Keeping cool in Hell! + Bistra Castle and Technical Museum

One wouldn’t immediately think of going to Hell to keep cool, so, let me explain.

It was stiflingly hot last weekend, not that I’m complaining, and so I got to thinking where I could go to see some new sights and to also keep cool and the Hell Gorge (Soteska Pekel) was just the ticket – especially as it’s been on my personal list of places to go in Slovenia for a while.

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Near the entrance to the Hell Gorge. ‘Pekel’ in Slovene means Hell! Photo: Adele in Slovenia

From where I live in Radovljica it took me about an hour –  from Ljubljana it’s just 23km – to reach the small town of Borovnica, where the last solitary column of the Borovnica railway viaduct can be seen. The first train travelled across the viaduct in 1856 and, at that time, the 561 metre-long viaduct was considered a technical and architectural masterpiece.

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The solitary remaining column of the Borovnica viaduct. Photo: Adele in Slovenia

From Borovnica its a further 4kms to reach Hell Gorge, just near the village of Ohonica. The gorge was formed due to subsidence of the Ljubljana Marshes (Ljubljansko Barje). The steep gorge was carved out by the rushing waters of the Otavščica, which springs from the Bloke plateau and falls over the walls and rocks of the gorge. On the flat plains near Dražica it then joins with the Prušnica and flows towards the Ljubljana Marshes and onwards into the Ljubljanica river.

The highlight of Hell Gorge is its five waterfalls, four of which fall over 15 metres and the highest over 22 metres. The first two waterfalls are easily accessible and its only takes about 15 minutes from the car park to reach the 2nd waterfall. The path is a little rough in places so good footwear is a must. To access the 3rd, 4th, and 5th waterfalls, however, the path is more rigorous, ascends from 335m to 650m and, in places, pegs, ladders and steel ropes are in place to assist and it is advisable only for those used to hiking and with good hiking shoes – a walk in the park it is not!

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The first waterfall – a mere 4m. Photo: Adele in Slovenia

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The 2nd waterfall.

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The first of the ladders. This one leads from the 2nd waterfall up towards the 3rd.

On the way back I also stopped at Bistra Castle, since the road travels, literally, through the middle of the castle. These days the castle houses the Technical Museum of Slovenia – one of Slovenia’s most important and visited museums.

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The Technical Museum of Slovenia in Bistra. Photo: Adele in Slovenia

The castle, built in the 13th century, was originally a Carthusian monastery during the period from 1260 – 1782 until the Carthusian order was dissolved. It was later purchased by the businessman, Franc Galle, who changed the building into a manor house. Since 1953 it has been open to the public in its current form as the Technical Museum of Slovenia.

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The park which is part of the grounds of the Technical Museum. Photo: Adele in Slovenia

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A few minutes uphill for great views – worth the climb! Photo: Adele in Slovenia

The museum houses an eclectic mix of exhibitions with departments of forestry, woodworking, fishing, electrical engineering, textiles, printing, traffic, and agriculture, as well as the Slovenian Hunting Museum and a collection of ex-President Tito’s cars.

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One of ex-President Tito’s many cars. Photo: Adele in Slovenia

More information about the museum can be found here – http://www.tms.si/

There is also another gorge around the Ljubljana Marshes area – the Iški Vintgar gorge. You can read more about that here – http://bit.ly/1UJjnd5 and about the Ljubljana Marshes here – http://bit.ly/1HjYn5I

© AdeleinSlovenia 2015

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