Regional heritage trails net
”What grows on you even before nature does are the local inhabitants. These people distinguish themselves by their sincere demeanour, openness, kindness, eloquence and helpfulness. The true characteristics of these people are their correct dialect and inexhaustible and kind humour.” This is what Fran Levec wrote about the inhabitants of Dolenjska and Bela krajina in his book about Dolenjska and Bela krajina. The people here like to enjoy themselves. They will welcome anyone with a drop of home-made wine, something to eat and a kind word. Perhaps this is what makes this heritage so varied in these parts. Numerous places with a rich history, archaeological findings, interesting natural surroundings, a rural way of life and many other attractions that invite tourists to visit them.
Dolenjska is what we call the gentle, undulating landscape with low hills that stretches from the eastern end of the Ljubljana marshlands towards the south-east, to the Croatian border. Well, much the same, since the Gorjanci are the natural border between the centre of Dolenjska and Bela krajina, where the landscape starts changing and continues over to the neighbouring country of Croatia. The warmest Slovenian river, the Kolpa River, which is particularly popular in the summer, draws a distinctive line between Slovenia and Croatia.
While Dolenjska comprises a series of hills, exchanging picturesque fields and forests with a great number of villages and hamlets in between, which are situated either in valleys sheltered from the wind or on rounded peaks, Bela krajina is far more flat and possesses karst characteristics with forests spreading across the lowlands and vineyards across the slopes, bathing in the inviting golden autumn sun.
Someone once made a witty remark about the undulating surface of Dolenjska and said that Dolenjska does not have enough level ground to place a bottle of Cviček onto a level surface. And it is “Cviček” – the only indigenous Slovenian wine variety besides Teran – and what the inhabitants of Dolenjska pride themselves on. In the past, numerous remarks were made on account of this wine and the people who drink it; but nowadays, Cviček is a distinguished drink that goes well with elaborate culinary delicacies. It is said that Cviček, a light wine with high acidity, has a soothing effect on the digestion and does not leave you with a dizzy head after drinking a bit too much. Similarly, the inhabitants of Bela krajina will swear by their Metliška črnina, Belokranjsko belo and other varieties that are becoming increasingly more cultivated. One additional reason to try all the varieties and decide for yourself which you like most!
As the Kolpa River distinguishes and embraces Bela krajina in a large curve; the synonym for Dolenjska is the Krka River which is referred to by some as the “Pearl of Dolenjska”. This river, which has its source in the karst cave in the close proximity of the village with the same name, represents a true source of life with and an activity for the local inhabitants with its 100km long course across Dolenjska. Water is a distinct characteristic of these landscapes. Hot springs rising from the depth of a fault are what shapes this landscape beside the rivers and streams. There are two health resorts constructed around the hot springs: Dolenjske Toplice Health Resort and Šmarješke Toplice Health Resort are known both far and wide.
Numerous evidence testifies to the fact that Dolenjska and Bela krajina were settled very early in time, such as the many excavations from prehistoric times. Evidence from other historic periods also exists, each leaving a stamp on these parts in one way or another: the Iron Age, Bronze Age, the age of the Roman Empire, the Medieval age and the modern era ...
For this reason alone, we have planned a trip called the “Dolenjska and Bela krajina heritage trail”. Along the trail, you can visit the castles, medieval monasteries, familiarize yourselves with archaeological findings in the museum, discover villages with a number of small churches, health resorts, city squares and enjoy the company of the locals in their vineyards. You will get to know the magnificent gentle nature, enjoy the traditional events, admire the craft goods made by skilful craftsmen from Dolenjska and Bela krajina. This can also be done by cycling, rowing and riding on horseback or on foot – we are confident that the clean and pristine nature or the friendly local inhabitants will be therefore even more interesting and worthy of your visit.
France Režun once wrote: “If you are all ears, you can even hear the cricket singing, the sounds of animals and people at work. Here you can best notice that the spring begins in the vineyard, the summer with grasses and wheat waving in the breeze and autumn with the buckwheat flowers. By then, the power of the sun slowly fades, the atmosphere which has been filled with the humming of the bees and the fragrance of honey slowly becomes more mellow. If you then listen very carefully, you will live your life to the fullest. This is why this landscape becomes a luxury ...”
Treat yourself to this luxury that recommends itself and visit the “awakening beauty” of Dolenjska and Bela krajina ...