Archive for June, 2014

Lakes of Austria and Slovenia (part 2)

Maria Saal and Lake Ossiach

East from Maria Saal, Roman city of Virunum stood on the hill Magdalensberg. After the arrival of Slovenes, they settled close to the Roman town and used their legacy to build new settlement. Many stones from Virunum can be seen in the church Assumption of Maria in Maria Saal, Duke’s chair, coronation stone etc. Maria Saal (Slovene: Gospa sveta) and Karnburg (Slovene: Krnski grad) were two important towns in early Slovenian history from second half of 7. century. Maria Saal with the church was religious and Karnburg with the castle and Prince’s Stone (which in fact was a base of an ancient Roman Ionic column) administrative centre of Slavic principality of Carantania, which about 740 was vassalized by Duke Odilo of Bavaria. With Bavaria a part of the Carolingian Empire under Charlemagne from 788 onwards, a Kaiserpfalz at Karnburg was erected about 830. It remained the administrative center after the Duchy of Carinthia had been split of Bavaria in 976.. The density of Slovenian settlement was the most densely populated on Zollfeld (Slovene: Gosposvetsko polje). Zollfeld kept the character and role of political and later also spiritual centre of the state.

Maria Saal

Maria Saal

Duke’s Chair

Duke’s Chair

Freilichtmuseum or Open-Air Museum is the oldest museum of its kind in Austria. The museum comprises of traditional farmhouses and yards of varying architectural design. The houses have been relocated to the museum from different parts of the country. There you can see flourmill, sawmill, a traditional method of making charcoal and lime kiln.

Open Air Museum

Open Air Museum

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. Historians say, after he murdered Krakow bishop St. Stanislaus, which criticized his life style, he escaped to Hungary and in 1081 died. 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 Lake Ossiach monastery to do the same. 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.

In 1970′s Günther Domenig began to build a house for himself on a narrow sliver of lakeside property. He conceived it as a work of architecture limited only by his imagination and skill. The structure grew year by year, following ever-evolving set of sketches and technical drawings and was financed from his own architectural practice in Graz. When he had some extra money, he put it into the construction. On October 5, 2008 the Stonehouse was officially declared complete.

Stone House

Stone House

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 ppromised 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.

Lakes of Austria and Slovenia (part 1)

Klagenfurt and Wörthersee

Klagenfurt is a capital of Austrian province  Corinthia. With about 100.000 inhabitants is the sixth largest in Austria. The city is situated in Klagenfurt basin close to Wörthersee on the river Glan.

By the legend the city was built by brave men. It was in the time when duke Karast ruled from Karnburg Castle. The complete area between Wörthersee and Drau river was covered in damp moss, bushes and trees. Everybody who dared to go there never returned. Sometimes even cows, which grazed there, disappeared with no trace. Nobody ever saw the beast hiding in swamp and fog, only a snarl or howl could be heard from there. The Duke requested his bravest men to find this monster and kill it. The prize for slaughtering the monster was high and alluring: receiving the tower with the land, where this monster lives and whole land from river Glan and river Drau. If the man is a slave, he will be set free. A strong observation tower was soon erected on the edge of the swamp. A bull was tied to a chain and a hook was attached to it. Soon after swamp begun to bubble, water became rough. Winged monster jumped out of the water, grabbed frightened animal and tried to dip back into the swamp. It couldn’t. The hook has stuck in its muzzle. At this point brave men jumped and slaughtered the beast with cudgels and axes. Soon after everything was over and country was safe from the monster. A peace-loving village grew on the spot where the fight against the Lindwurm took place and the Duke built a castle where the tower was once situated. Over the centuries this castle and tower developed into a town, the current capital of the region, the attractive and pleasant city of Klagenfurt.

From a historical point of view the city was founded by duke Bernhard von Speinheim in 13th century. His statue stands on Dr. Arthur Lemisch Platz.

Dragon Lindwurm is today a symbol of the city and it has found its place on the New Square. On the other side of the square the statue of Austrian empress Maria Theresa stands. Today we remember her after reforms she implemented to strengthen Austria’s military and bureaucratic efficiency. One of the reforms was also reform of education system. In new school system every child from the ages of six to twelve had to attend school.

