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.

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.

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.

Bled grad
Lakes of Austria and Slovenia Part 7

From Kranjska gora to Bled

Today we pass towns, that are home towns of some world famous Slovenes, to you probably  mainly unknown, but some you might know. Mainly they are athletes. First we pass Mojstrana. From Mojstrana are Jure Košir, Alenka Dovžan and Martina Čufar. Jure Košir and Alenka Dovžan are former alpine skiers. Jure won 3 gold medals and additional 20 top 3 podiums, 18 of them at slalom. That’s all Italian Alberto Tomba let him to win (they were rivals almost all his career). Rock climber Martina Čufar stood 32. times on the podium in international competition and was once champion and once vice champion. Her the most difficult ascents are graded 8c in French grading or about 5.14b in Yosemite Decimal System. In the village close to Mojstrana lived and worked Jakob Aljaž, priest, poet and mountaineer. He became known by having built mountain huts around Triglav, which fostered the development of mountaineering in Slovenian Lands. His by far the most known constructions are Aljaž Tower built on the summit of Mt. Triglav and Aljaž Hut in Vrata Valley at the foot of it.

Hrušica is home town of Anže Kopitar – Kopi, Slovene professional hockey player, the first Slovene hockey player in NHL and 2012 Stanley Cup winner. He started his career playing for Acroni Jesenice. Jesenice is famous after at least two things: just mentioned hockey club and steel industry. Small streams on the slopes of the Karawanks were no longer sufficient. The ore-extracting industry moved to the valley to a larger water source Sava river in 1538 and creating a settlement that was to become Jesenice. In the golden years of iron production in Jesenice iron-works stretched through almost complete town.

From Jesenice was the world’s toughest and craziest athlete, endurance cyclist Jure Robič. Robič won the Race Across America (RAAM) 5 times (a record in the men’s solo category): in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010. He was in second place at the final time station in 2009 when he dropped out to protest time penalties he had received. Robič swore never to enter RAAM again, but changed his mind and came back and won again in 2010. During the 2004 Race Across America, it was reported that he had only eight hours of sleep during his eight-day, 2,958.5-mile (4,761.2km) ride across the United States. On 19 September 2004, Robič broke the world 24-hour road record by cycling 834.77 km (518.70mi).

Anton Janša was educated as a painter, but was employed as a teacher of apiculture at the Habsburg court in Vienna. He became famous for his lectures in which he demonstrated his knowledge of bees. He also wrote two books in German: Discussion on Bee-keeping (1771) and A Full guide to Bee-keeping (1775). In his Full guide he noted: Bees are a type of fly, hardworking, created by God to provide man with all needed honey and wax. Amongst all God’s beings there are none so hard working and useful to man with so little attention needed for its keep as the bee. The Empress Maria Theresa issued a decree after Janša’s death obliging all teachers of apiculture to use his books. In bee-keeping he is noted for changing the size and shape of hives to a form where they can be stacked together like blocks. As a painter he also decorated the fronts of hives with paintings. He advocated moving hives to pastures. Janša’s beehive in Breznica was preserved by Slovene bee-keepers and in 1884 a plaque was put on the house where he was born. The Museum of Apiculture in Radovljica is also named after him.

About 1km of our way is village Vrba, where our poet France Prešeren was born. In 1945, the anniversary of his death, called Prešeren Day, was declared as the Slovenian cultural holiday. In 1989, his Zdravljica (A toast) was declared the national anthem of Slovenia. In 1992, his effigy was portrayed on the Slovenian 1000 tolar banknote, and since 2007, his image is on the Slovenian two-euro coin.

Begunje is a home of the most successful music band in Slovenia, folk music group Ansambel bratov Avsenik (Brothers Avsenik Ensemble). They sold 31 mio records, they also have the world record in uninterrupted playing music – more than 300 evenings in the row. Brother Avsenik are also the most times played European compositors. Their composition Na Golici is the most times played instrumental composition in the world in 20. century. Just for comparison: Bruce Springsteen sold 120 mio albums; Depeche Mode, Green Day, Beyonce, Aretha Franklin sold 75 mio.

During the time of Nazi occupation Katzenstein Castle served as a Gestapo prison. In the years from 1941 to 1945, a total of 11.477 prisoners were interned, mostly followers of the resistance movement from Gorenjska region, as well as from other Slovenian regions. The former prison in the castle houses Museum of Hostages. In the park and nearby Draga valley are 667 burial sights of hostages and partisans.

