For more than a hundred years, the Bohinj Railway has connected two picturesque alpine valleys – Bohinj and the Soča Valley. A special feature of the line is the longest Slovenian railway tunnel, which is 6,327 meters long. The ceremonial opening of the line, which otherwise connects Jesenice and Trieste, took place on 19th June 1906, and the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne Franc Ferdinand was present at the ceremony.
In Bohinj, however, they had even bolder plans at the time. A year after the opening of the Bohinj line, engineers Fritz Steiner and Maks Klodič drew up a plan for the construction of a railway line to the highest Slovenian peak, the 2,864-meter-high Triglav. They prepared two versions, and the starting point in both cases would be the Bohinjska Bistrica railway station.
According to the first equation, a connection would be made via Uskovnica to Velo polje, from where a cable car would run to the top of Triglav. According to the second version, a narrow-gauge line to the Voj valley was planned. From here, the rack railway would run through Velo polje and Kredarica to just below the top of Triglav. Between Kredarica and the top of Triglav, the railway was supposed to run mainly underground. The Ministry of Railways gave Steiner the green light to start technical preparations, but the project did not materialize.
Why women of Bled talk in men’s verb form?
You may be surprised when you talk to a woman from Bled, when she will use the masculine verb form for woman.
Some believe that this originates from the masculinization of naming for a young girl, another explanation is that this phenomenon could be linked to ‘onikanje’ (old usage of 3rd person plural to show respect to someone).
But the most attractive “explanation” seems to be one which derives from the folk oral tradition of the persecution of Napoleon’s soldiers from Bled in the early 19th century. During this time, most of Bled’s men took part in various battlefields, and Napoleon’s soldiers saw an opportunity to seize Bled’s valuables. However, the stubborn women of Bled grabbed the pitchforks, scythes, and other tools, and bravely opposed the French. They left Bled empty-handed.
The legend was later inspired by the playwright Ludvik Germonik (1823-1909), who wrote a drama with singing in German “Die Weiber von Veldes” (in English translation “Hearty women of Bled”).
Lake Bled – yes or no?
Glacier Lake Bled with its only natural island in Slovenia is a recognizable image of Bled.
In the summer months, it offers pleasant refreshment and opportunities for a range of water activities. A special experience is a ride to the island with traditional boat, called ‘pletna’. The lake even has a number of thermal springs on the eastern side, the temperature of which does not fall below 20°C. It would be hard to imagine what Bled would look like without the lake. Do you know that this could have happened in the past, namely that Bled would be left without a lake?
In 1782, the castle administrator Ignac Novak thought that Lake Bled was unused. He suggested to drain the lake and to use the clay from the lake bottom for making of bricks. The then Carniola Provincial Assembly did not support his idea. Novak did not give up and tried again five years later, but as we can see today, he did not succeed in the second either.
Why does the Municipality of Gorje have a bell in its coat of arms?
When you drive from Bled’s side towards Pokljuka, the path leads you through Gorje or better said through a part of Gorje villages. They were once known for their rich bell-ringing tradition, which is still remembered today by the bell in the coat of arms of the Municipality of Gorje.
The origin and development of bell-making in the vicinity of Gorje is connected with stockbreeding and alpine dairy-farming in this area. The main raw material for bells, iron,
was obtained by the people of Gorje from the ironworks in Jesenice and Bohinj. Bell-making was a lucrative activity for the people of Gorje, as long as they made sheet metal from iron themselves. Later, when this part was taken over by the factories, the bell-ringing activity began to decline.
In the village of Višelnica, near the Pogvajn family, a 19th-century smithy is still preserved. Although they no longer make bells, they are happy to show it to you and reveal some interesting things related to making bells.
“It’s ringing in Gorje, so the bell waves”
The people of Gorje are proud of the big bell from 1845 in the church of St. George in Zgornje Gorje. It’s not a surprise, as it is one of the very few that survived the First World War in this form.
The bell was lucky, as it could have been hit by the fate of all the other bells in the area that had to be handed over for the needs of the Austro-Hungarian army. The credit for the fact that more than 150-year-old bronze bell still floods the surroundings with its mighty sound goes to the then parish priest and deputy Ivan Piber. He pledged all his power and influence to keep at least the big bell in Gorje. According to the parish chronicle, he collected a few smaller bells in the area in order to leave a bronze bell in the largest church in Gorje.
Even today, the famous Gorje bronze bell echoes far and wide, which is also celebrated in the most famous Gorje song “It’s ringing in Gorje, so the bell waves” (“V Gorjah zvoni, da se turn majé”).