Peter Lynch: One Up on Wall Street

You don't need to make money on every stock you pick. In my experience, six out of ten winners in a portfolio can produce a satisfying result. 

Cheap stock can always get cheaper.

Frequent trading has made the stock markets more volatile. 

Corporatee profits are up fifty-five-fold since World War II, and the stock market is up sixtyfold. Four wars, nine recessions, eight presidents, and one impeachment didn't change that. 

When you sell in desperation you sell cheap. 

This is investing , where the smart money isn't so smart, and dumb money isn't really as dumb as it thinks. Dumb money is only dumb when it listens to the smart money. 

To me, an investment is simply a gamble in which you've managed to tilt the ods in your favour. 

Never invest in anything that eats or needs repairs. 

In the first stage of an upward market - one that has been down awhile and nobody expects to rise again - people aren't talking about stocks. In fact, if they lumber up to ask me what I do for a living, and I answer, "I manage an equity mutual fund," they nod politely and wander away. If they don't wander away, than they quickly change the subject to the Celtics game, the upcoming elections, or the weather. Soon they are talking to a nearby dentist about plaque. When ten peopple would rather talk to a dentist about plaque than to the manager of an equity mutual fund about stocks, it's likely that the market is about to turn up. In stage two, after I've confessed what I do for a living, the new acquintances linger a bit longer - perhaps long enough to tell me how risky the stock market is - before they move over to talk to the dentist. The cocktail party talk is still more about plaque than about stocks. The market's up 15 percent from stage one, but few are paying attention. In stage three, with the market up 30 percent from stage one, a crowd of interested parties ignores the dentist and circles around me all evening. A succession of enthusiastic individuals takes me aside to ask what stocks they should buy. Even the dentist is asking me what stocks he should buy. Everybody at the party has put money into one issue or another, and they're all discussing what's happened. In stage four, once again they're crowded around me - but this time it's to tell me what stocks I should buy. Even the dentist has three or four tips, and in the next few days I look up his recomendations in the newspaper and they've all gone up. When the neighbors tell me what to buy and than I wish I had taken their advice, it's a sure sign that the market has reached a top and is due for a tumble. 

The perfect stock would be attached to the perfect company, and the perfect company has to be engaged in a perfect simple business, and the perfectly simple business ought to have a perfectly boring name. The more boring it is, the better. I get even more excited when company with borring name also does something boring. Better than boring alone is a stock that's boring and disgusting at the same time. Something that makes people shrug, or turn away in disgust is ideal. It's hard to think of a more perfect industry than waste management. If there's anything that disturbs people more than animal casings, grease and dirty oil, it's sewage and toxic waste dumps. 

Find a company that no analyst has ever visited, or that no analyst would admit to knowing about, and you've got double winer. When:

- The rumors abound: It's involved with toxic waste and/or the mafia.

- There's something depressing about it.

- It's no-growth industry.

- It's got a niche.

- People have to keep buying it.

- It's a user of technology.

- The insiders are buyers. 

Earnings will decide the fate of a stock. Like the earning line, the p/e ratio is often a useful measure of whether any stock is overpriced, fairly priced, or underpriced relative to a company's money-making potential. You'll also find that the p/e levels tend to be lowest for the slow growers and highest for the fast growers, with cyclicals vacillating in between. If you remember nothing else about p/e ratios, remember to avoid stocks with excessively high ones. A company with a high p/e must have incredible earnings growth tu justify the high price that's been put on the stock. The stock market as a whole has it's own collective p/e ratio, which is a good indicator of whether the market at large is overvaluesd or undervalued. Interest rates have a large effect on the prevailing p/e ratios, since investors pay more for stocks when interest rates are low and bonds are less attractive. The p/e ratio of any company that's fairly priced will equal its growth rate. I'm talking about growth rate of earnings here. But if the p/e ratio is less than the growth rate, you may have found yourself a bargain. Iin general, a p/e ratio that's half the growth is very positive, and one that's twice the growth rate is very negative. 

Find the long-term growth rate (say, Company X's is 12 percent), add the dividend yield (Comapny X pays 3 percent) and divide by the p/e ratio (Company X's is 10). 12 plus 3 divided by 10 is 1,5. Less than 1 is poor, and 1,5 is okay, but what you're really looking for is a 2 or better. A company with a 15 percent growth rate, a 3 percent dividend, and p/e of 6 would have fabulous 3. 

When a company is sitting on billions in cash, it's definetely something you want to know about. How much does the company owe, and how much does it own? Debt versus equity. A normal corpporate balance sheet has 75 percent equity and 25 percent debt. 

Cash flow is the amount of money a company takes in as a result of doing business. All companies take in cash, but some have to spend more than others to get it. I prefer to invest in companies that don't depend on capital spending. 

Inventory buildup is usually a bad sign. When inventories groe faster than sales, it's a red flag. One bvious signal is that inventories are building up and the company can't get rid of them, which means lower prices and lower profits down the road. 

Monday effect: From 1953 through 1984 the stock market gained 919,6 points overall, but lost 1565 points on Mondays. In 1973 the market was ahead 169 points overall, but down 149 on Mondays; in 1974, down 235 overall and 149 on Mondays; in 1984 ahead 149 overall and down 47 on Mondays; in 1987, down 483 on Mondays and up 42 overall.

Yuval Noah Harari: Sapiens; Kratka zgodovina človeštva

Naši najbližji živi sorodniki so šimpanzi, gorile in orangutani. Najbližje so nam šimpanzi. Pred samo šestimi milijoni let je imela neka opica dve hčerki. Ena je postala prednica vseh šimpanzov, druga pa naša stara mama.

V Evropi in zahodni Aziji so se ljudje razvili v Homo neanderthalensis, ki jim po domače pravimo kar neandratalci. Bili so krepkejše in bolj mišičaste postave kot mi, sapiens, in dobro prilagojeni hladnemu podnebju zahodne Evrazije med zadnjo poledenitvijo. Vzhodnejša območja Azije je poseljeval Homo erectus, pokončni človek. Vrsta je tam preživela skoraj dva miljona let in postala najdlje živeča človeška vrsta v zgodovini. Tega rekorda tudi naša vrsta najverjetneje ne bo izboljšala. Ker ni nujno, da bo Homo sapiens obstajal še naslednjih tisoč let, sta dva miljona let za nas resnično nedosegljiva. Na indonezijskem otoku Java je živel Homo soloensis. Prilagojen je bil za življenje v tropih. Na še enem indonezijskem otoku, veliko manjšem Floresu, se je razvila pritlikavost. Homo floresiensis, so bili visoki največ meter in niso tehtali več kot 25 kg. V Sibiriji so živeli Homo denisova...kdo ve koliko naših izgubljenih sorodnikov še čaka, da jih odkrijemo. Ti ljudje so se razvijali v Evropi in Aziji, toda razvoj se je nadaljeval tudi v vzhodni Afriki. Iz zibelke človeštva so izšle številne nove vrste, med njimi Homo rudolfensis, Homo ergaster in naša vrsta Homo sapiens. Pogosto si zmotno predstavljamo, da si te vrste sledijo v linearnem zaporedju. V resnici je svet v obdobju od 2 mio let do 10.000 let p.n.št. hkrati ponujal domovanje več človeškim vrstam. Pred 100.000 leti je po svetu hodilo najmanj šest človeških vrst. 

Rod Homo je bil do nedavnega na sredini prehranjevalne verige. Ljudje so več milijonov let lovili manjše živali in nabirali, kar so mogli. Ves ta čas pa so jih lovili večji plenilci. Človeške vrste so veliko divjad začele loviti šele pred 400.000 leti. Človek je na vrh prehranjevalne verige skočil šele v zadnjih 100.000 letih z vzponom Homo sapiensa. 

Ukrotitev ognja je bila pomemben korak pri vzponu na vrh. Nekatere človeške vrste so ogenj občasno uporabljale že pred 800.000 leti. Pred približno 300.000 leti so Homo erectus, neandartalci in predniki Homo sapiensa ogenj uporabljali vsak dan. Ljudje so dobili zanesljiv vir svetlobe in toplote ter smrtonosno orožje proti prežečim levom. Največja prednost ognja je bila, da je omogočal kuhanje. 

Naša vrsta, Homo sapiens, je bila na svetovnem odru že navzoča, vendar je živela sama zase na nekem koncu Afrike. Ne vemo točno, kje in kdaj so se iz zgodnejših vrst človeka najprej razvile živali, ki jih lahko opredelimo kot Homo sapiens, toda večina znanstvenikov se strinja, da je pred 150.000 leti v vzhodni Afriki živela vrsta sapiens, katere pripadniki so bili videti prav takšni kot mi. Če bi katerega od njih pripeljali v sodobno mrtvašnico, krajevni patolog ne bi opazil nič nenavadnega. Zaradi pridobitev, ki jih je omogočil ogenj, so imeli manjše zobe in čeljusti kot njihovi predniki, možgane pa tako velike, kot jih imamo mi. Znanstveniki se strinjajo tudi, da so se sapiens pred približno 70.000 leti iz vzhodne Afrike razširili na Arabski polotok, od tam pa so se hitro razkropili po vsej Evraziji. Ko je sapiens prišel na Arabski polotok, so večino Evrazije že naseljevali drugi ljudje. Kaj se je zgodilo z njimi? Obstajata dve nasprotujoči si teoriji. Teorija o medsebojenm parjenju pripoveduje zgodbo o privlačnosti, spolnosti in druženju. Ko so se afriški priseljenci širili po svetu, so se parili z drugimi človeškimi populacijami, in mi smo potomci teh mešanih parov. Nasprotni pogled, teorija o izrinjenju, pripoveduje popolnoma drugačno zgodbo: zgodbo o nezdružljivosti, odporu, morda celo genocidu. Po tej teoriji so se sapiens in drugi ljudje razlikovali v anatomiji, najverjetneje pa so imeli tudi drugačne paritvene običaje in celo telesne vonjave. Spolno se drug za drugega niso zanimali. In tudi, če sta se neandartalski Romeo in sapienska Julija zaljubila, njuni otroci niso bili plodni, ker je bil genetski propad med populacijama že nepremostljiv. Zadnja desetletja je prevladovala teorija o izrinjenju. Imela je trdnejšo arheološko podlago in bila je politično manj kočljiva (rasizem). Toda razvozlali so genom neandartalca in izkazalo se je, da DNK sodobnih populacij na Bližnjem vzhodu in v Evropi vsebuje od enega do štiri odstotke DNKja neandartalce. Razvozlali so tudi genom DNK, pridobljenega iz prsta iz Denisove jame. Izsledki so dokazali, da imajo sodobni Melanezijci in avstralski aborigini v svojem DNK do šest odstotkov DNK denisivance.

