Podgora cycling route

A panoramic cycling path through the quiet forests of Grofija, past Brezje, the central Slovene place of pilgrimage, back to Begunje.

dolzina 18 km visina 270 m cas 1-3 h
1 Castle Gutenberg 2 Church of St. Lucia 3 John the Baptist church
4 Village Zgornji otok 5 Castle Drnča

Castle Gutenberg (in the slopes)

Castle that lies on a strategic position above the ancient road in front of the village Slatna was built by the noble family Lamberg from castle Kamen at the end of the 15th century, probably at the site of a former defense tower. The castle was originally called Glanz, after a Slovenian fallow name “V klancih” (In the slopes). In 1557 James Lamberg renamed it to Gutenberg with the permission of the emperor, in memory of a former Lamberg Castle above Bistrica near Tržič (today Hudi Grad). In those days Lamberg merged the castle with the estate Kamen and gained a baron title: Freyherr zu Stein und Gutenberg.
The castle was already in the early 17th century a ruin. It was probably abandoned due to the remote location, and damage in earthquakes. Before the collapse the castle consisted of a palace of rectangular floor plan (16x10m) with a large walled courtyard, entrance and defense towers at the west. The building was built in the late Gothic period, which confirms the disordered built from large stone blocks. A few feet away are the remains of a high wall with preserved semi-circular portal, probably remainings of the mighty tower building, which was also portrayed by J. V. Valvasor.

From left: Gutenberg Castle, The Glory of Dutchy of Carniola (1689) | High altar

Church of St. Lucia

Church of St. Lucy in Zadnja vas underneath Dobrča was formerly known as a pilgrimage site. Saint Lucy (284 * ? 304) is the intercessor against the diseases of vision. To the young Christian martyr’s eyes were poked out before the death. Beneath the church is a healing spring, in which pilgrims wash their eyes. The faith of locals and pilgrims attributed miraculous powers to the spring; hence pilgrims come asking for vision or for health when having eye diseases.

The oldest part of the church is a Gothic presbytery, built in 1468. A renaissance portal from green Peračica tuff is dated with a year of 1663, which probably indicates the time of conversion and extension of the church. Then the church got a new ship with the ground plane in the shape of an octagonal and a shed on the west side. During the Baroque alterations in 1767 a chapel was added to the church.

A marble altar of St. Lucy is from the Baroque era and was formed in the beginning of 18th century. The altar statues are the work of Valentin Vrbnik and Angel Putti (Pozza) and the altar of St. Jost in the chapel was made by Gasper Gollmayer. Way of the Cross was painted in 1850 by a fine artist Matej Goričnik from Radovljica.

From left: High Altar | A healing spring

John the Baptist church in Spodnji Otok

The single-nave church was built in the late 14th, beginning 15th century, the first notes date back to 1405th. Probably the church sen/ed as a baptismal chapel for the ancient parish of Radovljica. The nave is rectangular, essentially Romanesque and was probably arched in time of baroque on the turn of the 17th in 18th century. Over the time the church had added on a three-sided concluded starry-vaulted Gothic presbytery, the front shed with a Renaissance pulpit, the bell tower and the two side chapels. ls particularly interesting painting on the wall above the entrance where you can find Gothic frescoes Suško-Bodešče master workshops in the mid-15th century. Inside, on the north wall, you can find a fragmentarily preserved scene of three kin s bringing the gifts made by Jernej from Loka, which was created in the 1530′. One of the most beautiful picture cycles of Jernej from Loka is to be found in the church of HI. Peter on the Mount over Begunje.

The main altar is the work of Matej Goričnik from Radovljica and consists of statues of St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist. Altarpiece of John the Baptist and oval painting of St. Mary Magdalene from the year 1913, is the work of Matija Bradaška. The south side altar is dedicated to John Nepomuk, the north side altar is dedicated to St. Martin and dates probably around the year 1800. The church, due to its location and the defending walls, probably sen/ed as a refuge from the Turks, who, in the year 1475, were plundering in Gorenjska. From these times, the tradition has been presen/ed that at eleven in the morning the bells in the bell tower are ringing as it was midday. According to legend, at the arrival of Turks the bell began to ring noon by itself at eleven in the morning, instead of at lunchtime.

