By Marko Viduka
Did the people of Bohinj build the first Slovenian alpine hut – or even the first two? Perhaps many written sources and official documents really have done the people of Bohinj an injustice in that the Triglavski prijatelji (i.e. “Friends of Triglav”) Association was not recognised as an alpine association and that the first official shelter beneath Mount Triglav was also not recognised as theirs.
This was the result of the political climate and also caused by harsh winters tumbling the foundations of Bohinj mountaineering tourism. Probably, real justice for Bohinj came when the Orožnova koča mountain hut was open in 1894.
We can say that it was the people of Bohinj who once again were the first to help build Slovenian huts in our high mountain area. The Triglavski prijatelji Association (Friends of Triglav) recognised the need to establish an umbrella association that would unify all Slovenian mountaineers and built the first Slovenian shelter beneath the Triglav mountain – Triglavski tempelj (i.e. The Triglav Temple).
Priest Ivan Žan and guide Jože Škantar from Srednja vas set the foundations of Slovenian organised mountaineering and once again were the first ones among all Slovenians. In the circumstances, the association did not come to life and was not officially confirmed, but we should not diminish the significance of the association and the Triglavski tempelj shelter due to those circumstances.
Can we say that we were most often the first to conquer the high Slovenian mountains and to set the foundations of the Slovenian mountaineering culture? Perhaps we can. This tradition is almost 150 years old! We were the first who officially climbed Triglav. 240 years ago. And we can only imagine how many other things were done in the Triglav mountain range for the first time by the people of Bohinj!