Manufaktura: A New Year and a New Addition to Radovljica’s Linhart Square

Linhart Square is the compact, quaint heart of Radovljica’s historic old town. As of today, in addition to the numerous frescoed bourgeois houses, the gothic St. Peter’s church, and the magnificent Radovljica Mansion, the square has become even richer for the opening of the new Manufaktura ceramics shop and workshop.

As well as being a very welcome addition to the old town, Manufaktura has an important story of heritage; the building was originally bought by the Magušar family’s great grandfather 150 years ago, and the ceramics and owners of Keramika, Oli and Urban Magušar, assisted by their son Jeron, have now repurchased, renovated and brought it back to life.

Oli talked me through the photos of their ancestors; a wonderful tale and a wonderful addition to Linhart Square.

Personally I’m delighted to see such an opening, since many of Slovenia’s historic old town centres have fallen victim of the large, out-of-town, generic shopping centres, which are dominated by the same chain stores wherever you go. Slovenia already has the highest number of shops per head in Europe (if not further afield too!), yet more ghastly shopping centres are still springing up at a rate of knots and, unfortunately, Radovljica is not immune to this either, with a new shopping centre currently being developed at the entrance to the town.

I’m so anti these kinds of developments, especially when there are already way too many shops for the population of 2 million; shopping seems to have become a national obsession, sadly. Hence, shops such as Manufaktura really do play an important part in maintaining Slovenia’s heritage and traditions, and we must support them by buying locally to ensure they can be sustained. And judging from the crowds at today’s opening, it seems I’m not alone in my delight and enthusiasm!

The building features an area where traditional Magušar bowls and other handmade ceramics and accessories can be bought, including the new range of mini replicas of the houses in Radovljica’s old town centre, which adorned the Christmas tree this year in Radovljica Mansion and which make great souvenirs.

Part of the room has been allocated to enable visitors to watch the ceramists at work.

The other room, with its beautiful tiled floor, has a display of 150 different kinds of clay and their properties, various implements, and there are plans for a museum too.

Manufaktura is open on Mondays-Fridays from 10am-1pm and 2pm-4pm, on Wednesdays until 7pm, as well as on the first Saturday of the month. A website is coming but for now, should you want further information, you can contact them through the Glinca Facebook page or, of course, drop into the shop itself!

Among the other main highlights of Radovljica’s old town centre is the Lectar Honeybread Museum and Workshop, which is located in the cellar of Gostilna Lectar, a family-run restaurant and guest house with a tradition dating back to 1766.

The Šivec House Gallery, which is the place to be for all art lovers. One part of the gallery is dedicated to a permanent exhibition of original illustrations, whilst the other hosts monthly exhibitions by fine Slovenian and foreign artists, and upstairs there is a room used for civil wedding ceremonies. The building itself it also notable for its exterior fresco and the unusual layout and architecture of its preserved interior.

Photo: Miran Kambič

And the Museum of Apiculture, housed in the Radovljica Mansion, houses Slovenia’s largest collection of painted beehives front panels, including the oldest known in the world. Each of the painted panels tells a folk story.

So, take time for a linger through Linhart Square, admire the magnificent buildings, and treat yourself or your loved ones to some handmade Slovenian products and/or souvenirs, all in the knowledge that you are helping to support local heritage and traditions and, maybe, hopefully, together we can help to keep those chain stores away from our precious historic towns!

© Adele in Slovenia

 

Magušar’s House – An Aladdin’s Cave of Clay!

The fruits of the first year of a three year project titled ‘Catalogue of Slovenian Clay‘ are being unveiled today in an exhibition at Radovljica’s Magušar’s House. The official opening of the exhibition begins today at 7pm, so you’ve still got time to get along, but if you don’t make it, don’t worry, the exhibition will be on view until the end of the summer (entrance is free, however, prior notice is required).

Photo: Miran Kambič

For the owner of the house and initiator of the project, Urban Magušar, clay isn’t merely a raw material from which he has been creating for decades – it is his life. “Those that work with clay all the time, are in touch with the origin of the universe”, said Urban in a recent blog post (the English version of the brand new website is coming soon!) for Tourism Radol’ca.

The current finds of Slovenian clay are shown on the map below. Incidentally, is often said that Slovenia, when viewed as a whole on a map, is shaped like a chicken. Do you agree?

After coming up with the idea, Urban set about contacting ceramists throughout Slovenia and over 100 samples were brought to the workshop in Magušar’s House where they were tested for basic physical properties: contraction, porosity, colour and granulation and heated to temperatures of 800-1,300˚C to determine the temperature range of sintering and melting.