From left: View on the church before restoration (around 1930) | Hl. Mary with Christ, Master Bolfgang, 2nd half of the 15th century | The formal wooden ceeling of the John the Baptist church, painted by Bartholomew of Loka, beginning of the 16th century

Village Zgornji Otok

At the end of the 13th and in the early 14th century the Ortenburg counts settled farmers from the German-speaking countries on the estate. These farms were built around the alleged court, nowadays only to be found in the archives. The land below the village was a marshland. As late as the 18th Century, people created channels that finally dried up the marshes.

The Kaiser road follows the path of her predecessor – the Charles road, which was built in 1573 to connect Ljubljana and Beljak/Villach. The road was build in 1734 under the Keiser Charles VI of Hapsburg. The predecessor, Charles road was 2.8m to 3.2 m wide. By the time the coaches were getting bigger and heavier and the old road no longer countervailed the needs of the transport of such goods. The new road, the Keiser road was 6 meters wide, equipped with side ditches and curbs.

In the houses of Zgornji Otok the passengers, shippers and distributors then got food and beverages and could repair their travel gear. Before the village, at “Rampe” (Gates), the coaches were stopped and couldn’t continue before a detailed review. The first house on the way from Podvin is the house at Matičk (Zg Otok 6). In the Multi-Storey Baroque manor from the year 1733 one could replace the horses and find a place to stay. There was also a prison cell in the yard. Even today, they tell each other stories, that many wealthy travelers had disappeared in the night and that the house was condemned. In the adjoining house at Grbajs (Zg Otok 7), was a customs house, where the driver had to pay the toll. The house at Rahot (Zg Otok 8) was a tavern, which is still evident today by the statue that supports the corner of the house. As the travelers saw the statue of a man with a cake on his head, a glass in his hand and a wine barrel below the elbow, they were to know immediately that in this house they will not starve nor die of thirst. Another beautiful edifice is the house at Brinšk (Zg Otok 9). A Baroque building with a neo-classical portal, with the year 1845, was, in the years between 1785 and 1871 a post office, which the statue above the entrance testifies to. On the facade of the house we find frescoes of St. Florian, St. Mary of Višarje and of the Holy Trinity. The house at Kovač (Zg Otok 14), the horses were shod, in the house at Načemr (the building no longer exists today) was a saddler, in the house at Kojc (Zg Otok 11) they repaired damaged carts. In the last house in the village, at Pibr (Zg Otok 13), one could find a tailor. Most of the crafts in the village died out, only the village blacksmith at Kovač is still to be found.

With the Keiser road, a system of small roads that connects the villages in the Upper Carniola to the main road was made. The Keiser road has become a new source of earnings in the area and contributed greatly to the development of the neighboring settlements.

From left: The Coach infront of Brinšek pub, around 1930 | The portal of Brinšek House, the formal postoffice | Man infront of Rahot house, made out of Peračica stone, original, around 1830

Castle Drnča

Dermitschhoff Manor in Dvorska vas was first mentioned in written sources between 1050 and 1065. Later were the owners Ortenburg counts. In the middle of 14th century and in the beggining of 15th century the manor was posessed by family Drampcz. In the beggining of 16 century the owner was baron Gallenberg.

From the sixteenth century to 1810, counts Lamberg of the Kamen Castle were the manor’s proprietors. In 1531, it was completely renovated in Renaissance style by Jakob II. Lamberg; he immortalised himself by placing a commemorative plaque with his motto ‘God Grant Happy Ending’ on the manor’s facade in 1558. Jakob’s uncle Christopher I Lamberg is considered as a possible protagonist in the folk ballad Pegam and Lambergar.

The last prewar proprietors and dwellers of the castle were the Baillous, Josephine and Raoul Baillou. Due to her repute as a baroness, her excellent education and knowledge of German, Josephine on numerous occasions intervened with German authorities, who ran the prisons in Begunje, saving many from certain death. At the end of the war the Baillous were forced to abandon the manor in Dvorska vas, as it had been plundered and later nationalised.

From 1954 to 2004, the manor was used as a health resort of Mental Hospital Begunje. In 2005, the renovation of the manor and building of the hotel began.

From left: Castle Drnča ,J.V. Valvasor, The Glory of Dutchy of Carniola (1689) | Grad Drnča, around 1950 | Castle Drnča today


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