Triglav National Park, the only one of its kind in Slovenia, covers only 4% of the landmass, yet what a spectacular proportion it is. The park’s breathtaking landscape, including jagged peaks, expansive spruce forest, lush valleys and harmonious ecosystem has all been protected since the Alpine Conservation Park was founded back in 1924.
Located in the southeastern section of the Alps, the Eastern Julian Alps stretch across much of northwestern Slovenia, bordering Austria to the north and Italy to the west. The centrepiece and inspiration for its name is Mount Triglav, the highest in Slovenia (2864 metres). The mountain is the symbol of Slovenia (it appears in the coat of arms), and the country’s flag was flown here on June 26th, 1991, the day Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia. The name, Triglav, means three-headed, as it looks to have three peaks when seen from the Bohinj valley.
The first recorded ascent of Triglav was made on 26 August 1778, by Luka Korošec, Matija Kos, Štefan Rožič and Lovrenc Willomitzer, on the initiative of baron Sigismund Zois. Its height was first measured in 1808 by Valentin Stanič. At the top of the mountain stands a tiny metal structure, the Aljaž Tower. A storm shelter for climbers, it is named after Jakob Aljaž, a priest who bought the land at the Triglav peak for a single Austro- Hungarian florin from the then municipality of Dovje in 1895.
During World War II, Triglav possessed huge symbolic value for the Slovene nation in its fight against fascism. During this difficult battle, Slovene Partisans would routinely wear the Triglav cap, or triglavka, a distinct three pronged hat. As Yugoslavia was formed out of the ashes of World War II, Triglav would be its highest peak.
Triglav is also of immense cultural importance to Slovenia. Indeed, the very first full length Slovenian language film focused on a group of students attempting to ascend the mountain
Triglav today attracts skiers in winter (to nearby Vogel) and climbers in summer. The climb to the summit is not all that hard, but it is long. For most amateur climbers it’s a two-day ascent to the top, and requires an overnight stay in a mountain cabin. In short, it’s a special piece of nature, well worth visiting.
Text by Will Dunn, Edited by Monika Šetinc