Lakes of Austria and Slovenia (part 8)

To Bohinj

Bohinj is a valley that stretches from Soteska to Ukanc. The entrance to the basin is very narrow. Turks and Napoleon with his army turned around and not tried to invade it. They thought, there is the end of the world. This narrow gorge strethes between forested Jelovica and Pokljuka high plateaus. At the narrowest place is place only for road, railway and Sava Bohinjka river. Bohinj basin is much wider. It is caught between Lower Bohinj Mountain Range on the south and Triglav on the north. The basin is dividen into two valleys: Upper and Lower valleys. Through Bohinj we make round tour. Through the Lower valley by the Sava Bohinjka river to the lake and back through the Upper valley. The Lower valley was traditionally more farming part of Bohinj, the Upper valley was more industrial. Stara Fužina and Bistrica were strong ironwork centres. That’s already a history. The last blast furnace was closed in the middle of 19. century and business moved to Jesenice.

Vogel and Triglav, between is Bohinj

Vogel and Triglav, between is Bohinj

Today one of the main sources for living of the locals is tourism. When God’s been distributing the world among his people, he wanted to leave this part of the world for himself. But when he saw last people standing in the row, and there was no other place to give them, he decided to give them this paradise, Bohinj. The paradise attract visitors from all over the world. Lake caught between high mountains, which rise above the lake for 1500m and more. Lake Bohinj is 4,2km long and 1km wide at its maximum width. It is a glacial lake dammed by a moraine. And it’s also the largest natural permanent lake in Slovenia. Its largest feeder is stream Savica flowing into the lake from the west side. The largest effluent is Jezernica, later Sava Bohinjka river. It is interesting, that outflow from Bohinj is larger that inflow. That means, that lot of water comes from underground springs.

Lake Bohinj

Lake Bohinj

Bohinj was also an important rear of Austrian army during Soča Front in World War 1. The railway through the valley, that was opened in 1906, was extended to Ukanc on the other side of the lake. From there all material, equipment and arms were transported on the backs of horses and mules. It is said, that a train engine is still in the lake, covered by mud. Nobody has found it yet.

Waterfall Savica is one of the most famous and popular waterfalls in Slovenia. It is where Krst pri Savici (The Baptism on the Savica), the masterpiece of France Prešeren, takes place. Official height is 78m. Water from the Black Lake sink 500m higher in the mountains and come through the underground channels to the waterfall. One part of the water sink in a tunnel again and come out as a 25m high waterfall, left part of the Savica waterfall.

Waterfall Savica

Waterfall Savica

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.

Triglav from Debela Peč

Mt. Triglav from Debela Peč

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.

Triglav Lakes Valley in Triglav National Park

Triglav Lakes Valley in Triglav National Park

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.

Jalovec from Sleme in Triglav National Park

Jalovec from Sleme in Triglav National Park

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.
  • Firs 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.

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