Vsaki dve vrsti, ki sta se razvili iz skupnega prednika, na primer konji in osli, sta bili nekoč dve populaciji iste vrste, tako kot buldogi in španjeli. V nekem obdobju sta se populaciji že znatno razlikovali, vendar so se njuni predstavniki ob redkih priložnostih še sppolno združevali in imeli plodne potomce. Nato je dodatna mutacija presekala še zadnjo povezavo, in populaciji sta evolucijsko stopili vsaka na svojo pot. Zdi se, da so bili sapiens, neandartalci in denisovanci na tej mejni točki pred približno 50.000 leti. Populaciji se nista zlili, toda nekateri nesrečni neandartalski geni so vstopili v sapiens ekspres.  

Ampak zakaj so neandartalci, denisovanci in druge človeške vrste izginili, če se niso zlili s sapiens? Ena od možnosti je, da jih je v izumrtje pognal sapiens. Predstavljajte si krdelo sapiensov, ki so na Balkanu prišli v dolino, v kateri so neandartalci živeli že več sto tisoč let. Prišleki so začeli loviti srnjad ter nabirati oreške in plodove, ki so bili osnovna živila neandartalcev. Sapiensi so bili boljši lovci in nabiralci, zaradi boljše tehnike in bolj razvitih družabnih spretnosti. Zato so se množili in širili. manj iznajdljivi neandrartalci so čedalje težje prišli do hrane. . Njihova populacija se je zmanjšala in počasi izumrla. Druga možnost je, da se je tekmovanje za vire razplamtelo v nasilje in genocid. V minulih 10.000 letihsmo se tako zelo navadili biti edina človeška vrsta, da si stežka predstavljamo kar koli drugega. Dejstvo je, da so domače populacije izumrle kmalu po prihodu sapiensa. Zadnji ostanki Homo soloensisa so stari približno 50.000 let. Homo denisova je izumrl le malo pozneje. Neandartalci so svet zapustili pred približno 30.000 leti. Zadnji pritlikavi ljudje so z otoka Flores izginili pred približno 12.000 leti. 

Resnična posebnost našega jezika ni v tem, da je sposoben posredovati podatke o ljudeh in levih, ampak v sposobnosti posredovanja podatkov o stvareh, ki sploh ne obstajajo. Kolikor vemo, lahko samo sapiens govorijo o celi vrsti bitij, ki jih niso nikoli videli, se jih dotaknili ali jih vonjali.

V boju moža proti možu bi neandartalci najverjetneje premagali sapiens. V spopadih več sto ljudi pa niso imeli nobene možnosti. Neandartalci so si posredovali podatke o položajih levov, zgodb o plemenskih duhovih pa si verjetno niso mogli pripovedovati in spreminjati. Ker niso bili sposobni ustvarjati izmišljotin, niso mogli učinkovito sodelovati v vellikem številu in prilagoditi družbenega vedenja hitro se spreminjajočim izzivom. 

Razen sapiensov se s trgovanjem ne ukvarja nobena druga žival, vse trgovske mreže sapiensov, o katerih imamo podrobne dokaze, pa so temeljile na izmišljotinah. Trgovanje ne more obstajati brez zaupanja, neznancem pa je težko zaupati. Sodobna svetovna trgovinska mreža temelji na zaupanju v izmišljene danosti, kot so dolar, centralna banka in totemske blagovne znamke korporacij. 

Izjemna raznovrstnost namišljenih resničnosti, ki so jih izumili sapiens, in raznovrstni vedenjski vzorci, ki so se zaradi tega oblikovali, so glavne sestavine tega, kar imenujemo "kulture". Ko so se kulture pojavile, so se nenehno spreminjale in razvijale. Te neustavljive spremembe imenujemo "zgodovina".Kognitivna revolucija je zato trenutek, ko je zgodovina razglasila neodvisnost od biologije. Kadar govorimo o odnosih med dvema posameznikoma ali med desetimi ljudmi in enim človekom, smo še vedno zelo podobni šimpanzom. Značilne razlike se pojavijo šele, ko prestopimo prag 150 posameznikov. Pri skupinah s 1000 do 2000 posameznikov pa so te razlike osupljive. 

Sapiens so skoraj vso zgodovino naše vrste živeli kot lovci in nabiralci. Preteklih 200 let, v katerih si je čedalje več sapiensov služilo kruh tako, da so se zaposlili kot mestni ali pisarniški delavci, je le bežen trenutek v primerjavi z več deset tisočletji, v katerih so naši predniki lovili in nabirali. Nabiralci naj bi živeli v skupnostih, ki niso poznale zasebne lastnine, monogamnih razmerij in očetovstva. V takšnih skupinah so ženske lahko imele spolne odnose z več moškimi ter z njimi (in z drugimi ženskami) hkrati tkale intimne vezi. Pri vzgoji otrok so sodelovali vsi odrasli v skupini. Ker noben moški ni točno vedel, kateri otroci so njegovi, so enako skrbeli za vse.  Takšna družbena zgradba ni utopija iz hipijevskih časov. 

Psi so bili prve živali, ki jih je udomačil Homo sapiens, in to pred kmetijsko revolucijo. Mnenja strokovnjakov o času udomačitve se razhajajo, toda nesporna dejstva o udomačenih psih izvirajo izpred približno 15.000 let. Človeškemu tropu so se lahko pridružilli že več tisočletij prej. Pse so uporabljali za lov in spopade ter kot alarm, ki je opozoril na divje živali in človeške vsiljivce. 

Ljudje po navadi  po več mesecev niso videli in slilšali nikogar, ki ni bil iz njihove skupine. Posameznik je v življenju srečal le nekaj sto ljudi. Sapiens so bili zelo razpršeni po velikanskih ozemljih. Pred kmetijsko revolucijo je na svetu živelo manj ljudi, kot jih v zdajšnjem Kairu. Večina sapiensov je bila nomadov. Potikali so se naokoli in iskali hrano. Na njihove premike so vplivali menjava letnih časov, vsakoletne selitve živali in rastni cikli rastlin. Po navadi so potovali po istem domačem ozemlju, ki je merilo od nekaj deset do več sto kvadratnih kilometrov. Če se je skupina lovcev in nabiralcev na 40 let razdelila in je odcepljena skupina odšla na sto kilometrov oddaljeno območje na vzhodu, bi razdaljo od vzhodne Afrike do Kitajske premerili v približno 10.000 letih. V izjemnih primerih, ko so bili viri hrane še posebej bogati, so se skupine ustalile v sezonskih ali celo stalnih taborih. Najpomembnejše pa je, da so ljudje ob rekah in morjih, bogatih z morskimi plodovi in morskimi pticami, ustanovili stalne ribiške vasi - prve stalne naselbine v zgodovini, in to že veliko pred kmetijsko revolucijo. Ribiške vasi so se na obalah indonezijskih otokov morda pojavile že pred 45.000 leti. Bile so izhodiščne točke, od koder je Homo sapiens začel svoj prvi čezoceanski podvig, vpad v Avstralijo. Najverjetnejša teorija pravi, da so sapiens, ki so živeli na indonezijskem arhipelagu, razvile prve pomorske družbe. Naučili so se graditi in krmariti morska plovila. Arheologi še niso izkopali splavov, vesel in ribiških vasi izpred 45.000 let. Kljub temu pa teorijo podpirajo močni posredni dokazi, zlasti dejstvo, da so sapiens v tisočletjih po naselitvi Avstralijekolonizirali tudi veliko število majhnih odročnih otokov na njenem severu. Trenutek, ko so prvi lovci in nabiralci stopili na avstralsko obalo, je bil trenutek, ko se je Homo sapiens povzpel na vrh prehranjevalne verige in postal najnevarnejša vrsta v zgodovini našega planeta.

Zdajšnji lovci in nabiralci, ki živijo v najneprijaznejših okoljih - na primer v puščavi Kalahari - v povprečju delajo samo od 35 do 45 ur na teden. Lovijo vsak tretji dan, nabiranje pa jim vzame od tri do šest ur na dan. V normalnih razmerah je to dovolj, da nahranijo vse člane skupine. 

Povprečna življenjska doba naj bi bila samo 30 do 40 let, vendar predvsem zaradi visoke stopnje umrljivosti pri otrocih. Tisti, ki so preživeli nekaj nevarnih prvih let, do imeli dobre možnosti, da dočakajo 60 let. Nekateri so živeli celo več kot 80 let. 

Skrivnost uspeha, ki je lovce in nabiralce varoval pred lakoto in podhranjenostjo, je raznolika prehrana. Jedilnik kmetovalcev je pogosto zelo enoličen in neuravnotežen. Kmečko prebivalstvo je zlasti v predmodernih časih večino kalorij dobilo z eno poljščino, na primer pšenico, krompirjem ali rižem. V njej ni bilo nekaterih vitaminov, rudninskih in drugih hranljivih snovi, ki jih potrebuje človek. Ker niso bili odvisni od nobene posamezne vrste hrane, jih je propad določenega prehranskega vira manj prizadel. Starodavne lovce in nabiralce so manj pestile nalezljive bolezni. Večina nalezljivih bolezni, ki so razsajale ali še razsajajo po kmetijskih in industrijskih družbah (koze, ošpice, tuberkuloza), so bile sprva bolezni udomačenih živali. Na ljudi so se prenesle šele s kmetijsko revolucijo. 

Naš planet je doživel že številne cikluse ohlajanja in segrevanja. V zadnjih milijonih let je ledena doba v povprečju nastopila vsakih 100.000 let. Zadnja je bilapred približno 75.000 do 15.000 leti. Imela je dva vrhunca, prvega pred približno 70.000, drugega pa pred približno 20.000 leti. Orjaški diprotodont se je v Avstraliji pojavil pred več kot 1,5 milijona leti in je uspešno preživel najmanj deset ledenih dob. Preživel je tudi vrhunec zadnje ledene dobe pred 70.000 leti. Zakaj je torej izginil pred 45.000 leti? Če bi bili diprotodonti edine velike izumrle živali tistega obdobja, bi šlo lahko za naključje. Vendar je v tistem času izginilo več kot 90 odstotkov avstralske megafavne. Dokazi so posredni, vendar si težko predstavljamo, da bi sapiens v Avstralijo prišel samo po naključju točno v času, ko so izumirale vse te živali. Od 24 avstralskih živalskih vrstah, ki so tehtale 45 in več kilogramov, jih je izumrlo kar 23. Drugič. Kadar množično izumrtje povzroči podnebna sprememba, so morske živali ponavadi enako hudo prizadete kot kopenske. Vendar nimamo nobenih dokazov o obsežnejšem izginotju morske favne pred 45.000 leti. Tretjič. Množična izumrtja, podobnaarhetipskemu avstralskemu zdesetkanju, so se v poznejših tisočletjih pojavljala znova in znova, vsakič, ko so ljudje poselili nov del zunanjega sveta. V teh primerih je krivda sapiensov nesporna. Megafavna Nove Zelandije, ki je "podnebno spremembo" pred 45.000 leti preživela brez kakršnih kolli posledic, je enako hude udarce doživela takoj, ko so na otok stopili prvi ljudje. Maori, prvi sapiens, ki so naselili Novo Zelandijo, so na otoke prišli pred približno 800 leti. V dveh stoletjih so izumrli večina tamkajšnje megafavne in 60 odstotkov ptičjih vrst. Podobna usoda je doletela populacijo mamutov na Wranglovem otoku v Severnem ledenem morju. Velike živali Afrike-Evrazije so se naučile ljudem izogibati. Avstralski orjaki pa se v nasprotju z njimi niso imeli časa naučiti bežati, ampak so prej izumrle. Po drugi strani so sapiens ob prihodu v Avstralijo že obvladovali požigalniško poljedelstvo. Požgali so prostrana območja neprehodne goščave in gostih gozdov, da so ustvarili odprta travišča. Ta so privabila plen, ki so ga laže lovili. To stališče podpirajo fosilni ostanki rastlin. Evkalipti so bili v Avstraliji pred 45.000 leti redki. S prihodom Homo sapiensa pa se je za vrsto začela zlata doba. Evkalipti so zelo odporni proti ognju, zato so se namnožili in razširili, medtem ko sta drugo drevje in grmovje izginila. Spremembe v vegetaciji so vplivale na rastlinojede živali in na mesojede, ki so jedle rastlinojede. Podnebne spremembe, ki so pestile Avstralijo pred približno 45.000 leti, so destabilizirale ekosistem, zaradi česar je postal zelo občutljiv. V normalnih okoliščinah bi si opomogel, tako kot si je že velikokrat. Vendar so se ljudje pojavili prav v tem kritičnem času in krhki sistem pahnili v propad. 