Lindwurm on New Square

Lindwurm on New Square

Taking Kramergasse, the first pedestrian zone closed for traffic in Austria, you come to the Old Square. On Kramergasse you pass by The little man of the lake Wörthersee. Once upon a time on the place of present Wörthersee there was a splendind, big and rich town. On the eve of Easter they were celebrating a feast with dance, music and lot of drinks. Suddenly the door of the hall opened and a little man entered, reminded them about the feast and threatened with punishment if they don’t end this embarrassing drinking immediately. But all people laughed about the old man. Soon after he appeared again, nobody listened to him, all laughed again to him. He opened the spigot of a small barrel he was carrying with him. A terrible thunderstorm begun and endless floods of water covered the city together with its inhabitants. The city was devastated. Still today at the south bank of lake Wörthersee at Maiernigg you can hear bells of this sunken city ringing.

Little man of lake Worther

Little man of lake Worther

The core of the oldest part of Klagenfurt is the long street known as Alter Platz or Old Square surrounded by many Baroque buildings. Among these is Old Town Hall (built around 1600) with three-storied arcaded courtyard. Its notable features include the arcaded courtyard and the coat of arms of the Rosenberg family above the main entrance as well as Fromiller’s painting of Justitia, the goddess of justice, with the coat of arms of Klagenfurt and Carinthia. Trinity column was originally made of wood and standing on Heiligengeistplatz. After victory over the Turks at Vienna in 1683, a half-moon and cross were added. In 1965 it was relocated to Alter Platz.

Close to New Square and Old Square is another for Klagenfurt significant square Landhaushof. Probably more significant from the square is the building encircling the square. Landhaus was commissioned by the Estates and built by Freymann and Verda between 1574 and 1594. It replaced the town’s first castle.The coat-of-arms hall has 665 coats of arms of the Carinthian Provincial Estates, provincial governors, members of the cathedral chapter and provincial administrators.

And for the end something sweet. Strudel is most often associated with Austrian cuisine, but is also a traditional pastry in the area formerly belonging to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It is true that it gained international success via the Viennese cuisine, but the origin of the apple strudel is to be found in what was known as “the Orient”. When the Turks occupied Hungary, the Hungarians got to know the strudel which then became quite popular in Hungary. From there the strudel found its way into the Viennese cuisine. The oldest known Strudel recipe is from 1696, a handwritten recipe housed at the Wiener Stadtbibliothek.

Praga

V petek zvečer smo se zbrali pred Halo Tivoli in smo odšli. Ustavili smo se še v Celju in Mriboru, zapolnili avtobus skoraj do zadnjega sedeža in odšli na 3 dni dolgo potepanje po Češki. Program je bil sledeč:

1. dan: Odhod
2. dan: Novo in Staro mesto
3. dan: Grad, Mala stran, Višegrad
4. dan: Češke Budejovice, Češki Krumlov

Pa smo šli. Pot nas je vodila preko Graza in mimo Dunaja. V Znojmu smo prečkali Avstrijsko – Češko mejo ter nadaljevali skozi Jihlavo do Prage. Bili smo precej zgodnji. Začeli smo na Trgu Republike. Prav tam, kjer se je včasih začela Kraljeva pot ob kronanju na Grad. Skozi Smodniška vrata vstopimo v srednjeveški del mesta. Smodniška vrata so bila ena od sedmih srednjeveških vhodov v Staro mesto. Uporabljeno je bilo tudi kot skladišče smodinka in od tu tudi ime stolpa. Nadaljujemo po Celetni ulici, ki je ena najstarejših v Pragi in bila včasih ena pomembnejših. Pot je prihajala iz vzhodne Bohemije, povezovala pa je tudi Prašni stolp s trgom. Pred deveto smo bili že na Staromestnem trgu. Zgodnja ura se je obrestovala, kajti na trgu smo bili skoraj sami. Trg obkrožajo nekatere imenitne zgradbe:

