April 27, 2018

ARCHITECTURE AND CONSTRUCTION

Bohinj is known to be one of the ethnologically most interesting areas in Slovenia.

Bohinj through the eyes of architects: Intuitive knowledge coupled with a rich heritage, usefulness, and a clear intent, unobtrusively placed in the diverse world of the Julian Alps – the architectural heritage proves that Bohinj was not at the sidelines of cultural history.

V Bohinju si lahko ogledate različne tipe stavbarskih in arhitekturnih mojstrovin iz različnih časovnih obdobij. Vsa pomembna nepremična dediščina je povezana s prostorom v katerem je nastala, izredno funkcionalna ter hkrati prijetna za oko. Domišljene stavbne rešitve, gradbeni materiali in poslikave so, skladno z časom nastanka, vsaj vzporedne umetnostnim tokovom na Gorenjskem, če že ne kažejo naprednih elementov. V nadaljevanju pa izpostavljamo samo nekaj zanimivih in najbolj vidnih posebnosti.

THE BOHINJ HOUSE

The typical Bohinj House differs from others due to its consistent ratios between the wooden and concrete parts, the full and empty parts, the roof and wall heights, and the length and width of the house. The Bohinj House developed from the early one-room wooden building with a lobby (approx. 10th century), over various forms of two- and multiple-room buildings, to the final compact and stretched Bohinj homestead, the design of which crystallizes in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The living and farming rooms are all under the same roof. Construction materials consisted of stone and wood – both of which are abundant in Bohinj. The barn and covered hallways were made of wood. The roofing was made of wooden shingles.

The owners did not only take care of the functionality of the house and other buildings, but also provided a beautiful exterior – the main door rested under a mighty archway, windows had stone frames and were covered with forged web-like covers, the shingles were artfully carved, and everything was adorned with many colourful flowers (which people still do today), especially with carnations. A good example of a Bohinj House is the Oplen House in Studor.

DOUBLE-SIDED “TOPLAR” HAYRACKS

When talking about Bohinj, we cannot skip one of the most characteristic symbols of Slovenia – the Toplar hayrack, called a “stoh” in Bohinj. Hayracks, especially Toplar hayracks uncover centuries of Bohinj carpentry tradition.

Single or double hayracks are specifically constructed and adapted for its function (seasonal use) – for drying in the mowing or harvest season, or for storing hay. Toplar hayracks are well-ventilated, refined multi-storey constructions, full of interesting technical and artistic solutions. Hayracks are located near villages, above fields and meadows, and also in villages themselves.

Preserved, unchanged function, the use of local construction material and tradition confirm the economic merits and sense of hayracks, and, at the same time, these are evidence of the locals’ relationship with their environment.

HAY BARNS AND HAYLOFTS

Hay barns and haylofts are smaller buildings for storing hay on more remote meadows and pastures. While the hayracks are artistically articulate and elegantly noticeable, these buildings are full of hard consistency and harmony. Usually, they are full of hay, which the farmers transport home in winter for cattle fodder. Built on stone foundations, the walls are made of circular beams or boards, and everything is covered by a gable roof.

ALPINE SETTLEMENTS: HOMESTEADS, BARNS AND CHEESE-MAKERS

Alpine settlements characteristically consist of wooden or stone houses and homesteads intended for shepherds and Alpine ranchers. Highland homesteads are two-storey single-room log cabins, which are among the very old buildings of the Central and East Julian Alps. The homesteads have very diverse forms, but they are always ideally suited for the terrain. Buildings stand on two, four or more pillars, and the space that was created by those was once used as a shelter for cattle, which they sometimes enclosed with walls. Because of the increasing number of cattle, pent roofs were added to multi-storey buildings. The attic was used for storing fodder. The homestead had an open fireplace (which used to be wooden), a bunk and benches; a separate room was intended for storing milk and dairy products.

On higher and lower plateaus (good examples are the Voje valley, plateaus Blato and Uskovnica…), new shepherd “settlements” began to form, where, due to remoteness, the architecture was strictly functional and subject to communal requirements. Apart from homesteads, simple barns and cheese-maker huts were also built.

Cheese-maker huts are the youngest buildings on Bohinj plateaus. They are larger than shepherd homesteads or barns, and are built in the middle of the shepherd settlement. They are always built of stone and usually consist of two rooms: one for milk processing and the basement (with a stone basin for the curing solution and shelves for storing the cheese). The newer ones included the master’s and assistants’ quarters on upper floors. Today, cheese-makers are usually connected to the water supply system, but in the past, shepherds had to carry water there in their buckets. The larger room usually had a fireplace with a large copper kettle hanging on an arbour.

GRANARIES

Granaries were stone buildings used for storing food and crops. Granary exteriors can be seen in the villages Srednja Vas and Ravne. For more information, visit: Bohinj Granaries.

GRAVITATIONAL FORESTRY CABLEWAYS AND SAWMILLS

To get the wood from Pokljuka and Jelovica plateaus, for their time very advanced cableways were used. Four cableways were designed and built by Lambert von Pantz (including one to Komarča and another to Gorjuše), but the only one left is the Pantz Cableway. The Pantz Cableway is the oldest still standing forestry cableway in Europe. The lower station is in Soteska ob Blatnem Grabnu, next to the main road. The old cableway, which connects the buildings in the protected cableway system, is also interesting for hikers, as it first takes you to moors on Rovtarica and then to the slopes of Jelovica and their precipices.

The vast amounts of wood also caused many sawmills to be built, which were used to process it. Good example of old sawmills nowadays are the Andrejč sawmill and mill in Stara Fužina and the Košmrlj sawmill in Jereka.

RELIGIOUS ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE

There are ten churches in Bohinj, which hold artistic and historical importance. All of them stand in appealing locations: In the middle of a meadow, at the end of a village, on hills, and next to lakes. Their wealth consists of frescos, oil paintings, panel paintings, sculptures, carvings, and various artistically crafted objects made of glass, wood, stone, or metal.

Branch churches are more interesting and share some characteristics: They have bulbous bell towers, so-called golden altars, gothic frescos and architectural elements; the churches, covered in larch shingles, can be entered through entrance halls, their floors tiled with river stones, and through portals made of green Perast stone. The churches in Sveti Janez and Nemški Rovt villages have paintings of the Brixen Diocese coat of arms.

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