Homo sapiens je bil prva in edina človeška vrsta, ki je prišla na zahodno poloblo. Celinski del je dosegel pred približno 16.000 leti. Prvi Američani so prpišli peš, saj je bilo takrat morje še dovolj plitvo, da sta bili severovzhodna Sibirija in Severozahodna Aljaska še povezani s kopenskim mostom. Arktične dežele so bile polne velikih sočnih živali, kot so severni jeleni in mamuti. Vsak uplenjeni mamut je bil vir ogromne količine mesa (ki so ga zaradi temperatur pod lediščem lahko celo zamrznili za poznejšo rabo), slastne maščobe, toplega krzna in dragocene slonovine. Skupine so se sčasoma razširile po vsem območju. Lovile so mamute, mastodonte, volnate nosoroge in severne jelene. Okoli leta 14.000 p.n.št. so nekateri med lovom s severovzhodne Sibirije prišli na Aljasko. Seveda niso vedeli, da so odkrili nov svet. Aljaska je bila za mamute in ljudi samo podaljšek Sibirije. Prehod z Aljaske v preostale dele Amerike so sprva zapirali ledeniki. Južnejše dele so zato raziskovali le posamezni pionirji. Približno 12.000 let p.n.št. pa se je led zaradi segrevanja ozračja stajal in odprl lažji prehod. Ljudje so se skozi novi koridor množično seleli na jug in poselili vso celino. Ljudje so 10.000 let p.n.št. že naseljevali najjužnejši del Amerike, otok Ognjena zemlja na skrajni južni točki celine.  Po zdajšnjih ocenah je Severna Amerika izgubila 34 od 47 rodov velikih sesalcev, Južna Amerika pa 50 rodov od 60. Sabljaste mačke, ki so svet uspešno naseljevale več kot trideset milijonov let, so izginile, tako kot tudi orjaški talni lenivci, orjaški levi, endemični ameriški konji in velblodi, velikanski sesalci in mamuti. 

Sapiens je s prvim poselitvenim valom v živalskem kraljestvu povzročil eno največjih in najhitrejših ekoloških katastrof v zgodovini. Homo sapiens je v izumrtje pognal približno polovico velikih živali, še preden je izumil kolo, pisavo in železno orodje.

Prvemu valu izumrtja, ki je spremljel širjenje lovcev in nabiralcev, je sledil drugi, ki je spremljal širjenje kmetovalcev. Ta ponuja pomemben pogled na tretji val val izumrtja, ki ga zdaj povzročajo industrijske dejavnosti. Ne verjemite besedam tistih, ki objemajo drevesa in trdijo, da so naši predniki živeli v sožitju z naravo. Homo sapiens je že dolgo pred industrijsko revolucijo postal rekorder po številu rastlinskih in živalskih vrst, ki so izumrle zaradi njega. Pripada nam neslavni naslov nejnevarnejše vrste v analih biologije. 

Prehod v kmetijstvo se je začel med letoma 9500 in 8500 p.n.št. v hriboviti pokrajini na jugovzhodu Turčije, v zahodnem Iranu in Levantu. Človek je pšenico in koze udomačil približno 9000 let p.n.št., grah in lečo okoli 8000 let p.n.št., oljke 5000 let p.n.št., konje 4000 let p.n.št, trto 3500 let p.n.št. Nekatere živali in rastline, na primer velblode in indijske oreške, je udomačil pozneje, toda glavnega vala udomačevanj je bio konec 3500 let p.n.št. Celo zdaj z vso napredno tehniko, ki jo imamo na voljo, več kot 90 odstotkov kalorij za prehrano človeštva pridobimo iz peščice rastlin, ki so jih naši predniki udomačili v obdobju med letoma 9500 in 3500 p.n.št. iz pšenice, riža, koruze, krompirja, prosa in ječmena. V zadnjih 2000 letih nismo udomačili nobene omembe vredne rastline in živali. Kmatijstvo se je rodilo tudi v drugih delih sveta, in to popolnoma neodvisno. V Srednji Ameriki so ljudje koruzo in fižol udomačili, ne da bi vedeli za pridelavo pšenice in graha na Bližnjem vzhodu. Južnoameričani so se naučili pridelovati krompir in rediti lame, ne da bi vedeli, kaj se dogaja v Mehiki in Levantu. Prvi kitajski revolucionarji so udomačili riž, proso in prašiče. Prvi severnoameriški vrtnarji so bili tisti, ki so se naveličali iskati užitne buče v podrasti in so jih sklenili gojiti. Novogvinejci so udomačili sladkorni trs in banane, prvi zahodnoafriški kmetovalci pa so svojim potrebam uklonili afriški proso, sfriški riž, sirek in pšenico. 

Povprečen kmet je delal trše kot povprečen lovec in nabiralec, v zameno pa je slabše jedel. Kmetijska revolucija je bila največja prevara v zgodovini. Pridelava pšenice je zagotovila veliko več hrane na enoto ozemlja, zato je Homo sapiensu omogočila eksponentno razmnoževanje. 13.000 let p.n.št., ko so se ljudje prehranjevali z nabiranje prostoživečih rastlin in z lovom na prostoživeče živali, je območje okoli oaze Jeriho v Palestini omogočalo preživetje le eni nomadski skupini s približno sto razmeroma zdravimi in dobro prehranjenimi ljudmi. Približno 8500 let p.n.št, ko so se prostoživeče rastline umaknile poljem pšenice, pa je oaza preživljala veliko vas, v kateri se je gnetlo 1000 ljudi. In te so veliko bolj pestile podhranjenost in bolezni. 8500 let p.n.št je bil Bližnji vzhod že posejan s stalnimi vasmi, kakršen je bil Jeriho. Njihovi prebivalci so se večino časa ukvarjali z gojenjem peščice udomačenih vrst. Število prebivalcev se je s selitvijo v stalne vasi in ob večjih zalogah hrane začelo povečevati. Dodatne pare rok so zelo potrebovali na poljih. Vendar so dodatna usta hitro pojedla presežke hrane, zato so morali zasejati več polj. "Pogodba s pšenico" je postala vse večje breme. Otroci so množično umirali in odrasli so jedli kruh v potu svojega obraza. Povprečen prebivalec Jeriha je leta 8500 p.n.št. živel veliko slabše kot povprečen Jerihčan leta 9500 ali leta 13.000 p.n.št. Vendar ni nihče ugotovil, kaj se dogaja. Ko so sklenili, da bodo nekoliko več delali - ko so, na primer, polja prekopali, namesto, da bi semena potresli po površju tal -, so si rekli: "Že res, da bomo morali več delati. Toda žetev bo zelo obilna! Ne bo se nam treba več ubadati s skrbmi zaradi slabih letin. Naši otroci ne bodo šli nikoli več spat s praznim želodcem." Sprva je načrt potekal gladko. Ljudje so res marljiveje delali. Vendar niso upoštevali, da se bo število otrok povečalo in da bodo morali dodatno pšenico razdeliti med več otrok. Prvi kmetje prav tako niso vedeli, da bodo otrokom oslabili imunski sistem, če jih bodo manj hranili z materinim mlekom in več s kašo, in da bodo stalne naselbine postale gojišča nalezljivih bolezni. Niso vedeli, da bodo z večjo odvisnostjo od enega vira hrane bolj čutili posledice pomanjkanja zaradi suše. Ali da bodo v letih obilne žetve polne kašče privabile tatove in sovražnike, zaradi katerih bodo morali zgraditi obzidja in stražiti. 

Zgodba o pasti razkošja vsebuje pomemben nauk. Človeštvo je v iskanju lagodnejšega življenja sprostilo velikanske sile sprememb, ki so svet preobrazile tako, kot si ni nihče niti predstavljal niti želel. Kkmetijske revolucije ni nihče načrtoval. Nihče ni hotel, da bi bili ljudje odvisni od gojenja žit. Niz preprostih odločitev, s katerimi so želeli samo napolniti nekaj želodcev in pridobiti nekaj varnosti, je deloval kumulativno. Starodavne lovce in nabiralce je prisilil, da so pod žgočim soncem iz dneva v dan v vedrih prenašali vodo. 

Kamni iz Gobekli Tepeja so bili izklesani okoli leta 9500 p.n.št. in vsi dostopni dokazi kažejo, da so jih postavili lovci in nabiralci. sklepamo, da so bile zgrajene z nekim skrivnostnim kulturnim pomenom. Gobekli Tepe so lahko zgradili le tako, da je več tisoč lovcev in nabiralcev iz različnih skupin in plemen dolgo sodelovalo. Toliko vollje jim je lahko vlila le izpopolnjena vera ali ideologija. Izledki razkrivajo, da najmanj ena udomačena sorta, einkorn, izvira iz hribov v okolici Gobekli Tepeja. Kulturno središče Gobekli Tepe je bilo verjetno nekako povezano s prvo udomačitvijo pšenice, ki je uspela ljudem, in prvo udomačitvijo ljudi, ki je uspela pšenici. Če so hoteli nahraniti ljudi, ki so monumentalne stebre postavili in jih uporabljali, so potrebovali izjemno veliko hrane. Gobekli Tepe kaže, da so morda najprej zgradili tempelj in da je vas okoli njega zrasla šele pozneje. 