  • Cerkev sv. Nikolaja, ki je bila župnijska cerkev do izgradnje Tynske cerkve v 14. stol. V hiši za cerkvijo se je rodil Franz Kafka.
  • Palača Kinsky z rokokojsko fasado ob vzhodnem robu trga. Iz balkona te palače je leta 1948 Gottwald naznanil zmago komunizma.
  • Hiša pri kamnitem zvonu, pri kateri je bila ob renovaciji odkrita gotska osnova, zato je bila namesto v rokokojskem stilu prenovljena v gotskem. Na vogalu je kamniti zvon.
  • Tynska cerkev, ki z dvema zvonikoma dominira trgu. Zgrajena je bila v 14. stol. in je bila v času od 15. stol. do 1620 glavna cerkev husističnega gibanja.
  • Mestna hiša, ena najpopularnejših zgradb v Pragi. Zgrajena v 14. stol., danes je sestavljena iz niza gotskih in renesančnih zgradb. Stolp je bil dodan nekaj let kasneje. Leta 1945 so Nemci porušili severno-vzhodni del. Danes je na tem mestu park. Ena najbolj zanimivih stvari na stolpu je astrološka ura. Je delo mojstra Hanuša, ki ga, ko izpopolni mehanizem, mestni očetje oslepijo. Iz maščevanja v mehanizem porine jekleno plaico in uro ustavi za 80 let. Vsako polno uro si lahko ogledamo predstavo enajstih apostolov in sv. Pavla, ki sledijo sv. Petru. Figura smrti potegne vrv, odpreta se dve okni. Poleg smrti so v proces udeleženi še Turek, ki predstavlja poželenje, Domišljavost, ki se gleda v ogledalo in Pohlep, ki ga predstavlja srednjeveški židovski posojevalec denarja. Ura kaže tri različne čase: na zunanjem krogu z arabskimi številkami se meri star bohemski čas, v katerem je 24 ur dneva preračunanih od sončnega zahoda; naš čas v modrem delu z rimskimi številkami in modri del, ki meri babilonski čas, ki vidni del dneva s sončno svetlobo razdeli na 12 delov, katerih dolžina je različna glede na letni čas. Poleg tega prikazuje tudi 12 astroloških znamenj. Spodaj so prikazana opravila bohemskega kmeta skozi celo leto. Na sredini je grb Starega mesta, danes Prage.
  • Na sredini trga stoji še spomenik Janu Husu, začetniku husitskega gibanja. Leta 1415 je bil spoznan za krivoverca in zažgan na garmadi. Protestantsko gibanje se začne šele po njegovi smrti.

Praga 017 Soncna ura

Nadaljujemo v židovsko četrt Jozefov. Poimenovana po Jožefu, avstrijskem cesarju, ki je dal židom versko svobodo. V Jozefovem smo videli:

  • Staro – nova sinagoga, ki je bila osrčje židovskega geta, zgrajena 13. stol. Je najstarejša tovrstna zgradba severno od Alp in ena prvih gotskih v Pragi.
  • Visoka sinagoga in Židovska mestna hiša iz 16. stol., zgrajeni z denarjem župana Maisla. Stolp z uro na strehi, ki naj bi ga imela vsaka mestna hiša, je bil zgrajen šele potem, ko so dobili dovoljenje praških oblastnikov za to. Dovoljenje pa so dobili potem, ko so sodelovali pri obrambi Starega mesta pred Švedi na Karlovem mostu leta 1648. Na čelu zgradbe pa je še ena ura s hebrejskimi znaki, katere kazalci se obračajo v nasprotno smer, kot smo vajeni mi.
  • Klausnova sinagoga, ki je zrasla na mestu židovske šole in molilnic.
  • Židovsko pokopališče z 12.000 poševnimi nagrobnimi kamni. Ker je bilo mesto prostorsko zelo omejeno in prav tako pokopališče, so kmalu začeli pokopavati trupla enega na drugega. Ponekod jih je lahko tudi po 12 na enem mestu. V 300 letih so pokopali med 80.000 in 100.000 ljudi. Hitler ga je hotel pustiti kot spomenik izginuli rasi.