In Begunje is also Elan factory and its shop. Elan is Slovenian ski producer with long history and many successes, achievements and awards. Their invention is also carving or sidecut ski. First real carving ski was SCX ski (Sidecut Extreme) and first descent on the race was made by Swedish skier Ingemar Stenmark in Austrian Sölden in 1988. They were 203cm long. After that slalom it took 10 years this skies to be used in racing competitions. In the USA (and to the world) the carving revolution (shaped or parabolic ski, as it was then called)  was introduced in the season 1994-1995 for the first time. The engine of promotion was Bill Irwin. He was the one who, after testing the skies, believed to the success of the skies. The start was not easy. Elan was just a small player on the huge market of this industry and with 7% of market share they couldn’t turn the trend. It’s interesting, that nobody noticed the potential of this change, until Rossignol presented his carving skies. In three years only (between 1995 and 1998) the number of skies sold increased from 18.000 to 210.000 pairs. But recently, they presented another innovation or revolution in skiing: Amphibio. Basically, these left and right skis have inside edges with a traditional camber (which result in excellent edge grip and power transfer), while the outside edges have a slightly rockered design, allowing easier turn initiation and flotation. Earlier previous decade, Elan introduced the concept of an all-in-one ski-binding system and, five years ago, the benefits of WaveFlex technology. (Think softer flex with torsional stability through the concept of corrugated strength.) Elan’s WaveFlex technology has been incorporated into all models of the Amphibio line.

Radovljica is medieval town, built on the glacial terrace above Sava river. The old part of the town forms main Linhart square with one row of mainly Gothic buildings on each side and on places preserved town wall. The square is named after Anton Tomaž Linhart, Carniolain playwright and historian. He is the author of the first comedy and theatrical play in Slovene, Županova Micka (Micka, the Mayor’s Daughter) and writer of a history of all Slovenes as a unit, rejecting the previous concept which focused on single historical provinces. The most prominent building on the square is Baroque Mansion house. The mansion today houses Beekepers Museum and Radovljica Municipal Museum.

On the main square you can also find restaurant Lectar. It is located in a house with more than 500 years of history and is in business for over 180 years. It was opened on the premises of an old chandlery and bakery known mostly for its lect or gingerbread hearts. This is how the restaurant got its name and trademark. Lectarstvo (producing gingerbread hearts) is an old and renowned traditional handicraft of Slovenia. The decorated pastry is made from honey dough and shaped either with a wooden or tin mould, or by hand.  During the Middle Ages, lect was popular with social elite in cities and squares, while in the countryside lect workshops appeared in the 19. century. In those times, these products were highly regarded as meaningful tokens of love.  The oldest preserved wooden mould dates back to the 16. century. Today, honey-bread products are precious souvenirs from Slovenia.

Lesce is a home town of another three around the world known persons. The first one is Iztok Čop, a Slovenian rower, winner of many medals from the most important world class races, an Olympic gold medallist and one of the best Slovenian athletes. The second one is Franci Petek, former ski jumper, winner of gold medal in the individual large hill. The third one is me.

Lake with an island and a church on it, castle raising above and a backdrop of high mountains and forests. That’s Bled. Due to it’s natural beauties it became one of the most popular resorts in Slovenia. Everything started in the middle of 19. century, when a Swiss doctor, Arnold Rikli, found the lake, when searching for the most appropriate place for perfect healing effect of the natural environment. Rikli proposed various therapies, mostly based on exposing the body to sun and air, called sun tanning, preferably done while naked. He is one of the forefathers of a movement called naturism today. The lake is just enough long, that rowing competitions can be organized there. Bled was a host to the World Rowing Championship already four times, in 1966, 1979, 1989 and 2011. Bled has three symbols and you should go for all three of them. The recipe for Cream cake was brought to the local Hotel Park in 1953 by Ištvan Kovačevič, chef of the hotel’s confectionery store. So far about 12 million cream cakes have been baked at the hotel’s patisserie since its invention. Main ingredients are puff pastry, vanilla and custard (a variety of culinary preparations based on a cooked mixture of milk or cream and egg yolk) cream. Traditional wooden horse carriage can take you for a ride around the lake or to the surrounding villages. And also wooden pletna boat can take you to the island.

As you might read somewhere, the lake is of glacial origin. Well, that’s not so. The true story goes like this: There, where today the lake is, a long time ago was no water, but a valley with small hill and huge rock atop. At a moonlight, mountain fairies gathered and danced. In the green valley and steep slopes of the hill, shepherds herded sheep. Sheep grazed all the grass, which grew around the rock. One day fairies got angry and threatened to shepherd-boys: „Make a fence around the rock, or we will.“ Shepherd-boys just laughed and continued taking cattle to pasture. Sheep grazed all the grass and one night the youngest and the prettiest made broke leg on a hard ground. Fairies revenged on boys for broken leg, call water to run down from the hills above to the valley and encircle the rock on the hill, so just the rock was above the water. That’s how fairies fenced the rock on the hill to dance undisturbed in the moonlight.

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.

