included in the navigation pack.

Gallery

Highlights

1

The Church of Saint Michael

Plečnik left a lasting mark on the three central European cities, namely Vienna, Prague and Ljubljana. According to Friedrich Achleitner, a renowned art critic from Vienna, Plečnik may come to be considered an architect of the future due to his unique style. Upon returning to Ljubljana in 1921, Plečnik accepted the post of professor at the newly established University of Ljubljana and focused all his creative energies to designing the city. Plečnik’s Ljubljana as a unique example of urban planning is considered one of the 20th century’s most important universal art works. Although the church at the Črna Vas village was designed as a temporary sacral facility, it is considered one of the most comprehensive works of the great master. While its foundation is made of stone, everything else was built by using wood. The building was planned for subsequent enlargement by adding another storey, but that was prevented by World War II. Because the church is located on a boggy terrain, it was built on pylons. A stone staircase leading to the church nave reminds of the staircase in the National and University Library in Ljubljana with its occasional brick elements. The interior of the church is a tribute to folk construction and modesty – or rather a demonstration of the lack of funds. Most of the furnishings are made of wood, while ordinary sewage pipes were used in some of the support pillars as well as for the staircase railing.


2

Tomaž’s House

In the village of Črna Vas, one can visit Tomaž’s Farm, a unique house preserved in its original form from the period of first settlements at the central part of the Ljubljana Marshes after the area was dried out by reclamation in 1830. The house was built in 1844. On 13 April 2001, it was declared a site of national and cultural importance.


3

Kozler's Forest (nature reserve)

Kozler’s Forest is the largest (20 hectares) and the oldest (since 1951) protected part of the forested high marsh in the plains of the Ljubljana Marshes. It reflects the final step in the development of the high marsh, in which the European oak, a special oak variety, now grows. The forest was named after its original owners, the noble Kozler family, which is also tied to the first map of Slovenian lands elaborated by Peter Kozler in 1852. Nearby, there is a memorial honouring 63 victims of World War II.


4

Corn Crake Trail /Iški morost/

The nature reserve of Iški morost is dedicated to conserving the unique natural environment of the wetland area. A 1.3-kilometre nature trail called Koščeva pot (Corn Crake Trail) with a bird watching station runs on the reserve. Named after the corn crake (Crex crex), a rare and endangered bird species, the trail offers a unique insight into the wetland wildlife and animal species. Iški Morost is one of the largest cohesive wet meadow areas in the Ljubljana Marshes. The marked points offer descriptions of different habitats in the Ljubljana Marshes as well as the plant and animal species that live there.


5

The Windows of the Marshes

The Windows of the Marshes are actually hollows in the ground, which are often hidden in shrubbery. The hollows are mainly karst water sources. One of the largest sources of this kind is found on the educational trail.


6

Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Tomišelj

Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Tomišelj under Mt Krim can be seen from almost every part of the Ljubljana Marshes. The current Baroque church with two side chapels and two bell towers was built on the site of the former church, which was mentioned as early as 1526. The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary has been celebrated every October for over 400 years. The festivity was introduced by Pope Pius V after the fleet of the Holy League beat the Ottoman navy during the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Before the battle, the Pope appealed to believers to pray the Rosary and ask for the help of Mary, Queen of Heaven. For this reason, the victory was ascribed to her protection.


14

The Curnovec Drainage Canal

The reclamation of the marshes started in the late 18th century. The canal is named after the man who started this work. Empress Maria Theresa wanted the Ljubljana Marshes to become a breadbasket for the Land of Carniola, and for this purpose, she ordered extensive meliorations. A the end of the 18th century, Gruber’s Canal was excavated between the Castle Hill and Golovec Hill, the Ljubljanica river bed was deepened and regulated in the city, and a network of large and small canals was built in the Ljubljana Marshes. This created the now typical rectangular land division that separates fields by the use of drainage ditches. As a result, the groundwater level dropped by nearly a metre and a large part of the land in the Ljubljana Marshes became visible.


15

Ljubljanica River

The Ljubljanica River, which gathers karst and surface waters, is the main waterway of the marshes. Also known as the river of seven names, it is a protected site of natural and cultural importance. The subterranean waters from the Notranjska region see the light of day on the karst edge of the Ljubljana Marshes. There are four karst sources between Vrhnika and Verd, which are also sources of the Ljubljanica River: Močilnik, Retovje, Ljubija, and Bistra. (A visit to all is highly recommended.) The beautiful green river collects water coming from the Polhov Gradec Hills and Mt Krim, directing it towards Ljubljana with a very small bed slope inclination of 1 meter. During heavy rains, the river is usually unable to sustain the water from the Marshes, so it starts to flood. The floods are divided in regular, almost annual floods, and special floods, which cover almost half of the Marshes with water. Due to their high and forceful flood current during heavy storms, Ljubljanica’s torrential tributaries of Iška and Gradaščica are even able to turn the flow of the green river back towards Vrhnika.


16

The Podpeč Quarry

In the village of Podpeč, there is a quarry that was already used by the Romans. White shells of fossil bivalves in dark grey limestone are the ornamental combination that convinced the Romans to divert the Ljubljanica River bed to pass the Podpeč Quarry. They transported stone blocks by boats to Emona and used them to decorate the most important buildings in the city. This continued for several centuries, making many locals well respected stone-cutting masters. The staircase of the National and University Library in Ljubljana by Jože Plečnik shows the Podpeč marble in its best possible version. Today, the quarry is protected as a natural treasure, with only minor excavations allowed for the restoration of old buildings.


17

The Church of Saint Anna

The Saint Anna church stands on a steep slope above the old Podpeč Quarry. As the hill protrudes like a huge pier above the Marshes, it offers an amazing and extensive view from the platform around the church, embracing the entire Ljubljana Marshes from Škofljica to Vrhnika. In its present form, the Church of Saint Anna has stood here since the end of the 16th century, when it was built on the foundations of an old Gothic church. The ascent to the Saint Anna is short and quite undemanding. However, we do not recommend for the last part of the trail to be travelled by bicycle, unless you are fit enough to do it (gravel road).


18

Lake Podpeč

Situated in the valley near the village of Jezero, at the lower end of the karst hollow of Zajezero, this little karst lake has a shape of a circle. Water flows in from seven karst sources on the surface and flows out under the ground, through a deep sinkhole and then through a sump to the source located on the southern edge of the Ljubljana Marshes. The lake is 50 metres deep, which makes it one of the deepest natural lakes in Slovenia, and has been declared a natural monument. When major floods occur, the water level rises up to 3 metres higher than the average water level, flooding the surrounding plains. In summer months, the lake is a popular bathing area, and because the sun hides behind the Church of Saint Anna quite early, it is also a pleasant place to escape the heat of the city. A walking trail leads from the lake to the Church of Saint Anna (30 min, quite steep).


19

The Saint Lawrence at the village of Jezero

The Church of Saint Lawrence is situated on a solitary hill, not far from the village of Jezero. The building is accurately oriented, which means that the lightest part (the presbyterium with the altar) is on the east side. The church offers a nice view over the nearby marshes, and the hill with the church can serve as a beautiful photography image.


Optional

Price for BARJE WEST excludes

Logistics

Contact Visit Good Place to book a tour. Bike and the navigation pack (GPS coordinates, map and road book for the selected tour) can be retrieved at the agency premises. Address: Rimska cesta 2b, Ljubljana.

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