The Land of the Merry

18.07.2018 11:58

Text by Sašo Gašperin, july 2018

 

If Slovenes had to choose what was dearest to their heart, they would place Mt. Triglav on the very altar of their homeland. If they were to look further for the altar table, their attention would be drawn to a lush strip of land stretching between the Sava River and the villages of Žirovnica and Begunje.

Dežela (or the country in English) is home to spiritually and materially progressive people. The countryside abounds in endearing villages, fields dotted with hayracks and time-honoured churches. Here, firmly-built castle and manor walls speak of the glorious past, and the vibrant town of Radovljica bids visitors to its lovely square.

 

The land at the foot of the Karavanke mountain range has a profound effect on its inhabitants. These fields were the home of Slovenia's greatest poet, France Prešeren, and the source of beauty revered by his poetic genius. Anton Janša, the father of modern bee-keeping, drew inspiration from this soil and from the wisdom of his forefathers. And who, if not the Avsenik Brothers, could more perfectly capture the merry spirit of this area and the hearts beating for their community in their songs?

 

Sv. Peter nad Begunjami

 

Dear visitor, if you wish to take in God's little garden at the foot of Triglav in just one look, you will need to challenge yourself, at least a little. But when you make that last turn and step in front of St. Peter's Church above Begunje, it will seem as if the heavenly gate keeper has let you sneak a peek into heaven on earth. Above the dark forests of the Pokljuka plateau rises the three-headed lord, Mt. Triglav, surrounded by a herd of snow-capped Julian Alps summits piercing the deep blue sky. Far below, basking in the sun, lie meadows, fields and villages, strewn across the land by the invisible hand of the Creator. In the centre of this mythical landscape an island floats atop the blue waters of the lake, a sight that the poet once described as the 'image of paradise'.

 

The view from Gora is most stunning at noon, when the chime of bells rising up from the valley sounds as if the region was singing a Hallelujah to the sunny day. Do not rush back into the hectic pace of the valley; instead let your soul rest for a while and quench its thirst for the joys of life.

 

The article was also published in the newspaper of Triglav National Park, summer 2018.

 

 

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