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Vrnili smo se na Staromestni trg, kjer je bila pisarna turističnih informacij že odprta. Vzeli smo nekaj kart mesta, se orientirali ter nadaljevali proti Novemu mestu, Vaclavskemu trgu. Med potjo smo od daleč pogledali Stavovske divadlo – gledališče, v katerem je bila premiera Mozartovega Don Giovanija. Za njim stoji še Karolinum, Karlova univerza, najstarejša v Centralni Evropi. Novo mesto je bilo zgrajeno med vladavino Karla IV., skrbno načrtovano okoli treh pomembnih trgov: trga sena (Senovažne namesti), trga živine (Karlove namesti) in konjskega trga (Vaclavske namesti). Zgrajen je bil, da poveže Višegrad s Starim mestom ter da postane glavno mesto Svetega rimskega imperija. Danes je Vaclavski trg eden pomembnejših v Pragi, sigurno pa je ekonomsko središče mesta. Ob koncu 19. in v 20. stol. je bil popolnoma prenovlje. Na Vaclavskem trgu imamo:

  • Spomenik sv. Vaclavu, zaščitniku Prage, Češke, Moravske in Slovaške. V bližini spomenika je tudi spominska plošča Janu Palachu, ki se je leta 1969, v protest proti Sovjetski nadvladi, zažgal.
  • Narodni muzej, ki s svojo pozlačeno kupolo krona trg. Neorenesančna zgradba je bila v času gibanja za svobodo poleg Narodnega gledališča ponos Češke. Muzej gosti minerološke, arheološke, antropološke, numizmatiče…. zbirke.
  • Trg obkrožajo tudi nekatere stavbe moderne arhitekture: Grand hotel Evropa, rumena secesijska zgradba; Bata in Lindt v steklu; hotel Jalta v sovjetskem slogu…

Pri tramvaju smo naš sprehod po tem delu mesta zaključili. Sledilo je nekaj prostega časa za menjavo denarja, počitek, malico ali….pivo.

Naslednji dan je bil naš cilj Grad velika želja obiskati notranjost katedrale sv. Vida. Če smo jo hoteli vstopiti vanjo brez dolgotrajnega čakanja, smo morali biti tam ob devetih. Zopet se je zgodnja ura obrestovala, kajti tam smo bili med prvimi in seveda brez težav vstopili in si ogledali notranjost. Za začetek zakladnico katedrale, seveda samo od zunaj, saj je zaklenjena s sedmimi ključavnicami (vem, da v knjigi piše drugače); Kraljevi mavzolej z grobnico Ferdinanda I., njegove žene Ane in sina Maksimiljana II.; obarvano steklo z motivom prihoda Cirila in Metoda v Prago (naslikal Mucha); lesena reliefa Prage – prvi prikazuje Karlov most, Malo stran in del gradu po bitki na Beli gori 1620, drugi pa hrib Petrin; stranske kapele z grobnicami čeških kraljev iz družine Premysl; srebrna grobnica in kapela sv. Janeza Nepomuka, ki je bil po sporu s kraljem vržen iz Karlovega mostu; Kapela sv. Vaclava z grobnico ter nad njo kraljeva zakladnica z dragulji krone. Povzpeli smo se po več kot 200 stopnicah na vrh stolpa, od koder smo bili deležni izvrstnega razgleda na Prago. Vrnili smo se pred grad in začeli s sprehodom skozi grad, skozi južne vrtove ter po Nerudovi ulici do Karlovega mosta.

Hradčanski trg: Trg, ki stoji pred glavnim vhodom v grad. Tam stoji Nadškofijska palača, zgrajena po husitskih vojnah kot nadomestek podrti palači v Mali strni; renesančna Schwarzenbergova palača z zgrafito fasado, danes je v njej Muzej vojaške zgodovine z orožjem in uniformami od časa prihoda prvih Slovanov na to področje in kip Tomaša Masaryka, prvega predsednika Češkoslovaške republike. Žal ni bilo časa, da bi si ogledali še Kraljevi vrt z bivšo jahalno šolo, Pojočo fontano, dvorano za igre z žogo in letno hišo kraljice Ane.

