The ever-popular annual Iron Forging Festival (Kovaški šmaren) will take place this Saturday 8th July in the village of Kropa, the cradle of Slovene iron-forging.
I love visiting Kropa in summer, when it’s hot and the village is bathed in sunshine, and especially at the time of the Iron Forging Festival when the village comes to life and visitors can get a glimpse into life in the past for the village ironworkers and their families.
Kropa sits nested into the far eastern edge of the Jelovica plateau and is crammed with interesting sights and architecture and preserved technical heritage which is showcased during the annual festival.
There are demonstrations of hand forging of nails in the Vigenjc Vice Nail Forge, a small local craft market, old-time bikes, open days at the Iron Forging Museum and the Fovšaritnica Museum House, as well as at the headquarters of the company UKO Kropa, which specialises in all manner of wrought iron furnishings and fittings and is keeping the village’s iron-forging tradition alive.
Be sure to take a walk around the village, alongside the Kroparica stream, that runs right through its heart, and admire the former ironworkers houses embellished with decorative wrought iron.
If you’d like to make a day of it, why not take a hike up to the Vodiška planina highland. You can choose to take the steeper route (marked ‘Vodice – strma pot, 1hr 15mins) which begins at the parish Church of St. Leonard, one of the two churches in the village. There is a small parking area beside the church or otherwise you park in the centre of the village, by the memorial, and take the steps which lead between houses up to the church.
Or, alternatively, there is another path that is found by following the road through the village in the direction of Jamnik. The path begins on the bend in the road next to the former Slovenian smelting furnace (Slovenska peč).
Both paths eventually reach the highland and the Partizanski dom mountain hut where you can get refreshments and tasty home-cooked food – the štruklji are particularly popular!
For those without a car the Hop-on Hop-off tourist bus also visits Kropa every Tuesday during the summer months. More information and the timetable can be found here – http://www.radolca.si/en/hop-on-hop-off-radolca/
More information about the Iron Forging Festival can be found here – http://www.radolca.si/en/the-iron-forging-festival/
© Adele in Slovenia