Beautiful Tržič is situated near the ancient route that for centuries led over the Ljubelj pass and connected Carinthia with the plains of Gorenjska. Nowadays the route over the mountains may no longer be trodden (as travellers instead opt to use the tunnel which goes through the Karavanke mountain range), but Tržič has always profited from its location on this old trade route, and the town is still a regional centre for trade and crafts.
Although a big fire destroyed a large part of the town centre in 1811, the population overcame this setback with financial help of Austrian Field Marshall Joseph Radetzky. He owned a mansion in the town and is immortalized by the famous Radetzky March, which was composed by Johann Strauss and dedicated to this brilliant army leader. The town centre of Tržič has been protected since 1985 as a cultural and historical monument and this is clear proof of its rich past and architecture, and due to its many little canals with bridges the town is often referred to as the ‘Venice of Gorenjska’. A staggering 80% of the municipality of Tržič is considered a protected area as part of the European Natura 2000 project, which aims to protect important areas where flora and fauna can thrive. The town and surrounding area is an excellent destination thanks to its breathtaking landscape, rich history and cultural heritage.
DOVŽANOVA SOTESKA GORGE: Just a short drive from Tržič in the heart of the Karavanke mountain range lays the Dovžanova Soteska Gorge, a site of immense natural beauty. Throughout time the wild Tržiška Bistrica River has cut itself deep into the limestone here, creating these unique spot and uncovering rich geological treasures. Since 1988, it has officially been a protected natural monument. A wide range of fossils and stones dating back to the Paleozoic era have been uncovered here and can still be found in and around the gorge. Most notable are fossils of the Schwagerina carniolica, a microorganism which used to thrive in a shallow sea that covered this area and can only be found here. It’s advisable to take the educational path, which leads past all the geological highlights and ends at the Exhibition and Educational Centre in the small settlement of Dolina, where the staff can tell you everything about the origins of the fossils and creation of this breathtaking landscape. Nearby is the impressive sight of the Tržiška Bistrica River cascading down huge flint rocks and some enormous limestone pyramids. Open from June until the end of October.
MAUTHAUSEN MEMORIAL PARK: The park is situated at the location where the Ljubelj concentration camp (part of Mauthausen) once stood. The camp was built to house the prisoners who were charged with carving out a 1.5km long tunnel through the Karavanke mountain range. Although there was also a small contingent of civilian engineers and workers, the largest part of the workforce consisted of political prisoners and captured combatants, who were forced to work on the tunnel in deplorable and inhumane conditions. Between 1943 and 1945 the mostly Polish, French, Russian, Yugoslav and Norwegian prisoners worked without any respite on the strategically important tunnel. Nowadays the site of the concentration camp, the only one on Slovene territory, is marked by an impressive sculpture. The monument is in the shape of a skeleton with a heart, raising its arms to the sky accompanied by the inscription on the pedestal: j’accuse (I accuse). Across the road the foundations of a large part of the camp still remain and information signs specify the exact layout of the complex and the function of the buildings. In the cellar of the nearby Korean restaurant is a memorial room with an exhibition consisting of the prisoners’ personal belongings, the tools they used and photographs of the camp and its detainees. The whole site is a monumental place, and we recommend visiting this historically important location. Info: www.visit-trzic.com/en.
TRŽIČ BY THE NUMBERS:
Population (municipality): 15,620 / Population (town): 3,920 / Size: 155.4km2 / Municipal holiday: 12 December / Postcode: 4290 / Mayor: Borut Sajovic / Known for: Many Winter Olympians
MUSEUM OF TRŽIČ: Located in a well-preserved 150 year-old manor once owned by the influential Pollak family, the museum presents a clear insight into the cultural and ethnographic heritage of the Tržič area through a variety of exhibits. Crafts like shoemaking, charcoal burning, leather tanning, wheel-making, weaving and dyeing have a long tradition and were important means of income in the region. The different guilds responsible for these professions were very influential in Tržič and their legacy can still be seen today. The exhibitions in the museum paint a vivid picture of how these traditional occupations were performed, as well as the living and working conditions of the workers. Very interesting and entertaining at the same time. Info: Muzejska 11, tel. +386 (0)4 53 15 176, email@example.com, www.trziski-muzej.si.
GORENJSKA PLAŽA: While Tržič’s unofficial nickname Venice of the Alps might be a slight exaggeration, the town does now boast a modern swimming pool complex, which is a great place to relax in the sun beneath the green mountains towering above. The two pools comprise some 1,000m2 of total surface area, and include a shallow wading area for the little ones as well as a 50m lap pool for serious swimming enthusiasts. Parking, deck chairs and umbrellas are all free of charge, and there’s even a small snack bar on hand where you can conveniently grab a quick bite or drink without having to put your clothes back on. Info: Marie aux Mines 11, +386 8 205 76 66, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.visit-trzic.com.
CYCLING AROUND TRŽIČ: As well as the many hiking and skiing opportunities in the immediate area, there are also plenty of chances to enjoy the beauty of the region whilst simultaneously turning your leg muscles to iron with cycling routes for everyone from leisurely day-trippers to the most hardcore of enthusiasts. The routes have been well planned and thought about in great detail, providing visitors with opportunities galore that are guaranteed to keep everyone fi t and happy. Routes include everything from a stunning journey through the Dovžan Gorge, a strenuous loop trail around Konjščica and a more laid-back option through the wonderful Lom Valley suitable for cyclists of all ages and abilities. The extensive website at www.visit-trzic. com/en/paths/cycling-routes provides detailed information about each route complete with maps and photographs.