Faustovska pogodba med ljudmi in žitom ni bila edina, ki jo je sklenila naša vrsta. Druga pogodba je povezana z usodo živali, kot so ovce, koze, prašiči in piščanci. Nomadske skupine, ki so zalezovale divje ovce, so postopoma spremenile sestavo njihovih čred. najnaslinejše in neobvladljive so poklali. Najpokornejša in najbolj všečna jagnjeta so živela dlje in se razmnoževala. Nastala je čreda udomačenih in pokornih ovc. Take udomačene živali - ovce, piščanci, osli in drugi - so ljudem zagotavljale hrano (meso, mleko, jajca), surovine (usnje, volna) in delovno moč. 

Povsod so se pojavili vladarji in elite, ki so živeli od presežkov hrane kmetov, njim pa pustili le za golo preživetje. Zaseženi presežki hrane so poganjali politiko, vojne, umetnost in filozofijo. Gradili so palače, utrdbe, spomenike in templje. Do pozne sodobne dobe je bilo več kot 90 odstotkov ljudi kmetov, ki so zjutraj vstali zato, da so v potu svojega obraza obdelovali zemljo. Pridelani presežek je hranil manjšino elit - kraljev, vladnih predstavnikov, vojakov, duhovnikov, umetnikov in mislecev -, tistih, o katerih pišejo zgodovinske knjige. Zgodovina je nekaj, s čimer se je ukvarjala le peščica ljudi, medtem ko so vsi drugi orali in prenašali vedra vode. 

Kako pripraviti ljudi do tega, da verjamejo v namišljeno ureditev? Prvič, nikoli ne priznajte, da je ureditev namišljena. Vedno vztrajajte, da je ureditev, ki ohranja družbo, objektivna stvarnost, ki so jo ustvarili veliki bogovi ali zakoni narave. Ljudi tudi temeljito izobrazite. Že takoj od rojstva jih nenehno opozarjajte na načela namišljene ureditve, ki so vpeta prav v vsakogar in v vse pore življenja. Vpeta so v pravljice, drame, sllike, pesmi, bonton, politično propagando, stavbarstvo, recepte in modo. Miti n legende so ljudi skoraj od rojstva navajali razmišljati po ustaljenem načinu, se vesti v skladu z določenimi merili, si želeti določene stvari in upošteveti določena pravila. Ustvarili so umetne nagone, ki so milijonom neznancem omogočili učinkovito sodelovanje. Tako mrežo umetnih nagonov imenujemo "kultura".

Neki Sumerec je med letoma 3500 in 3000 p.n.št. iznašel sistem za shranjevanje in obdelavo podatkov zunaj možganov, sistem, ki je bil prilagojen obvladovanju velike kolličine matematičnih podatkov. Sumerci so svojo družbeno ureditev s tem osvobodili omejitev človeških možganov ter odprli pot za nastanek velikih mest, kraljevin in cesarstev. Sistem obvladovanja podatkov, ki so ga izumili Sumerci, se imenuje "pisanje". Želja po zapisovanju drugih stvari poleg enoličnih matematičnih podatkov se je končno prebudila pri Mezpotamcih. Med letoma 3000 in 2500 p.n.št. so sumerskemu sistemu dodajali nove in nove znake ter ga postopoma spremenili v popolno pisavo, ki jo zdaj imenujemo klinopis. Kralji so leta 2500 p.n.št. že uporabljali klinopis za objavljanje odredb, svečeniki so ga uporabljali za zapisovanje prerokb, manj vzvišeni državljani pa za ppisanje zasebnih pisem. Egipčani so približno v istem času razvili svojo popolno pisavo, hieroglife. Na Kitajskem se je popolna pisava razvila okoli leta 1200 p.n.št, v Srednji Ameriki pa med letoma 1000 in 500 p.n.št. Konec osmega stoletja so iznašli novo protopisavo, takšno, ki je matematične podatke lahko shranjevala in obdelovala učinkoviteje kot vse pred njo. Sestavljalo jo je deset znakov, ki so predstavljali števila od nič do devet. Imenujemo jih arabska števila, čeprav so jih iznašli hindujci. Ko so napadli Indijo, so naletelli na ta sistem, spoznali njegovo uporabnost, ga prečistili ter razširili po Bližnjem vzhodu in nato v Evropo. 

Kako so se ljudje organizirali v mreže množičnega sodelovanja? Kratek odgovor je, da so ljudje oblikovali namišljene ureditve in iznašli pisavo. Vendar so bile te mreže za marsikoga prej prekletstvo kot blagoslov. Namišljene ureditve, ki so jih ohranjale, niso bile ne nevtralne ne pravične. Ljudi so delile na izmišljene skupine, urejene hierarhično. Višji sloji so imeli privilegije in oblast, nižji so bili zapostavljeni in zatirani. 

Lovci in nabiralci niso imeli denarja. Vsaka skupine je sama nalovila, nabirala in izdelala skoraj vse, kar je potrebovala - od mesa do zdravil ter sandalov in čarovnij. Morda se je vsak član skupine specializiral za svojo nalogo, vendar so dobrine in storitve menjavali na podlagi uslug ter obveznosti. Nekdo je kos mesa podaril v zameno za, recimo, brezplačno zdravniško pomoč. S kmetijsko revolucijo se to ni kaj prida spremenilo. Večina ljudi je še vedno živela v majhnih skupnostih, v katerih so se vsi poznali med sabo. Zelo podobno kot skupine lovcev in nabiralcev so bile tudi vasi samooskrbne enote, ki so se vzdrževale z medsebojnimi uslugami ter dolžnostmi in nekaj blagovne menjave z ljudmi od drugod. En vaščan je morda še posebej spretno izdeloval čevlje, drugi je blestel v zdravstveni negi... Vaščani so vedeli, na koga se morajo obrniti, če so bosi alli bolni. Vendar so bile vasi majhne, njihova gospodarstva pa omejena, zato ni mogel biti nihče samo čevljar ali samo zdravnik. Nastanek mest in kraljevin ter izboljšana infrastruktura sta prinesla nove priložnosti za specializacijo. V gosto naseljenih mestih so zaposlitev za polni delovni čas našli čevljarji, zdravniki, mizarji, duhovniki, vojaki in pravniki. Prebivalci vasi, ki so slovele po pridelavi zelo dobrega vina in olivnega olja ter izdelavi odlične keramike, so ugotovili, da se jim izplača posvetiti izdelavi tistega izdelka in ga s prebivalci drugih naselbin zamenjati za vse druge dobrine, ki so jih potrebovali. Kadar skuša sodelovati veliko število neznancev, ekonomija uslug in obveznosti odpove. Eno je, če sestri ali sosedu brezplačno pomagate, drugo pa, če skrbite za neznance, ki vam usluge morda ne bodo nikoli vrnili. To lahko rešite z blagovno menjavo. 

Denar niso kovanci in bankovci. Denar je vse, kar so ljudje pripravljeni uporabiti, da bi premišljeno prikazali menjalno vrednost drugega blaga ali storitev. Denar ljudem omogoča hitro primerjavo in preprosto ovrednotenje rezličnih dobrin (na primer jabolk, čevljev in ločitve), preprosto menjavo ene stvari za drugo ter priročno shranjevanje premoženja. Zaupanje je surovina, iz katere so skovane vse vrste denarja. Denar je najsplošnejši in najučinkovitejši sistem medsebojnega zaupanja, kar jih je kdaj bilo. 

Prvi znani denar v zgodovini je dil sumerski ječmenov denar. Približno 3000 let p.n.št. se je pojavil v Sumeriji - ob istem času, na istem območju in v enakih okoliščinah kot pisava. Tako kot se je pisava razvila kot odgovor na potrebe vse živahnejših upravnih dejavnosti, se je tudi ječmenov denar razvil kot odgovor na potrebe čedalje živahnejših gospodarskih dejavnosti. Do resničnega napredka v zgodovini je prišlo, ko so ljudje pridobili zaupanje v denar, ki ni imel inherentne vrednosti, zato pa ga je bilo preprosteje hraniti in prevažati. Tak denar se je pojavil v Mezopotamiji sredi tretjega tisočletja pred našim štetjem. Srebrni šekel (8,33 g srebra).

Vera zdaj pogosto velja za vir zapostavljanja, nasprotij in razkolov. Toda v resnici je bila poleg denarja in imperijev tretji veliki povezovalni dejavnik človeštva. Vero lahko opredelimo kot sistem človeških pravil in vrednost, ki temelji na verovanju v nadčloveško ureditev. To vključuje dve značilni merili: 1. Vere trdijo, da obstaja nadčloveški red, ki ni sad človeških muh in sporazumov. 2. Vera na podlagi nadčloveškega reda oblikuje pravila in vrednost, ki jih ima za zavezujoče. Če hoče vera v svojem naročju združiti prostrana območja, ki jih poseljujejo različne skupine ljudi, mora imeti še dve lastnosti. Prvič, zagovarjati mora univerzalno nadčloveško ureditev, ki je resnična vedno in povsod. Drugič, vztrajati mora pri oznanjanju tega prepričanja vsem ljudem. Z drugimi besedami, biti mora univerzalna in misijonarska. Najbolj znane vere v zgodovini, na primer islam in budizem, so univerzalne in misijonarske. 

Ko je v verovanju prevladoval animizem, so morali ljudje pri svojih pravilih in vrednotah upoštevati poglede ter koristi številnih drugih bitij - živali, rastlin, vil in duhov. Take vere so krajevno zelo omejene in so poudarjale enkratne značilnosti posameznih krajev, podnebij ter pojavov. Če so hoteli prebivalci neke doline preživeti, so morali razumeti nadčloveški red, ki je urejal njihovo dolino, in temu prilagoditi svoje vedenje. Prebivalce neke oddaljene doline bi bilo nesmiselno prepričevati, naj upošteva enaka pravila. Prevladujoča teorija o izvoru bogov pravi, da so bogovi pridobili pomen, ker so ponudili rešitev za težavo. Ppoglavitna vloga bogov je bila posredovanje med ljudmi ter nemimi rastlinami in živalmi. Velik del antične mitologije je v bistvu pogodba, s katero ljudje bogovom v zameno za oblast nad rastlinami in živalmi obljubljajo čaščenje. Verski obredi so bili še tisočletja po kmetijski revoluciji večinoma sestavljeni iz žrtvovanj, s katerimi so ljudje božjim silam žrtvovali jagnjeta, vino in pecivo. Božje sile so jim v zameno obljubljale obilen pridelek in plodne črede. 