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”.

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
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.

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.

Komunizem v baltskih državah 2. del
Od prvega trenutka, ko so zavzeli nove države, so komunisti začeli izločati člane različnih skupin, ki so jih zaprli v kampe za prisilno delo, prevzgojo ali takojšnjo usmrtitev. Začelo se je z dekozakifikacijo v Rusiji in Ukrajini pod Leninom, kasneje z dekulafikacijo v istih državah pod Stalinom. Med prvo sovjetsko okupacijo med 1940 in 1941 je Sovjetsko ljudsko sodišče obsodilo 179 ljudi na smrt, okoli 2200 so jih ubili brez sojenja. Večino je ubila tajna policija NKVD ali bataljoni za uničenje v zaporih Tartu in Kuressaare. Komunisti so 190 trupel skrili v vodnjaku na dvorišču policijske postaje. Nekaj desetletij kasneje, so na istem dvorišču posebej usposobljeni psi lajali proti Estoncem, ki so zahtevali svobodi in končanje komunističnega terorja. Med celotnim sovjetskim obdobjem je bilo prepovedano vsakršno pisanje in poročanje o komunističnih ubojih. Vendar pa je jeseni leta 1988 v javnost prišla novica očividca: „Kolikor vem, so samo tri ustrelili in jih skrili v vodnjak.”Vsi ostali so bili mučeni do smrti. Teh je bilo okoli 100. Nihče ne ve točne številke.” Metode mučenja so bile različne; enemu so odrezali ustnice, drugemu nos, jezik, ušesa,… Veliko jih je imelo poparjene noge, nekatri eno, drugi obe. Nekateri so imeli odstranjeno kožo, nekateri roke zvite na hrbet in zvezane z žico. Ženki so odrezali prsi. Bil sem tam, ko so trupla odstranjevali iz kleti. Prišlo je na tisoče ljudi, iskat svoje najbližje. Veliko jih je našlo. Teror, katerega so izvajali Sovjeti ni izviral v uporu ljudi Baltskih držav, kar so zatrjevali komunisti. Bilo je ravno obratno. Baltska gverila se je borila proti sovjetskim okupacijskim silam zaradi njihovega nasilja nad civilnim prebivalstvom. Jeseni 1939, skoraj leto dni pred okupacijo, je general Ivan Serov podpisal ukaz o množični deportaciji iz Baltskih držav. Proti sovjetski elementi so morali biti odstranjeni in poslani v sovjetske kampe. Med skupinami, ki so bile posebej omenjene so bile vse nekomunistične skupine (Socialni demokrati, socialisti,…), ljudje izključeni iz komunističnih organizacij, vojaki in člani Domače straže, višji vladni uradniki in diplomati, sodniki in tožilci, trgovci in lastniki velikih hiš in hotelov, ljudje, ki so bili zaposleni v tujih družbah ter drugi s stalnimi stiki s tujci, bližnji duhovnikov in tistih, ki so pobegnili na zahod. V 24 urah so iz Estonije deportirali 9250 oseb, iz Latvije 15081 in iz Litve okoli 13600. Skupaj okoli 38000 oseb. Tajna policija ni rabil razloga za aretacijo sredi noči. Družinski člani so morali slediti obtoženemu, tudi dojenčki, starejši in bolani. S tovornjaki so bili prepeljani na najbližjo železniško postajo. Tam so ločili moške od žensk in otrok. Pogosto je trajalo več dni preden so jih prepeljali v koncentracijska taborišča v Sibiriji. Sovjeti in komunisti so ta dejanja opravičevali na različne načine. Trdili so, da je nekomunistična oblas med obema vojnama preganjala komuniste. Tako je bilo edino pošteno ali vsaj logično in razumljivo, da v povračilo isto naredijo njim. Estonci so res leta 1924 aretirali 258 oseb, ki so hoteli odstaviti demokratično izvoljeno vlado. Trdili so tudi, da je države potrebno odstraniti vse anti-sovjetske elemente. Na dan, ko so se začele deportacije, je časopis Pravda objavil novico, ki jo je posredovala agencija TASS, da Nemčija načrtuje napad na SZ. Od vseh deportiranih je bilo samo 21,5% moških starih med 20 in 49, tistih, ki bi bili zares sposobni za boj. Načrt oblasti je bil vse prej kot boj proti anti-komunistov. Skozi celotno zgodovino, so bili Baltski Nemci smatrani kot zgodovinski sovražnik, ko pa so doživeli ta šok, so jih, potem, ko so jih okupirali Nemci, smatrali za osvoboditelje. Toda kmalu