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V zgornjem delu Hradčanov so še palača Černin, danes Ministrstvo za zunanje zadeve, leta 1948 je zunanji minister Jan Masaryk med pobegom tajni policiji skočil iz okna kopalnice; Loreto, ki je bil zgrajen po porazu protestantov za promocijo katoliške vere in legende o Sveti hiši; spomenik Edvardu Benešu, zunanjemu ministru, predsedniku vlade in predsedniku republike, poznan je bil po Benešovih dekretih, ki jih je izdal po drugi svetovni vojni; samostan Strahov z največjo samostansko knjižnico na Češkem.

Pa še grad znotraj grajskega obzidja: Kar vidimo iz trga je bilo zgrajeno v času Marije Terezije, originalna baročna so samo Matijeva vrata, ki vodijo na drugo dvorišče. Desno je Predsedniška palača, levo Galerija praškega gradu in Španska dvorana. Drugo dvorišče je bilo dolgo časa obrambni jarek, kapela sv. Križa pa zakladnica katedrale. Danes v njej prodajajo vstopnice. Na tretjem dvorišču imamo katedralo sv. Vida, Kraljevo palačo (danes v njej lahko vidimo zgodbo o praškem gradu), obelisk, kip sv. Jurija in Bikovski baldahin s prehodom na južne vrtove. Polovica katedrale je bila zgrajena v 14. stol. polovica pa v 19. stol. Stolp je začel graditi Karl IV., dokončal pa ga je Rudolf II. okoli 250 let kasneje. Naprej na trgu sv. Jurija se nahajajo še Bazilika sv. Jurija (v njej so pokopani princi iz družine Premisl), samostan sv. Jurija, nižje v Ulici sv. Jurija pa še Lobkoviceva palača in Muzej igrač. V tem delu je tudi Zlata ulica z Daliborjevim stolpom (poimenovan po prvem zaporniku Daliborju, ki se je med čakanjem na izvršitev smrtne obsodbe naučil igrati violino), vendar je nismo obiskali. Vrnili smo se na tretje dvorišče, odkoder smo se pod Bikovskim baldahinom spustili na Vrt na okopih. Tam sta dva obeliska v spomin dvema svetnikoma, ki so ju v 1618 protestanti vrgli skozi okno. Iz Vrta na okopih pridemo do Rajskega vrta ter od tam zapustimo grad. Velik pečat gradu je pustil tudi arhitekt Jože Plečnik. Njegovi so Vrt na bastiji; tlaki in drogovi za zastave na prvem dvorišču; tlaki, obelisk, Bikovski baldahin in podstavek kipa sv. Jurija z bazenčkom na tretjem dvorišču; stopnišče med tretjim dvoriščem in Vrtom na okopih; Vrt na okopih in Rajski vrt s stopnicami, manjka pa obelisk padlim legionarjem z večnim ognjem. Njegova je tudi notranjost Predsedniške palače, vendar pa to ni na ogled.

Nadaljevali smo navzdol po Nerudovi ulici mimo Malostranskega trga in cerkve sv. Nikolaja proti Karlovemu mosti. Ko pridemo do Karlovega mosta se je kolona naenkrat ustavila in se nekaj časa ni premaknila. Ker sse nam je že nekoliko mudilo, smo se spustili na otok Kampa, pogledali kako visoko je bil nivo vode v poplavah leta 2002. Nadaljevali smo mimo palače Wallenstein čez Manesuv most, mimo Rudolfinuma do pristanišča z našo ladjo. Kosilo na ladji je bilo odlično, razgled na Prago iz nje pa fantastičen. Po dveh urah vožnje gor in dol po Vltavi nas je čakal samo še sprehod mimo staromestnega stolpa Karlovega mostu do Staromestnega trga. Poleg Karlovega mosta na staromestni strani stoji tudi kip Karla IV. Sledijo nakupi v Tescu in ponovno hidriranje s pivom.