Below you can see Urban in his ‘Aladdin’s cave of clay’!

Being a total clay ‘virgin’ it was fascinating to see all the different kinds of clay and how they react and change when heated and treated.

The artist and ceramist Živa Slavec explained to me about the different characteristics of the clays, for example, those from the Gorenjska are lighter in colour as there is more limestone, whereas those from the flat lands in Slovenia’s north-east are darker in colour and also more easy to locate and access.

Magušar House in itself is also worth a look, with its arcaded gothic courtyard, dating from c.1500, and pottery workshop where you can buy Magušar bowls and other pottery items. Occasional exhibitions, workshops and other events are also held there.

You can also find Magušar bowls being used in some of the Taste Radol’ca restaurants, where the focus on local food is further enhanced by serving it in local bowls made just minutes away – certainly no food miles involved here!

Taste Radol’ca at Gostilna Kunstelj

The Visit Radol’ca website has more information about Magusar’s House and the other historic houses in Radovljica’s old town, Taste Radol’ca restaurants, as well as plenty more information on what else to see and do in the town and its surroundings.

Do go and take a look, it sets you thinking and you will probably never look at a clay bowl the same way again!

© Adele in Slovenia

Fine Art, Festivities and Food in Radovljica

Ok, I admit, ‘fine art’ probably isn’t exactly the right choice of word, ‘fine pottery’ would be a more accurate description, however, it had a nice ring to it as a title for this week’s blog and it goes some way to describing the skills of two of Radovljica’s stalwarts, Oli and Urban Magušar. The couple, who have long resided and operated a pottery workshop in Magušar’s House (Magušarjeva hisa) in Radovljica’s old town centre, have now finally opened a shop selling and exhibiting their, as well as other local artists, creations. I attended the shop’s opening last weekend and as well as being able to see the products up close, we were also treated to a BBQ in the courtyard! Who knew that the Magušars were such talents chefs as well!

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The shop will be open throughout the year on Wednesdays and Fridays from 5-8pm, on Saturdays from 10am-1pm, and at other times by appointment. The arcaded house itself is also fascinating with its open courtyard and worth a snoop if you get the chance.

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You can read more about Magušar’s House, as well as about Radolca’s other galleries and museums here – http://www.radolca.si/en/other-galleries/

Next, on to the ‘festivities’ part. Of course the festive season is now upon us and with Radovljica’s old town now adorned by Christmas lights, festive garlands and the like, the first of the Christmas events began on Friday with the official switch on of the Christmas lights, followed by the start of the small Advent Market. The Advent Market will take place every weekend during December and to accompany it there are a wide variety of events and entertainment for all the family including creative workshops for children, circus acts and street performers, concerts with live music, carol singing, and not forgetting the all important arrival of Father Christmas, accompanied by his elves on 21st December at 5pm. The full programme of festive events can be found here – http://www.radolca.si/en/what-to-do/events-1/festive-december-in-linhart-square/83/110/

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And finally the ‘food’ part. Some weeks back I blogged about my visit to the Globočnik Excursion Farm in Globoko, which are now part of the Taste Radol’ca project. For the final weekend of this year’s Taste Radol’ca, they held a demonstration of sausage making; the traditional Slovene pečenice pork sausages and also black pudding krvavice. To accompany them, the farm’s neighbour and legendary bread maker came to do her magic with bread baked at its most simple with minimal ingredients and maximal care and attention. After mixing the bread in the specially made wooden vessel, it was then left to prove next to the warmth of the log burner before being baked in the stone oven. Once the sausages were cooked and the bread baked, there was a chance to taste them too. However, since I had to rush off to the opening of the pottery shop, I didn’t get a chance for a taste and therefore, not wanting to miss out completely, vowed to return the next day to polish off what was still left! I can contest that it was all delicious and even more so as I had seen everything being made and knew there were no nasty additives or hidden ‘E’ numbers, preservatives etc. Good, honest food at its best.

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Don’t forget to get your entries in for the competition to find a new drink for Radol’ca. The competition is open to every one and you could win yourself a luxury weekend at Vila Podvin. More information here – http://radolca.si/en/radolca-drink-competition/

Need I even say that yet another week passed us by without so much as seeing the sky, let alone the sun. Since I’ve been a very good, hardworking girl this year, I’ve now written my wish list to Santa – I bet you can guess what is at the top of the list! And perhaps he has already received my letter because as I sit here writing today, I can now seem a glimpse of blue sky…..

© AdeleinSlovenia 2014