Dokler so ljudje vse življenje preživeli na približno 2500 kvadratnih kilometrih, so krajevni duhovi lahko zadovlojili večino njihovih potreb. Ko pa so se kraljevine povečale in trgovske mreže razširile, so morali ljudje navezati stik z bitji, ki so vplivala na celotno kralljevino oziroma trgovsko območje ter imela oblast nad njimi. Pposkusi zadoljitve teh potreb so pripeljali do politeističnih ver. Te vere so razumele, da mora svet nadzorovati skupina vplivnih bogov, na primer boginja plodnosti, bog dežja in bog vojne. Ljudje so se na bogove lahko obračali s svojimi prošnjami, bogovi pa so, če so jih ljudje častili in jim darovali, lahko prinesli dež, zmago in zdravlje. Animisti so verjeli, da so ljudje le eno izmed bititij, ki naseljujejo svet. Politeisti so po drugi strani videli svet kot izraz odnosa med bogovi in ljudmi. Naše molitve, žrtvovanja, grehi in dobra dela so odločali o usodi celotnega ekosistema. Strahotna polava je lahko pobila na milijarde mravelj, ker je nekaj neumnih sapiensov razjezilo bogove. 

Prva nam znana monoteistična vera je vzniknila v Egiptu okolli leta 1350 p.n.št., ko je faraon Ehnaton razglasil, da je eno manj pomembnih božanstev egipčanskega panteona, bog Aton, v resnici vrhovna sila, ki vlada stvarstvu. Ehnaton je čaščenje Atona uzkonil kot državno vero in skušal omejiti čaščenje vseh drugih bogov. Vendar njegova verska revolucija ni bila uspešna. Po njegovi smrti so čaščenje Atona opustili v prid starega panteona. Prelom se je zgodil s krščanstvom. Ta vera se je začela kot ezoterična judivska sekta, ki je skušala Jude prepričati, da je Jezus iz Nazareta njihov dolgopričakovani mesija. Vendar je eden prvih voditeljev sekte, Pavel iz Tarza, trdil naslednje: če ima Bog, vrhovna sila stvarstva, želje in predsodke tere se je toliko potrudil, da se je utelesil in se dal križati za odrešitev človeštva, potem morajo to izvedeti vsi, ne le Judje. Zato je bilo treba dobro besedo, evangelij o Jezusu širiti po vsem svetu. Kristjani so začeli organizirati obsežne misijonarske dejavnosti, usmerjene v vse ljudi. 

Uspeh krščanstva je služil kot model za še eno monoteistično vero, ki se je pojavila na Arabskem polotoku, za islam. Ta se je tako kot krščanstvo začel kot majhna sekta v zakotju sveta, vendar je v še nenavadnejšem in še hitrejšem zgodovinskem presenečenju planil iz puščav Arabija ter zavzel ogromen imperij, ki se razteza od Atlantskega oceana do Indije. Od takrat ima monoteistična ideja osrednjo vlogo v svetovni zgodovini. Monoteisti so večinoma veliko bolj fanatični in misijonarski kot politeisti. Monoteisti so v preteklih dveh tisočletjih znova in znova skušali okrepiti svoj vpliv z naslinim iztrebljanjem vse konkurence. 

Politeizem ni rodil le monoteističnih ver, temveč tudi dualistične. Te zagovarjajo obstoj dveh nasprotujočih se sil, dobrega in zla. Dualizem v nasprotju z monoteizmom verjame, da je zlo neodvisna sila, ki je dobri Bog ni niti ustvaril niti se ji ni podredil. Dualizem razlada, da je celotno stvarstvo bojišče med tema silama in da je del boja vse, kar se dogaja na svetu. Dualizem je zelo privlačen svetovni nazor, saj ima kratek in preprost odgovor na slavni problem zla, ki je eno temeljnih zanimanj človeške misli. "Zakaj je na svetu zlo? Zakaj obstaja trpljenje? Zakaj se dobrim ljudem dogajajo slabe stvari?" Monoteisti morajo izvajati pravo intelektualno gimnastiko, da bi razložili, kako lahko vsevedni, vsemogočni in dobri Bog na svetu dovoli toliko trpljenja. Za dualiste se slabe stvari celo dobrim dogajajo zato, ker sveta ne upravlja vsevedni, vsemogočni in vsesplošno dobri Bog. Na svetu je tudi neodvisna zla sila. In ta zla sila ppočne slabe stvari. Obstaja logična rešitev uganke - trditev, da obstaja en sam vsemogočni bog, ki je ustvaril celotno stvarstvo, in da je ta bog hudoben. Toda za tako prepričanje ni imel dovolj poguma še nihče v zgodovini. 

Monoteizem, kot je pokazala zgodovina, je kalejdoskop monoteističnih, dualističnih, politeističnih in animističnih zapuščin, nagnetenih pod eno samo božje okrilje. Povprečen kristjan verjame v monoteističnega Boga, vendar tudi v dualističnega hudiča, politeistične svetnike in animistične duhove. Religiologi imajo izraz za tako hkratno priznavanje različnih in celo nasprotujočih si idej ter kombinacijo obredov in praks, povzetih iz različnih virov. To imenujejo  sinkretizem. In prav ta je morda edina velika svetovna vera. 

Prvo načelo monoteističnih ver je: "Bog obstaja. Kaj hoče od mene?" Prvo načelo budizma je: "Trpljenje obstaja. Kako naj se mu izognem?" Če je človekov duh popolnoma osvobojen želja, ga ne more onesrečiti noben bog. In obratno, ko se v človekovem duhu porodi želja, ga pred trpljenjem ne more obvarovaati prav noben bog stvarstva.

Sodobna doba je priča vzponu številnih novih nazorov, ki temeljijo na zakonih narave - liberalizma, komunizma, kapitalizma, nacionalizma in nacizma. Tem nazorom ni všeč, da jih imenujejo vera - poimenovali so se ideologije. Medtem ko so budisti verjeli, da je zakone narave odkril Sidharta Gavtama, so komunisti verjeli, da so zakone narave odkrili Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels in Vladimir Iljič Lenin. Komunizem ima tako kot druge vere svoja sveta besedila in preroške knjige, na primer Marxov Kapital, ki je napovedoval, da se bo zgodovina kmalu končala z neizogibno zmago proletariata. Tudi komunizem je imel svoje praznike, na primer 1. maj in obletnico oktobrske revolucije. Imel je teologe, izurjene v marksistični dialektiki, in vska enota sovjetske vojske je imela kaplana, ki so ga imenovali komisar in ki je nadzoroval pobožnost vojakov in častnikov. Komunizem je imel mučenike, svete vojne in krivoverce, kakršni so bili trockisti. Sovjetski komunizem je bil fanatična in misijonarska vera. Pobožen komunist ni mogel biti kristjan ali budist in od njega se je pričakovalo, da bo širil Marxov ter Leninov evangelij, tudi za ceno lastnega življenja. 

Humanizem je prepričanje, da ima Homo sapiens posebno in sveto naravo, ki se razlikuje od narave vseh drugih živali in pojavov. Humanizem se je razcepil v tri glavne sekte. Zdaj je najpomembnejša humanistična sekta liberalni humanizem, ki verjame, da je "človeštvo" lastnost posameznih ljudi, zato je svoboda posameznikov nekaj najsvetejšega. Liberalci pravijo, da sveta narava človeštva počiva v prav vsakem Homo sapiensu. Notranje jedro posameznih ljudi osmišlja svet in je vir vse etične ter politične oblasti. Če naletimo na etično in politično dilemo, se moramo zazreti vase in prisluhniti svojemu notranjemu glasu, glasu človeštva. Zappovedi poznamo kot "človekove pravice".

Druga pomebna sekta je socialistični humanizem. Socialisti verjamejo, da je "človeštvo" kolektivno, ne pa individualistično. Zanje ni svet notranji glas vsakega posameznika, temveč vrsta Homo sapiens kot celota. Medtemko želi liberalni humanizem omogočiti čim več svobode posameznim ljudem, želi socialistični humanizem vsem ljudem zagotoviti enakopravnost. Kadar imajo bogati več privilegijev kot revni, to pomeni, da cenimo denar bolj kot univerzalno bistvo vseh ljudi, ki je enako za revne in bogate. 

Edina humanistična sekta, ki se je dejansko izvila iz tradicionalnega monoteizma, je evolucijski humanizem. Njegov najbolj znani predstavniki so nacisti. Nacisti so v nasprotju z drugimi humanisti verjeli, da človeštvo ni nekaj vsesplošnega in večnega, temveč spremenljiva vrsta, ki se lahko razvija ali nazaduje. Človek se lahko razvije v nadčloveka ali nazaduje v podčloveka. Glavni cilj nacistov je bil varovanje človeštva pred nazadovanjem in spodbujanje napredne evolucije. Zato so nacisti trdili, da je treba arijsko raso, najnaprednejšo oblilko človeštva, varovati in negovati, medtem ko je treba izrojene oblike Homo sapiensa, na primer Jude, Rome, homoseksualce in duševno bolne, osamiti in celo iztrebiti. Nacisti so razlagali, da se je Homo sapiens pojavil, ko se je razvila "višja" populacija arhaičnih ljudi, "nižje" populacije, na primer neandartalci, pa so izumrle. Zdaj so taki projekti spet v modi. Nihče ne govori o iztrebljanju nižjih ras in manjvrednih ljudi, zato pa številni razmišljajo o tem, da bi vse bolj poglobljeno znanje o človeški biologiji uporabili za oblikovanje nadljudi. 

(ch 4, pg 208)

Lakes of Austria and Slovenia Part 10

From Adergas to Ljubljana

The last day we have been observing Kamnik-Savinja Alps from far. Today we continue our ride at the foot of them. At the beggining of today’s ride we see Devil’s Forest on the slope of Mt. Zaplata. The last day we have been observing Kamnik-Savinja Alps from far. Today we continue our ride at the foot of them. At the beggining of today’s ride we see Devil’s Forest on the slope of Mt. Zaplata. Legend has it that two brothers from the plains below Mt Zaplata were quarrelling over a forested plot of land near their farm when one of them bemoaned “to hell with it!” at which point the Devil himself picked up the forest and carried it on his back up the mountain. However, before he reached the top the day broke, causing him to lose his strength and drop the six hectare patch of forest where it still rests today. 

First bigger town today is Kamnik. The first time it was mentioned as a town was in 1229, when it was an important trading post on the road between Ljubljana and Celje. This makes the town one of the oldest in Slovenia. The town was one of the the most influential centres of power of the Bavarian counts of Andechs in the region of Carniola at the time. The only remnant of the Bavarian nobility are the two ruined castles which are both strategically built on high ground near the town centre, one on the hill on the other side of the Kamniška Bistrica river and one practically in the town centre, on the lower hill above the main street.

We end the day and the tour in Ljubljana. Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is a lively Central European city lying in a basin at the confluence of the Sava and Ljubljanica rivers, between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea, at 295 metres above sea level. It covers 273 square kilometres and has a population of about 300.000.

We end the day and the tour in Ljubljana. Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is a lively Central European city lying in a basin at the confluence of the Sava and Ljubljanica rivers, between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea, at 295 metres above sea level. It covers 273 square kilometres and has a population of about 300.000.

