Established in 1925 with the merging of a few small towns,Domžale developed rapidly to the point where in the 1970s it was the richest city (per capita) in all of Yugoslavia. Thanks in part to its proximity to the Kamniška Bistrica River, industry thrived in decades past, and many businesses still prosper here today.
Sport also runs big here; local football club NK Domzale won the Slovenian Prvi Liga as recently as 2008, and the basketball side KK Helios won in 2007. A town without a real centre, Domžale has a great collection of elegant churches, old style restaurants and modern cafes. It is surrounded by adorable hamlets, many of which date back to the 14th century, a time when iron smelting ruled the roost. The 19th century saw the development of straw-hat making, with it coming Domžale’s explosion of wealth, and the straw plaiting museum is well worth a visit. Not many things represent the town as completely as the art of straw-hat making.
Not to be outdone by the urban development, Domžale is surrounded by natural beauty in the shape of the Kamniška Bistrica River (perfect for walking) and the Železna caves. Domžale is also home to the strongest, most powerful radio transmitter in all of Slovenia, built in 1927. River walks, straw hats and radio? With just a 20-minute train ride away from Ljubljana, we are in.
ŽELEZNA JAMA CAVE AND JAMARSKI MUSEUM: Just a short walk from Krumperk Castle, Železna Jama cave is yet another in Slovenia’s long line of fascinating caves. Well lit inside, the cave sits comfortably at a temperature of 8 degrees and is full of rich stalactites and interesting formations. The first of these you notice is the strangely Camel’s head shape jutting out over the walkway deeper into the cave. The natural acoustics are wonderful, and choirs have been known to perform in the cave from time to time. Adjoining Železna Jama is Babja Cave, but this currently isn’t open to visitors.
The Jamarski museum near the entrance to the cave is choc-full of minerals, fossils and stalactites from not only Železna Jama but also caves from all over the country. Impressively the museum is home to the nation’s biggest collection of stalactites, moved from the Natural History Museum in Ljubljana after being damaged in a fire. The house also runs a caving club for children. Info: +386 (0)61 72 15 77, [email protected], www.drustvozrj.domzale.si.
MENAČENK HOMESTEAD: An initiative of the municipality itself, the Menačenk Homestead was opened in 2004 and is an example of a 19th century house in all its glory. The home of a tailor, the interior is as accurate as you will find for such a depiction, showing the cramped living arrangements and the sacrifices that needed to be made in order to get by in tough times. You’ll be shocked at the sleeping quarters, trust us. The ceilings are low, and there is also an example of a traditional Slovene black kitchen. The extension once housed cattle, but today it is used for exhibiting the work of local artists. Info: Cankarjeva 9, Domžale, +386 (0)1 722 50 50, [email protected], www.kd-domzale.si.