Cultural heritage and cultural landscape
The cultural heritage of the TNP is very interesting, diverse and picturesque, because the park lies at the meeting point of various climates as well as various cultures, each of them leaving a mark on the cultural heritage of the area. Evaluation and preservation of the cultural heritage is an extremely demanding but rewarding task. The register of immovable cultural heritage with the Ministry of Culture of RS contains 300 units for the area of the Triglav National Park.
The protection of cultural heritage encompasses archaeological sites, settlement areas, man-made nature and cultural landscape, buildings, parts thereof and groups of buildings of artistic, historical or technical value. The cultural heritage also includes buildings associated with important persons and events from the political, economic and cultural history of Slovenia. Nevertheless, the above stated do not cover all the contents of cultural heritage.
The TNP area is extremely rich in findings from various archaeological periods.
In the course of the ten-year UNESCO-MAB research programme titled 3000 Years of Iron Industry and Pastoral Economy in the Julian Alps (1997-2006), several high-altitude sites with material evidence on the periodical presence of Mesolithic hunters, shepherds and miners were found, recorded and partially researched. The archaeological excavations in the TNP were led by the Gorenjsko Museum and the Tolmin Museum in cooperation with the Institute for Archaeology ZRC SAZU and the TNP Public Institution. Most Stone Age archaeological sites are located on the Soča side of the TNP, in particular in the Krn mountains, whereas the findings from the Gorenjsko side of the park date back to the Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman Age (antique) periods.
Medieval pottery and the remains of medieval dwellings have been found and recorded on all old pastures. This points to the continuity in the pastoral and mining activities from the Roman period to the Modern Age.
Mining and Iron Industry
In addition to pastoral economy, mining and iron industry were the most important economic activities ensuring survival of people living at the foot of mountains in the TNP.
Thanks to rich locations of high quality iron ore, the Julian Alps have been a very important strategic area for over 3,000 years. Although the first records of mining date back to the Iron Age period (800 years BC), the activity reached its peak in the Roman period and the Middle Ages. The largest and most widely known Iron Age and Antique iron industry centre was Bohinj, whereas the importance of Bled in terms of iron industry is not adequately researched. Bohinj and Bled were supplied with iron ore dug and collected on the mid-altitude and high-altitude pastures of the entire Pokljuka plateau, Gorjuše, Vogel, all Studor alps, Velo polje, and on the Klek, Lipanca and Zgornja Krma pastures and the Mežakla plateau. The traces of antique and medieval mining in high-altitude mountains have been preserved to the present day. On certain pastures, typical shallow ore caves can be seen, and high above the tree line one can admire the remains of old stone-paved paths along which iron ore was transported to the melting furnaces in the valley.
The traces of medieval mining and iron industry in the valley of Trenta and on the slopes above the valley are evident in the form of deep mine shafts, dug out in the slopes of the mountains Srednjica, Mojstrovka and Prisank.
The various types of vernacular architecture are based on people's experience. They are adapted to the natural conditions and locally available material is used for their construction.
The architectural appearance of the park is a result of settlement processes, economic activities and, due to the openness of the area, the influence of Alpine, Friulian and Mediterranean cultures.
On the Soča side of the park, two types of vernacular architecture have evolved as a result of the mixing of cultures: the Bovec-Trenta type and the Kobarid-Tolmin type.
The architecture of the Gorenjsko side of the park is determined by the use of wood. Two types of houses have evolved: the Bohinj house and the Upper Sava Valley house.
The characteristic image of the landscape in the Julian Alps has been modelled though thousands of years of human activity.
Cultural landscapes are spatially-limited areas which reflect a harmony of natural and man-made assets. The cultural landscapes of the national park are primarily characterised by natural, even extreme, phenomena and forms, which have been shaped by the presence of man and traditional, mostly agricultural use of land. In the park we can observe alpine valleys with a disjointed settlement structure, various settlement patterns, alps (mountain pastures), hummocky meadows, vernacular architecture, ownership structure and construction elements in open areas.
Cultural landscapes also include exceptional landscape forms valuable for their diversity, harmonious character, exposure, architectural elements, symbolic value, historical importance and experimental value and have as such gained international acclaim. Valuable cultural landscapes in the park include the heads of alpine valleys, the pastures Viševnik, Javornik, Laz, Dedno polje, Zajamniki and Sleme, Za Skalo; the settlements Studor with toplarji, Bavšica, Log pod Mangartom and Strmec, and the remains from the First World War.
Ethnological Cultural Heritage
The ethnological heritage of the TNP includes several homesteads (e.g. clusters of houses in Lepena, Trenta and Soča, in Log pod Mangartom and an occasional homestead in several other settlements). Mountain pastures and pastoral settlements are an important element of the ethnological heritage of the area. The wide area of Bohinj, the upper reaches of the Soča and the Koritnica rivers and the Tolminka and Zadlašica basins boast over 40 registered pastures. The next important group of ethnological monuments are individual cultural clusters, registered under settlement heritage of the TNP (the villages Gorjuše, Krnica, Stara Fužina, Studor v Bohinju, Strmec na Predelu, Tolminske Ravne, and the hamlets Pri cerkvi in Trenta and Laz in Zadlaz). Cultural monuments include mid-altitude pastoral homesteads combining a stable and a hayloft (prestaje), grain pantries (kašče), small cottages (kajže), and iron foundries and sawmills scattered around the protected area. An exceptional cultural monument is also a compact group of double hayracks just outside the settlement Studor v Bohinju.
Fun fact: With the purpose of preserving its cultural heritage, the TNP organises ethnological workshops for children, teenagers and adults. The workshops contribute to the preservation of typical activities, knowledge and skills (e.g. tool making, weaving, iron-making) and promotion of authentic products or artefacts (milking chairs, sinks, brooms, wooden spoons and ladles, toys, etc.)
Trenta Lodge TNP Information Centre: multi-vision presentation of the Triglav National Park, exhibitions on animate and inanimate nature, cultural landscape, man and nature, the Trenta Museum houses a presentation of the ethnological, cultural and historical traditions of the Trenta valley, occasional exhibitions, special programmes.
Pocar Farm in Zgornja Radovna is specially adapted for museum purposes, the Pocar Farm, one of the oldest homesteads in the Triglav National Park, demonstrates with its appearance, rich collection of artefacts and the story of a museum guides on the Pocar family the life at the foot of Triglav from centuries past to the present day. The Pocar Farm also houses an information point, exhibition room and event venue.
The Upper Sava Valley Jesenice: Iron-making, mining and paleontological collection, Ruard manor house, Jesenice, Ethnological collection in Kasarna Jesenice, Kos Manor House, Jesenice, Triglav Museum Collection, Mojstrana, Liznjek Homestead, Kranjska Gora.
The Kobarid Museum presents the history of Kobarid and the activities on the Soča Front from May 1915 to November 1917.
The Oplen House in Studor v Bohinju - this typical Bohinj homestead was turned into a museum and presents the dwelling culture of the people of Bohinj in the early 20th century.
The Alpine Dairy Museum in Stara Fužina is dedicated to the life of dairy farmers and herdsmen on the Bohinj pastures.
The Tolmin Museum presents archaeology, ethnology, history and art history of the Upper Soča Valley.