Legend has it that Ljubljana was founded by the Greek mythological hero Jason and his companions, the Argonauts, who had stolen the golden fleece from King Aetes and fled from him across the Black Sea and up the Danube, Sava and Ljubljanica rivers. They stopped at a large lake in the marsh near the source of the Ljubljanica, where they disassembled their ship to be able to carry it to the Adriatic Sea, put it together again, and return to Greece. The lake where they made a stop was the dwelling place of a monster. Jason fought the monster, defeated it and killed it. The monster, now referred to as the Ljubljana Dragon, found its place atop the castle tower on the Ljubljana coat of arms.

Kamnik
Ljubljana
Trznica
Lakes of Austria and Slovenia Part 9

From Bled to Adergas

The village of Kropa, the cradle of Slovene iron-forging, lies in a narrow valley beneath the Jelovica Plateau. It is one of the most important Slovenia’s historic places due to its preserved architecture and technical heritage and has been protected as a cultural monument since 1953. It started to develop in the 14. century when the forest ironwork industry started to move from iron ore deposits on the Jelovica plateau towards the valleys and brooks.It has been established that over 100 different types of nails were for sale at home and abroad. In the 18. and the beginning of the 19. century, the time of the greatest production of the Kropa ironworks, there were also seven iron foundries in addition to two forges, that took care of producing semi-manufactured goods and 19 nail factories that jointly provided a living for a little over 1000 people. At the end of the 19. century, due to the crisis, competition from abroad and lack of ore, producers united into nail production cooperative. It later became the screw factory Plamen and artistic iron works UKO, which still operates today. The Iron Forging Museum in Kropa demonstrates the entire iron working process: from iron ore to a spike. It shows the economic, social and cultural conditions in Kropa and nearby ironworking location since the 15. century. The collection of nails has 94 types of preserved nails, from the smallest, used in shoemaking, to those that are 70cm long which were used in dam building. It is said, that even Venice is built by Kropa nails.

When you will ride up the hill from Kropa, remember the man, who won the 2012 Monte Carlo des enegies nouvelles. He lives and works in the village of Češnjica. Monte Carlo raly was 1380km long. On the first day the most important was crossing the finish line in time, the volume of energy spent was not the issue. The second day the track was 430km long with 5000m of vertical climb and 480km with 2500m of vertical climb on the third day. If we translate the energy into the money: Andrej spent about 12 EUR to complete the race. How much energy spent the best in the rally Monte Carlo:

  1. 1. place: Andrej Pečjak and Frederic Mlynarczyk (Dacia sandero); total spent energy 149,45 kWh
  2. 2. place: James Morlaix and Sebastien Chol (Tesla roadster), total spent energy: 151,50 kWh
  3. 3. place: Jean-Paul Oger and Benjamin Lardans (Tesla roadster S), total spent energy: 160,76 kWh

On the rally also took part a team in Ferrari 458 spider. For the same track they spent 154,10 l of fuel, what is 977,30 kWh of energy. They finished the race on 80. place.

For thousands of years the town of Kranj has enjoyed its strategic position, located between two rivers on a conglomerate rock beneath the Alps. The nucleus of the town is well preserved medieval old town, built at the confluence of the Kokra and Sava rivers. The ancient town of Kranj, in older texts called also Carnium, Creina, Krainburg, was inhabited already in the Late Stone Age or the Neolitic, more than 6,000 years ago. This means that Kranj is one of the oldest inhabited locations in the country and one of the oldest cities in Slovenia.

Kropa
Kranj
Lakes of Austria and Slovenia Part 8

Around Bled

Vintgar Gorge, carved by Radovna River, is located near Gorje, approximately 4 kilometres north-west from Bled. The 1.6-kilometre long gorge is carved amidst the glorious vertical walls of Hom and Boršt hills, and it is highlighted by the Radovna River and its waterfalls, pools and rapids. A study trail runs across the gorge and the wooden bridges as well as Žumer galleries, which ends with the mighty 13 metres high Šum river waterfall, one of the three river waterfalls in Slovenia. Vintgar Gorge is the nearest point to entering Triglav National Park from Bled.

Triglav National Park is the only national park in Slovenia. It stretches from Bled to the border with Italy and from Sava Dolinka river to Tolmin. It covers almost complete Slovenian part of Julian Alps, the area of 838 km2. Its highest point is Triglav with 2864m, the lowest is Tolminka river with 180m.

The first proposal for conservation dates from the year 1908, and was realised in 1924. Then, on the initiative taken by the Nature Protection Section of the Museological Society of Slovenia together with the Slovene Alpine Society, a twenty year lease was taken out on the Triglav Lakes Valley area, some 1400 hectares: It was destined to become an “Alpine Protection Park”, however permanent conservation was not possible, in 1961, after many years of effort, the protection was renewed this time on a permanent bases and somewhat enlarged, embracing some 2000 hectares. The protected area was officially designated as “The Triglav National Park”. Under this act, however, all objectives of a true national park were not attained and for this reason over the next two decades, new proposals for the extension and rearrangement of the protection were put forward. Finally, in 1981, a rearrangement was achieved and the park was given a new concept and enlarged to 838 square kilometres the area which it continues to cover to this day.

The park is named after Mt.Triglav (2864m), symbol of the Slovenia, which is situated almost in the middle of the protected territory. From it the valleys spread out radial, supplying water to two large river Systems which have their sources in the Julian Alps: the Soca river and the Sava river flowing to the Adriatic and Black Sea respectively.

In the past the narrow valleys of the Julian Alps did not offer favourable conditions for settlement. However traces of older settlements can be found, particularly in the Bovec basin, the Bohinj area and the Upper Sava river valley. The mountain way of life has given an indelible stamp to this mountainous region. A great part was played by cattle-breeding and very early on the inhabitants pastured their cattle in the mountains (the pastures on the slope of Krn were first mentioned in 1178), and established seasonal hamlets in the high mountain pastures. From very early times people were also engaged in producing iron, they found ore in the vicinity of their residences, smelted and then traded iron products. This economic activity reached its climax in the 15. and 16. centuries when the ironworks beside the rivers in the Trenta valley, in the Bohinj area and in the Jesenice basin were established. At the same time, the forests were thinned extensively to obtain charcoal from wood for the needs of the iron working industry. On account of a lack of ore and timber the ironworks of Trenta was closed in 1778, while obsolete technology and arrival of the railway, led to the closing of the ironworks of Bohinj in 1868.

A characteristic feature of the Slovene Alps was development of mountaineering. It is one of the oldest and most popular activities in the country which led to the foundation of the famous Slovene Alpine Society. This Society played a special role in the awakening of the Slovene national consciousness during the period of Austro-Hungarian rule. In these times there was a race between Slovenes, Austrians and Germans who will climb more and more difficult. It was the time when mountain huts begin to grow, when new mountain tracks have been marked and when new climbing route have been climbed. If you don’t climb Triglav at least once in your lifetime, you are not a Slovene. Today we have a network of 1661 mountain tracks in a total distance of about 9000km and 176 mountain huts, refuges bivouacs. Mountain tracks are well marked. If you have a proper map and you follow the yellow-red marks, you’ll hardly miss your way.

The biggest achievements in Slovenian mountaineering:

- Valentin Stanič is considered as the first Slovenian alpinist and one of the pioneers of European alpinism. In 1800 he climbed Grossglockner (the highest mountain of Austria) one day after the first ascenders and installed the summit cross. Few weeks later he climbed Watzmann (the second highest mountain in Germany) as the first ascender. In the year 1808 he climbed Triglav and measured his real hight.

- First documented climb to Triglav happened in 1778. Four Brave Men climb it from Bohinj.

- In 1975 Marjan Manfreda and Stane Belak as first Slovenes stood on the mountain highest than 8000m. Marjan climbed it with no additional oxygen as the first man in the world.- First climb to Mt. Everest was in 1979.

- In 1998 Tomaž Humar performed 3. solo climb (or 1. solo by non American) of the route Reticent Wall (marked A4-A5) in El Capitan (Yosemite)

- In 2000 Davo Krničar became the first man in the world, who successfully made an interrupted descent on skies from the top of Mt. Everest to the base camp on 5350m

- In 2005 Tomaž Humar attempt to solo climb Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat. At about 7000m of hight he was stopped by bad weather and rescued by the famous helicopter action of the Pakistani air forces.

Vintgar
Bled1
Bled grad
Lakes of Austria and Slovenia Part 6

Aroud Kranjska gora

Zelenci is as natural park protected swamp with small emerald green lake 1.200m long and 200m wide. Source of Sava Dolinka river. Natural park is a living space of many rare and endangered animal species and plants. Area around Kranjska gora is the result of work of Planica glacier, once stretching from beneath Mt. Jalovec, Mt. Ponce and Mt. Mojstrovka. Zelenci is a remnant of once much larger Koren lake, damed by a debris of the glacier and filled by the water of melting glacier. Sava river after made its way through this dam, lowering the water level until only Zelenci and wetland around were left. Zelenci is considered the beginning and the second source of the longer of the two sources of the Sava, the longest Slovenian river at 221 km. Unique in Slovenia is that the porous chalk of the Zelenci lakebed permits a constant upwelling of groundwater in the form of tiny jets. The lake water has constant year-round temperature of 5–6 °C. From the lake, the water flows into a stream, which empties eastward into the marshland “Blata” (“Muds”). The actual riverbed of the Sava Dolinka begins at Podkoren by the slopes of Vitranc.

Planica is glacial U-shaped 7km long valley. Around 2.300m high mountains and ridges rise above the valley. In the middle part of the valley, under Ponce mountains are ski-jumping hills. Today there is a large construction site, new nordic centre with a hotel, cross-country skiing tracks and ski-jumping hills will be finished in the following years. Planica finishes with Tamar. Nadiža waterfall is first source of Sava Dolinka river. Soon after it goes undergraund and at Zelenci comes to light again.

History of ski-jumping in Slovenina officially starts with the first championship and record in 1921 in Bohinj with 9m long jump. Just before 1930 in Planica first jumping hill was built. This one was not built according to FIS standards. Soon after at Winter Sports Association came to idea to build a ski jump that will be built according to FIS standards. They were thinking about a ski jump, where would be possible to jump at least 100m. Bloudek ski jump was finished in 1934 and opened with national championship. New record was 92m. The firs man, jumped over 100m (101m) was Austrian Sepp Bradl in 1936. In 1950s higher ski jumps were built in Kulm and Oberstdorf. To bring an old glory back to Planica, new ski jump had to be built. Brothers Gorišek made all the projects for new flying hill, it was finished in 1969. In 1994 Toni Nieminen, Finland was the first man fly over 200m (203m). The longest jump in Planica is from 2005, Norvegian Bjorn Einar Romoren flew 239m. Present world record from 2011 is held by Norvegian Johan Remen Evensen, who jumped 246,5m). The longest jump in Planica is from 2005, Norvegian Bjorn Einar Romoren flew 239m. Present world record from 2011 is held by Norvegian Johan Remen Evensen, who in Vikersund jumped 246,5m. Slovenes too have a large collection of great results in the sport, gaining their first olympic medal (a team bronze) in 2002 in Salt Lake City. Slovene record holder is Robert Kranjec, who jumped 244m in 2012 in Vikersund.