Za konec dneva smo se oglasili še na Višegradu. Skozi Taborna vrata, mimo vrat Špička in skozi Leopoldova vrata smo vstopili v utrdbo. Takoj za vhodom nas je pričakala rotunda sv. Martina, najstarejša še stoječa zgradba v Pragi. Iz obzidja smo videli most avtoceste, skozi katerega poteka tudi podzemna železnica. Od Opečnatih vrat na levo in desno stran je vhod v Kasemate, podzemni hodnik pod obzidjem gradu. Višegradu dominira neogotska cerkev sv. Petra in Pavla, zraven v parku so kipi oseb iz češke zgodovine, med njimi tudi Libuše, ki je prerokovala ustanovitev Prage ter njen orač Premisl. Za cerkvijo je še pokopališče slavnih Pražanov, v Slavinu so pokopani tisti najbolj pomembni in zaslužni. Na poti nazaj smo se ustavili še pri cerkvi Srca gospodovega, ki je največje Plečnikovo delo v Pragi.

Zadnji dan med potjo domov, smo se ustavili še v Čeških Budejovicah, kjer smo se sprehodili do glavnega trga, trga Otokarja II. in v Češkem Krumlovu, kjer smo šli skozi mesto, čez trg Svornosti na grad. Trg Otokarja II. v Budejovicah obkrožajo gotske, renesančne in baročne zgradbe, še posebej izstopajo Mestna hiša, hiša Čebela, Črni stolp in katedrala sv. Nikolaja, nekoliko izven trga pa je Masne krany, včasih mesarija in prodajalna kruha, danes pa restavracija. Bolj simpatično in seveda posledično tudi bolj turistično mesto je Češki Krumlov. Mesto zgrajeno v kljuki, ki jo je naredila Vltava. Drugi del mesta je čez most pod gradom ob ulici Latran. Sprehodili smo se skozi mesto do glavnega trga, Trga Svornosti kjer stoji steber v spomin na kugo v 17. stol. Čez most po ulici Latran na prvo dvorišče gradu. Dvorišče sicer izgleda bolj kot vrt. Kako da ne, saj je bil to včasih predel gradu, kjer so živeli obrtniki in kmetje. Tam imamo skladišče soli, lekarno, pivovarno, bolnišnico, hlev in medvedji jarek s tremi medvedi. Čez kamniti most pridemo na drugo dvorišče. Tam so Mali grad kot najstarejši del gradu, stolp, hiša okrajne administracije, kovnica denarja in mlekarna. Okoli tretjega in četrtega dvorišča so rezidenčna poslopja lastnikov posestev in gradu. Še čez pokriti most in že smo skoraj v parku, ki je res veličasten. Park s šolo jahanja, rastlinjakom, Kaskadnim vodnjakom, letnim gledališčem in letno hišo.

Walk through Piran

Name Piran comes from PYROS or PYR, Greek word for fire or light house, originally light was here to navigate boats to Koper.

The ancient town with narrow streets. With its 5.000 inhabitants (12 churches and 2 priests), Piran is the best preserved old town on the Slovene coast, and is protected as an urban, cultural and historic monument. Narrow streets make Piran’s traffic impossible. Parking places are outside old part of the town. Town centre is open only for locals and supplying.

Settlement was founded by refugees from Aquilea, after the town was destroyed in 5. century by Atila the Hun. Some documents from 7. century are saying, that on the site of today’s Piran was fort under Byzantine administration. Town wall was originally only around Punta. At the end of 13. century Piran came under Venetian rule. Town started to grow to east. Port Campo (Field gate) in 15. century and Marčano in early 16. century still inside the town wall. Danger of attacks by Turks army was still big. During 16. and 17. century growth was continued outside the town wall toward Portorož. Wall was ruined in early 20. century. Of original 2 km long wall, today still stands about 200 metres long stretch.

Citizens lived mostly from maritime trade, fishing and salt-works. They had salt-works around Lucija, Sečovlje and Strunjan. Venetian rule lasted from 1283 to 1797, after was under Hapsburg’s rule. After World War 2 was as Koper in Zone B, joined to Slovenia in 1954.