so se izkazali kot enako neusmiljeni kot komunisti. Med deportiranimi je bilo okoli 400 Judov. Judi so bili večkrat bolj preganjani kot druge skupine. V Estoniji je židovska populacija predstavljala 0,4% celotne populacije, toda 4% vseh deportiranih je bilo Židov. V Litvi jih je bilo 1/12 populacije in 1/5 vseh deportiranih. Prvi deportaciji naj bi sledili še druga in tretja. Druga je bila planirana mesec kasneje, julija 1941, vendar je bil prodor Nemcev tako hiter, da je bataljonom za uničenje ni uspelo začeti. Otok Saaremaa je Nemcem uspelo zavzeti kasneje, zato so Sovjeti tam že začeli z drugo deportacijo. Glede na dogajanje na otoku, naj bi bili 2. in 3. veliko bolj intenzivni in števičnejši. Eden od deprtirancev je bil mlad fant, ki je v dnevnik zabeležil vse, kar se je taborišču dogajalo vse do dneva leta 1944, ko mu je zmanjkalo papirja. Fanta in mati so ločili od očeta. Opisoval je vse, kar se je zgodilo v njegovem življenju tam. Kako so prijatelji eden za drugim umirali zaradi lakote, kako je nekdo ukradel kormpir in so ga za kazen zaprli v ječo, kako sta z materjo jedla juho iz kopriv,… Vsak tretji ali četrti zapis se je končal z vprašanjem: “Oče, kje si?” Med deprtiranimi je bilo 8 bivših predsednikov in 38 ministrov iz Estonije, 3 bivši predsedniki in 15 ministrov Latvije ter predsednik, 5 predsednikov vlad in 24 ministrov Litve. Med Nacistično okupacijo Baltskih držav je bilo ubitih okoli 6600 Estoncev, med njimi skoraj 1000 Židov in 243 Romov. Ubili so tudi več kot 36000 sovjetskih vojnih ujetnikov, ki so jih ujeli med boji za Estonijo. V Latviji je bilo ubitih okoli 80000 ljudi, od tega skoraj 70000 Židov, ki so ostali v državi. Komunistični in nacistični okupatorji so mobilizirali skoraj 250000Latvijcev, od tega jih je 100000 umrlo v bojih. V Litvi je bilo ubitih skoraj 100000 Židov. Delež židovskega prebivalstva je padel iz predvojnih 8% celotne populacije na 1%. Samo 20000 jih je preživelo holokaust. Pred drugo sovjetsko okupacijo jeseni 1944 je okoli 300.000 Baltov pobegnilo na Zahod. Večina Estoncev jih je šla preko morja na Švedsko in Finsko, večina Litvancev in Latvijcev pa v Nemčijo. Na tisoče so jih države poslale nazaj v okupirano domovino. Protikomunistična gverilska vojna v Litvi je bila najdaljša in najbolj razširjena v povojni Evropi. Vendar je malkdo izven Litve vedel zanjo. Sovjeti so v proti-gverilskem boju ubili okoli 25.000 Litvancev. Da bi končali gverilsko vojno so Sovjeto maja 1948 več kot 41.000 Litvancev deportirali. Marca 1949 se je zgodba predvojnih deportacij začela ponavljati. Skupno število žrtev komunistične represije je bil naslednji: Skoraj 192.000 ljudi arteiranih, usmrčenih ali deportiranih v Latviji, kar je okoli 15% populacije leta 1959. Številka je verjetno višja, saj aretacije in deportacije v začetnih letih okupacije niso štete.Okoli 360.000 žrtev je bilo v Litvi. V Estoniji okoli 130.000 umrlih, 80.000 mobiliziranih ali evakuiranih in poslanih v Rusijo, 70.000 ljudi, ki so živeli na področjih, ki so bili ločeni od Estonije in priključeni Rusiji. Medtem, ko je bilo veliko Estoncev, Latvijcev in Litvancev deportiranih, se je v te države priselilo veliko Rusov, Belorusov in Ukrajincev, verjetno proti svoji volji. Posledica je bila močno zmanjšanje domače populacije. Leta 1938 je bilo v Estoniji 93% vse populacije estonske; 60 let kasneje je delež padel na 60%. Nobena druga evropska država ni doživela takšne izgube domače populacije kot Estonija. Do 1990ih še niso dosegli predokupacijskega števila Estoncev. Za čas komunizma je morala sprejeto več kot 7 mio imigrantov, večinoma Rusov, ki se nikoli niso vživeli v družbo, niti se niso naučili jezika. Situacija v Latviji se v veliki meri ni razlikovala od estonske. V začetku 1990ih je v Latviji živelo 100.000 Latvijcev manj kot pred 2. svetovno vojno. Delež Latvijcev se je zmanjšal iz 82 na 52%. V Rigi vsak tretji meščan ni bil Latvijec, v drugem največjem mesti Daugavpils pa samo vsak osmi.