In winter brave men on skis fly over this flying hill, in summer other and sometimes also the same brave men and women run up. Extreme race called Red Bull 400 is organized here. 400 means that the track is only 400m long, but you climb almost 200m. The fastest runners need about 5 minutes and 10 seconds to climb to the top. Using of your hands is almost necessary to finish the race.

The two Fusine Lakes in the Natural Park of Fusine lie in a glacial basin within the majestic limestone amphitheatre built by the Picco di Mezzodì, Mount Mangart and Ponza Grande. The Fusine Lakes are maybe among the most beautiful stretches of water in the region. The two lakes are divided by morainic ridges and are supplied by an unusual water system, partly underground. The Higher Lake is supplied by various streams coming down from the surrounding mountains. It lies 5 meters above the Lower Lake and its water slowly flows into the lower reservoir via underground waterways. The Lower Lake supplies the Rio del Lago, the only effluent of both lakes. A peculiarity of this area is the presence of many erratic blocks (huge rocks which have been moved by glaciers far away from their place of origin); the volume of the biggest one, Rock Pirona or Rodelffels, slightly exceeds 30,000 cubic metres. The lakes are surrounded by large forests of Norway spruce (some of them older than 150 years), silver fir and beech, inhabited by deer and roe deer, while chamois and ibexes live in the higher areas. In winter the valley Fusine, which is one of the coldest places in Italy, is crossed by two cross-country ski tracks.

Kranjska gora is the largest settlement in Upper Sava Valley and is due to ski jumping world cup and championship in Planica and Pokal Vitranc, world cup in slalom and giant slalom, most famous for its winter sports but is the heart of the valley in summer too.

Winters are long and cold with lot of snow, what old village people can tell us:

- the winter (from November to March) with the thickest snow cover was in the years 1869-70, together fell around 7m of snow

- at one time the most snow fell on 15.3.1909, 2,5mThe village started to develop only in 14. century.

Due to harsh winters cultivation of land was limited and it was not suitable for cereals growing. At that  time people started with deforestation of land mostly for stockbreeding. In 1870 the railway Ljubljana – Rateče – Tarvisio was opened and closed in 1966 (31.3. the last train). During the World War 1, Kranjska gora became important transportation hub in Austrian rear. Over the mountain pass Vršič (1611m) new road and cable car were built. Military used them for transportation of arms, military equipment and soldiers to the Soča front. Russian soldiers (prisoners of war) built Russian chapel for their deceased colleagues and friends, which died during the construction work and mainly die because of hard winter working conditions and snow slides. Tourism started to develop in the beginning of 20. century. In 1904 the first hotel in Kranjska gora – hotel Razor was built. Today you can enjoy various activities in the nature: hiking and trekking, cycling and mountainbiking, golf, horse riding, rock climbing, fishing, programs for children (Kekec home), summer sledding, alpine skiing, cross country skiing, ski touring, ice climbing, ski doo riding,…

But Kranjska gora also has old heart of the village, where people in 1848, when village got trading rights, traded their goods. On the square stands main church in Kranjska gora, church of  Assumption from 1510. Close to the centre by the main street stands Liznjek house (prototype of traditional house which were built unchanged to 19. century), once owned by the richest landowner of the village. It is wooden house built in 17. century, small stone house standing by is from 18. century.

Slovenia has a long history of skiing. Slovenes are skiing nation and I can say, that almost every Slovene stood on the skies at least once in his lifetime.

The oldest information about skiing is based on archaeological evidence. A wooden ski dating from about 6300 to 5000 BC was found about 1200km northeast of Moscow at Lake Sindor. The Kalvträskskidan ski, found in Sweden dates to 3300 BC, and the Vefsn Nordland ski, found in Norway is dated to 3200 BC. Rock drawings in Norway dated to 4000 BC depict a man on skis holding a stick. Norwegians were ambassadors of skiing and skies. Also the word ski comes from  Old Norse word “skíð” which means stick of wood or ski. At the beginning skies were used as a mean of transport. Norwegian immigrants used skis in the US midwest from around 1836. Norwegian immigrant “Snowshoe Thompson” transported mail by skiing across the Sierra Nevada between California and Nevada from 1856. In 1888 Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen and his team crossed the Greenland icecap on skis. Norwegian workers on the Buenos Aires – Valparaiso railway line introduced skiing in South America around 1890. In 1910 Roald Amundsen used skis on his South Pole Expedition. In 1902 the Norwegian consul in Kobe imported ski equipment and introduced skiing to the Japanese, motivated by the death of Japanese soldiers during snow storm.

Skiing as a sport developed only in 18. century. The first recorded organized skiing exercises and races are from military uses of skis in Norwegian and Swedish infantries.

First Slovenian skiers already existed as early as the 16. and 17. centuries. As a legend says, traditional Slovenian downhill skiing was born in the region of the Bloke plateau, a semi-forestall hilly land placed south-west of Ljubljana. Bloke skier is considered as a “prototype” skier of Slovenian modern skiing. Baron Janez Vajkard Valvasor (1641-1693) wrote precise reports on skiing activities in Slovenia. The skiing of Carniolan peasants was described in 1689 in the book Die Ehre Deß erzogthums Crain (The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola). Baron Janez Vajkart Valvazor was a nobleman, scholar, polymath, and member of the London Royal Society. Valvasor’s book is a description of Carniolan geography, nature, history, customs, and language.

Big boom of Slovenian skiing happened in 1980s with growing of international successes of Slovenian skiers. Alpine skiers, such as Bojan Križaj, Mateja Svet, Boris Strel, Rok Petrovič, Jure Franko and Nataša Bokal were the athletes who, by winning several World Ski Cup podiums and victories, small crystal globes for the season’s best runner in a particular ski discipline, World Championships podiums or titles and Olympic medals, materialized the myth of skiing as the Slovenian national sport. Bojan Križaj was the beginner of the successful Slovenian skiing story and one of the greatest legends of Slovenian skiing who was one of the greatest rivals of the legendary and almost unbeatable Swedish skier Ingemar Stenmark. In female world of skiing Mateja Svet was Slovenia’s most successful female alpine skier by far. As one of the world’s best female skiers, she was one of the greatest opponents of Swiss skier Vreni Schneider. Slovenian skiing fairy tale is still not ended. Just last season 2012-13 was all-time best season of Slovenian skiing. Tina Maze becomes one of the alpine skiing legends with a record breaking 2414 points in World cup season. She reaches the podium 24 times and in the meanwhile in Schaldming becomes Super-G champion in wins silver medals in giant slalom and super combined.

Planica
Lakes of Austria and Slovenia Part 5

From Lake Faak to Kranjska gora

Last few days we cycle through bilingual area with strong Slovene minority. After arriving here in 6. century they formed the centre of their culture at Zollfeld and settled also wide around the centre. They still live mostly close to the border with Slovenia and settle many villages between Bleiburg and Hermagor. On some traffic signs you can notice names of the villages in both German and Slovenia language. In 18. century here lived up to 95% Slovenes, today in some villages only a small number of them still live. After the collapse of Austrian-Hungarian empire at the end of WW1, there was a strong will of Austrian Slovenes to join Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Kingdom of SHS, precursor of Kingdom of Yugoslavia). After several military operations of Yugoslav army in present Carinthia, the issue was solved with plebiscite. There was strong propaganda from both sides, Austrian and Yugoslav, but at the end Austrian was stronger. The outcome of the plebiscite held on 10 October 1920, was 22,025 votes (59.1% of the total cast) in favor of adhesion to Austria and 15,279 (40.9%) in favour of annexation by the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. After the Austrian option had gained a majority of votes in predominantly Slovene Zone A, the second stage of the referendum in northern Zone B, populated chiefly by German speakers, was not carried out.

Above Gailtal rises 2166m high Dobrač. South side of the mountain, is completely cracked. In the year 1348 an earthquake turned life in a valley up side down. The earthquake was so intense, that part of Mt. Dobrač crushed in to the valley. 17 villages were covered by a material from the mountain and stemed river Gail, which raised into the huge lake. 10 villages were under the water. Later it has been discovered, that during the earthquake fell 900 mio cubic metres of the material, which covered around 30 sqm (7400 acres) north from Arnoldstein. When cycling under the mountain by the motorway you still can see the material from the mountain, where pine trees grow (they are acid-soil lovers). After the river found its way south again it left large area of swamp, which caused the soil became acidulous (reason for pine trees), and local farmers had to change agriculture for stockbreeding.

After leaving Arnoldstein, we join Alpe-Adria cycling path. In 410 kilometres it takes you from Salzburg (Austria) to Grado (Italy) on the Adriatic coast. We leave it at Tarvisio, where we turn to Kranjska gora.

Tarvisio is situated in the Canal Valley (Val Canale), between the Carnic Alps and Karawanks ranges in the north and the Julian Alps in the south. Located at the border with both Austria and Slovenia, Tarvisio and its neighbouring municipalities of Arnoldstein and Kranjska Gora form the tripoint of Romance, Germanic and Slavic cultures. The height west of the town centre marks the watershed between the Slizza creek, a tributary of the Gail River which is part of the Danube basin, and the Fella River, tributary of the Tagliamento discharging into the Adriatic Sea. As a place upon ancient trade routes across the Alps to Venice, Tarvisio’s roots date back to Roman times. Later a region had considerable importance because of nearby ore mines and ironworks, especially around the village of Fusine (Weißenfels/Bela Peč). Tarvisio remained a southern exclave of the Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg, until in 1758 the bishop finally sold Tarvisio to the Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. Until 1918 it was part of the Duchy of Carinthia, it received town privileges in 1909. For decades, in Tarvisio stopped huge number of Yugoslavs for shopping. The most popular were jeans trousers, leather jackets, rise and coffee. After Slovenian independence and entering European Union lot of shops were closed. Today, tourism and winter sports in the Karavanke, the Carnic Alps and the Julian Alps have become important industries. Tarvisio is known for its profound alpine snow which attracts many tourists for skiing and snowboarding, mainly schools. It was host to the 2003 Winter Universiade and the Women’s Alpine Skiing World Cup.

We end the day in Podkoren. The village is even older than Kranjska Gora. A paved medieval road led through the village which in the 15. century served as a connection between the countrysides of Carniola and Carinthia. A postal carriage brought inhabitants news from far off places across Korensko sedlo ( Korensko Saddle) during the era of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Until the year 1990 when the Karavanke tunnel was built,the road through the Korensko sedlo presented the main traffic connection with central and northern Europe. The region which hides the emerald Lake of Zelenci,the second source of the Sava River so inspired the English explorer Sir Humphrey Davy that he marked the surroundings of Podkoren with the words “my old nest”.