You need to park your car outside the old town. You can take a bus, which stops at the entrance to the garage, or you can take 15 minutes long walk to Tartini square. I think is it is worth of spending time and shoes and walk narrow streets to the square. The way takes you to the bus station and just after the station a pedestrian  street turns to the right. Just go straight, pass an old Marcana Gate to the town. The street takes you directly to Tartini square.

  • Tartini square: On the place of the square was until 1894 a harbour for the fishing boats of Piran. In 1894 it was filled in because of the bad smell and health reasons. It used to be outside the town wall. Buildings around the square are built in different styles. From Venetian Gothic to Vienna Classicism. On the middle of the square is statue of Giusepe Tartini, Italian violinist and composer, born in 1692 in a house on North-East side of the square. He lived and worked in the shadow of Vivaldi, just like Solieri lived and worked in the shadow of Mozart. Important buildings and structures around the square are: stone flag poles, Court House, Town Hall, Loggia, Polish gate, Venetian house, Tartini house, and church of St. Peter. Close to the square is also Sergej Mašera Museum and Aquarium. From the square on the top of the hill you can see church of St. George. See the angel at the top of the campanile, how it follows a wind direction.
  • Town hall: When the Venetians came to Piran at the endo of 13. century, they built the Town Hall building outside the town walls just close to the harbour. It was built in the Roman-Gothic style with lot of inscriptions and coats of arms on the facade. In 1877 it was demolished and built a new one.  New Town Hall was built in Vienna style, Vienna Classicism. Number of ornaments are built in to the facade from the old building. Lion with an open book, coats of arms,…
  • Venetian house: Red house built in 15. century, the oldest preserved house on Tartini square. The most beautiful example of Venetian architecture in Piran. Windows and corner balcony are the most impressive. Between the windows on the second floor there is a stone relief with the inscription: LASA PUR DIR…let them talk. According to the legend the house was built by a rich  Venetian merchant. In the time when Piran was part of Venetian Republic and the maritime trade was flourishing, big number of merchants came to Piran. One day a wealthy merchant from Venice fell in love with a local girl. Locals started to talk about their love and life. But he wanted to show his beloved the power of his love and built her a house. With the inscription “let them talk” he showed to the locals how he doesn’t care about their gossips.

Continue passing the Venetian house. Across the street is Loggia and the Polish Gate. Turn left up the hill.  Soon you’ll come to one of the remains of the town wall.

  • City wall: The oldest town centre was built in 7. century. It was situated close to the end of peninsula. As the town expanded outside the town wall, town had to move the wall towards south-east. In the final phase of the expansion at the beginning of 16. century, the so called third town wall was built. The largest part of the wall was built in 15. and 16. century. Total length was about 200 meters, today left only 200 meters of wall.

Before the town wall turn to the left to the church of St. George.

  • Church of St. George (Jurij): First you pass octagonal baptistery from 17. century and the last building of the new church complex. Bell tower is from 17. century, very fine copy of Venetian Campanile, atop is statue of angel, which is turning according to the wind direction. First church was probably built in 12. century. Before the first church church was built here, here was a Roman light house, showing direction to Koper. To the present size it was built in 14. century. Today’s  church is a baroque church from early 17. century. Richly ornamented church has flat wooden ceiling. Interesting is wooden sculpture of St. George in a battle with dragon. Walk behind the church and admire a view to Strunjan, Debeli rtič and Trieste.

Walk down the stairs through narrow streets to Punta and 1. May Square.

  • Punta is original core of the historic town. Narrow streets, rectangular network of streets are definitely worth of visit.
  • 1. May square: until 13. century main square in the town. On the square are 2 wells, standing on a big platform from 18. century. They were built to solve the problem with public supply with water, after few drought. Two statues: law and justice. In middle ages on main squares executions were made.

The end of the peninsula you can reach by walking to the see and to the right from there or through narrow streets leading from the square towards north-west. Just before the church of St. Clement you pass Milje Gate, the town gate from 13. century, one of the oldest preserved gates in Piran.

  • Cape Madonna, church of St. Clement together with medieval fortification and new-Gothic light house.

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