Wheee
Lakes of Austria and Slovenia Part 4

Velden and Lake Woerther

Just after crossing the channel of Drava we arrive to Frög, to Celtic world. Almost 3000 years ago the Celts buried their upper class dead persons in Megalithic mounds in the burial field around present museum, along with other precious belongings such as jewellery and weapons. On the site also an exclusive miniature lead carriage was found. Today there is a museum, where discover their lifestyle, the religious context and the society in which they lived. Just behind the hill in Rosegg is the largest ZOO in Carinthia. The ZOO is home to more than 400 animals, bisons, ibexes, lynxes, rare deer species and more. It is located within the ruins of an Old Rosegg castle. New Rosegg castle was built in 1772 by prince Orsini-Rosenberg for his Italian mistress Madame Lucrezia. With this castle he wanted to bring some Italian flair to the heart of Carinthia. Today the castle is inhabited by lifelike characters from the history of the castle. Close to the castle is the largest maze in Austria. Over 3000 hornbeam form an area of 1400 square metres, a hedge of one kilometre in length. Maze is a a classical element of garden design in England in 17. and 18. century. Velden is the largest and the busiest place on the lake (population 9000). Carinthia’s most fashionable resort, its villas and hotels encircle the western end of the lake. Near the jetty stands the Schloss (16. and 17. century), a Renaissance building with earl Baroque doorway (1603). It was extended in 1920 and is now a hotel surrounded by a park. The two storey building has hexagonal towers at each corner, with domes and turrets. At the end of the 16. century it was a favourite meeting place for the aristocracy. If you continue by the south shore of the lake you soon reach Maria Wörth. A first St. Mary’s Church was erected about 875 during the Christianization in former Carantania, led by the Bishops of Freising based at Innichen Abbey. It was first mentioned in a 894 deed as Maria Werd — as the site had then been an island, the Old High German term Wörth or Werder like Slovene Otok denotes a piece of land surrounded by water. The church served for the translation of the relics of Saints Primus and Felician and played an important role within the Christian mission in the Duchy of Carinthia. About 1150 Bishop Otto of Freising founded a college of canons here and had the small Winterkirche chapel built beside the collegiate church. Couple of kilometres further on is Reifnitz, where the annual GTI meeting brings together lovers of especially tuned Golf GTI models. On the main square of the town the Golf stone sculpure is the main attraction. Above Maria Wörth and Reifnitz is Pyramidenkogel, an 851-meter high mountain with a 54-meter high observation platform, the Pyramidenkogel Tower.

Velden Castle
Moto Faak
Faak1
Lakes of Austria and Slovenia Part 3

From Lake Ossiach to Lake Faak

Already from Ossiach lake you can see Landskron castle situated atop of a hill rising 135 metres above the plain. Actually as we ride towards Villach, we get really close to it. In 1351 it was mentioned in the documents for the first time. In the castle you can enjoy the Eagle show. All free flying birds were not taken from the nature, but they all originate from their own breeding program.

The highlight of the day is definitely old part of Villach (in Slovene Beljak). We enter the city taking the Drau river cycling path. Drau river cycling path starts at source of Drau river in Italy and it follows the river all the way to Maribor in Slovenia (366 kilometres). Villach is the second largest town in Carinthia. There was already a bridge and fortified camp here in Roman times. In 1007 the town passed into the control of the Bishops of Bamberg. Maria Theresa purchased it from the bishops in 1759 and it than became part of Austria. Villach is today one of the most important road and railway junctions in the Eastern Alps. Long Hauptplatz or Main Square, cutting across the middle of the old town, links the main bridge over the Drau at its northern and with the parish church at its southern end. Parish church of St. Jacob, on a terrace above the end of the square, is a three aisled Gothic hall church from 14. century with a narrow choir and 95 metres high tower with a splendid view to the city and surrounding mountains. Villach was a home town of  Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim, known as Paracelsus (1493-1541, born in Switzerland). He lived here from his early years. When he was 9 he moved to Villach with his father, who worked here as a doctor. Paracelsus was eminent physician, philosopher and religious thinker. He pioneered the use of chemicals and minerals in medicine. Humans must have certain balances of minerals in their bodies, and that certain illnesses of the body had chemicals remedies that could cure them. He also said, that all things are poison, and nothing is without poison; only the dose permits something not to be poisonous. Or simply, the dose makes the poison. 3 kilometres from the town in the southern outskirts lies spa of Warmbad Villach. The radioactive mineral springs, which have between 28 and 30°C, are recommended for the treatment of rheumatism, circulatory disorders and nervous diseases.

Lake Faak (in German Faak See ; in Slovene Baško jezero) is an alpine lake of glacial origin. With surface of about 2,2 square kilometres and maximal depth of nearly 30 metres is the state’s fifth largest lake and Austria’s southernmost swimming lake. Lake Faak is a popular vacation and bathing destination, known for its clear turquoise water. In spite of all that, Lake Faak is a site of the European Bike Week, honouring the legendary wild and loud Harley-Davidson motorcycles.  Five days and nights, 100.000 people celebrate the grand final of the European motorcycle season.

The story of Habsburgs starts in present Switzerland. They had the estates by the Ren river, in Alsace and by the Boden lake. Their name derives from Habichtsburg (Vulturish castle). Rudolf I. was the first from the family on the German throne. For almost 700 years they had an important role in European history. One of the most important names was Maria Theresa. She promulgated number of reforms mainly the administration to be more effective and  to collect more taxes. School children will never forget her. Every child aged between 6 and 12 had to learn to write, read and count. And we all will never forget her for her description of souls and house numbers. She and later her son Joseph II. wanted to know how many men, women and children live in the empire, how many of them is liable for military service, who has workshop or factory, who is farmer, owner or their employee. For better control they equipped every house with a number, house number. It was in Tyrol and Vorarlberg that the first house numbers in the Habsburg Monarchy were introduced in 1767. Within a few years the system had been extended to all the Austrian and Bohemian territories. The reasons for numbering houses had to do with taxation and the army: together with the census the system made it simpler to track down those who were liable for military service. Houses with Jewish residents had to be numbered in a special way, namely by using Roman and not Arabic numerals. This is just a short list of her reforms. The list is long.

Landskron
Villach
Faak
Lakes of Austria and Slovenia Part 2

From Klagenfurt to Lake Ossiach

Between Gerlitzen in the north and foothills of the Ossciacher Tauern in the south almost 11km2 large Lake Ossiach is nestled. During the summer months the surface water warms up to 24°C. Today many facilities in the villages around the lake offer numerous possibilities for recreation and with nature connected activities. The highlight of the lake is the Benedictine monastery on the south shore built in 1024. A total of 65 abbots presided over the monastery from the beginning of the 11. century until it was closed by the Emperor Joseph II in the year 1783. Since 1969, the Collegiate Church has provided a solemn yet festive setting for the “Carinthian Summer” concert series. The monastery is closely connected with Polish king Boleslav II. 

When the Polish monarchy was on the rise again and powerful enough its king Boleslaw II the Generous, who led the policy of independency from Holy Roman Empire, attacked Bohemia again. He refused any interference (arbitrage) of the Empire or King Henry IV (Holy Roman Emperor and King of Germany) to this conflict. He also refused to pay tributes to the Holy Roman Empire for Silesia. Henry IV prepared for a campaign against Poland. When Hildebrand of Sovana, enemy of King Henry IV, became Pope Gregory VII (1073), Boleslaw II saw an ally in him and commenced negotiations to obtain the royal crown. On Christmas Day of 1076 he gained the royal crown of Poland. Archbishop Bogumil crowned him in Gniezno Cathedral in the presence of a papal legate. Boleslaw new authority caused the Polish noblemen to rebel, as they were afraid of monarchy to grow to powerful and them to lose in the history gained power. In 1079 the conflict with the Polish nobles culminated into open revolt. It appears that Bishop Stanislaus was also involved in the opposition movement trying to remove the King Boleslaw II and replace him with his brother Wladyslaw Herman. Boleslaw II declared Stanislaus guilty of treason sentenced to death and executed - murdered at  celebration of a Mass. Boleslaw after he was banished from the county fled to his Hungarian hosts, where he was in 1081 or 1082 assassinated, probably poisoned.

According to the legend, he didn’t die in Hungary but later in monastery by Lake Ossiach. Legend says that on the way from Hungary to Rome, where he wanted to get the murder and outlawry off his chest, he stopped at Benidictine Abbey at Lake Ossiach to do the same. He was received and did all kind of hard work. He entered the monastery as silent penitent. Only just before dying, he told abbot who he was and gave the seal with Polish king’s coat-of-arms as an evidence. After his death, monks started to care for mute persons and make them to communicate with dumb show.

How coffee came to Vienna? By the legend, when Vienna was besieged by the Turks in 1683, Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki (Franz George Kolschitzky), born in present Ukraine, formerly an interpreter in the Turkish army, saved the city and gained for himself undying fame. It’s not known whether Turks brought beans of coffee in the first siege of Vienna in 1529 with, but it’s certain they did 154 years later in the second. Turkish vizier Kara Mustafa with an army of 300.000 men cut the city from the world, emperor Leopold escaped not far from Vienna, nearby was prince of Lorraine with an army of 33.000 Austrians and waiting for help promised by Jan Sobieski, king of Poland. Count Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg, in command of the forces in Vienna, called for volunteer to carry a message through the Turkish line to the Emperor’s army. He found Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki, who lived for many years among Turks and knew their language and customs. He had to swim four intervening arms of Danube several times. With his last crossing he brought back massage concerning the signals that the prince of Lorraine and King John would give from Mount Kahlenberg to indicate the beginning of the attack. Count Starhemberg was to make a sortie at the same time. The Turks were defeated. They left 25.000 tents, 10.000 oxen, 5.000 camels, 100.000 bushels of grain, a great quantity of gold and many sacks filled with coffee. At the time coffee was unknown to Vienna. The booty was distributed, but no one took the coffee. They didn’t know what to do with it. But Kulczycki knew what to do with it and every one was happy to get rid of it. Soon after he taught the Viennese the art of preparing coffee and established first public coffee shop, where Turkish coffee was served and helped popularize the custom of adding sugar and milk to the coffee. Melange is the typical Viennese coffee, which comes mixed with hot foamed milk and a glass of water. The Viennese have their “jause” every afternoon when they drink coffee at a Vienna café and have a “kipfel” with it. It was baked for the first time in 1683, when the Turks besieged the city. A baker made these crescent rolls in a spirit of defiance of the Turk. Holding sword in one hand and “kipfel” in the other, the Viennese showed they challenge the army of Mohammed IV. Vienna liked the coffee house so well that by 1839 there were eighty of them in the city and fifty more in the suburbs. Still today Vienna is filled with coffee houses where “zeitung doctors” (newspaper doctors) read their favourite newspaper and discuss their content and judgement. They use special racks for reading newspapers, so they hold and read it with one hand only and have a hand free to drink coffee.

Ossiach
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