ROMANTIC DESTINATION Planica, an isolated and tranquil village resting under the slopes of the Pohorje Massif where houses disperse like a flock of tame birds offers many treats—fresh air, beautiful scenery, vibrant colours, delicious homemade food and unforgettable moments.
TOURIST DESTINATION The Church of St. Anne (Cerkev Sv. Ane) in the village of Fram. The Pavec Chapel (Pavčeva kapela) in the Planica hamlet. The 300-year-old Vešner Homestead (Vešnerjeva domačija) is an ethnological monument that has stood the test of time. It is well-known for its beautiful herb garden and delicious home-grown produce.
CHILDREN’S DESTINATION The Pohorje forests, glades and streams are home to a variety of animals, including deer, chamois, rabbits, and capercaillies to name but a few. A popular local sight is the 10-meter-high Potnik Chestnut (Potnikov kostanj). With a girth of nearly 8 meters in circumference it is one of the broadest sweet chestnut trees in Slovenia, and is protected as a dendrological monument. Another prominent arboreal specimen is the Potnik Spruce (Potnikova smreka) that stands on a rock splint traversing a brook. It measures 2.4m in circumference and is 35m high.
GOURMET DESTINATION The traditional Pohorje pisker is a popular stew prepared using a variety of common local ingredients: potatoes, carrots, cabbages, leeks, barley porridge, spelt, and mushrooms. It typically contains meat, but a vegetarian version may also be available. The dish that was traditionally made by local grandmothers is currently receiving increasing recognition, with many claiming it is the best stew they have ever tasted. An equally delicious treat for true food lovers is Ajdovi žganci, buckwheat mush typically served with mushroom soup and tasty bread baked in a wood-fired oven. Other scrumptious local dishes include the Pohorje bunka, a quality dried meat product made of pork, Meso iz tunke, thermally-processed meat sunk in lard, Zaseka, minced lard, and Gibanica, a layered pastry with a walnut or cottage cheese filling.
Opening hours: Friday–Sunday: by prior arrangement
Distance from major Slovenian towns: Maribor: 18 km • Ptuj: 25 km • Celje: 45 km • Celje: 67 km • Novo mesto: 108 km Ljubljana: 115 km • Kranj: 128 km • Nova Gorica: 209 km • Koper: 224 km Starting point: Hunting lodge/Lovski dom (670 MASL) • The Church of the Holy Cross/Cerkev sv. Križa (695 MASL) • The Potnik Spruce/Potnikova smreka (650 MASL) • The Potnik Chestnut/Potnikov kostanj (695 MASL) The Vešner Cave/Vešnerjeva jama (725 MASL) • The Vešner Homestead/Vešnerjeva domačija (755 MASL)
Planica, an alpine valley in the northwest of Slovenia, situated under the Ponce mountains at approximately 600–900 meters above sea level, is famous for its ski jumping. The sport events bring hundreds of people to Planica, which comes alive during the winter months. Nevertheless, there is another Planica—the more peaceful, less pompous and less notorious one. And that is exactly how we could describe the village of Fram, which lies at its foot and has a long tradition of producing quality pumpkin seed oil. Lying at the crossroads of the Pohorje Massif and the Drava Plain, Fram used to be quite lively due to various saw, oil and other mills powered by water wheels. They were moved by channelled streams flowing from the slopes of Pohorje, and at its heyday, there were nearly 90 of them.
Pohorje has always been a stronghold of Slovenian patriotism and determination. Towards the end of World War II, the hamlet of Planica above Fram became a local centre of the Slovenian resistance movement. As repercussion, on 24 of September 1944 the German occupier burned the hamlet to the ground.
Today, Planica is an idyllic rural community with exquisite natural treasures and genuine homeliness. Here one can escape the bustle of everyday life, and drink in the beautiful sceneries and other features of a peaceful countryside of Slovenia. The village has approximately 150 residents. The farming families make their living by livestock breeding and forestry, even though many members maintain regular jobs as well. Planica is well-known for its well-visited tourist farms. While one farm bears a true treasure–a beautiful herbal garden, another allows you to stay on vacation! But without exception, all of them will serve you delicious homemade food.
Shelter in the Woods The hunting lodge is a starting point in the true sense of the word. Signposts at the local car park suggest that travellers are about to embark on a wonderful adventure. The building was constructed in 1904 and was initially used as a primary school. The first teacher was Ignac Škrbinšek who was also a fruit farmer. He is remembered for giving a fruit sapling to every pupil who finished school. Ignac Škrbinšek was of great importance to the Planica hamlet because he brought to it and planted many varieties of apples and pears. The last teacher was Ivo Jošt who owned the first television in the village. The school was later closed due to the shortage of pupils, and the building was then transferred into the ownership of the local hunting association who rebuilt it to fit their many purposes. Another prominent tree worth mentioning is a mighty linden tree. With a circumference of 3.22m and height of 26m, it is one of the tallest linden trees in Slovenia.
The Planica Sacral Gem - The Church of the Holy Cross (Cerkev Sv. Križa) 695 MASL Return to the asphalt road, and after a short descent you will reach the bus stop. There is a tourist information panel featuring a map of Planica with some of the visitor attractions. Head uphill, and while being treated to the spectacular views you will reach the front of the Church of the Holy Cross. (point 2, 695 MASL) The oldest part of this succursal church is the original Chapel of the Holy Spirit, which was built before 1679 and is still preserved in today’s sacristy. The rest of the church was built in 1816 and restored in 1882. This single-nave church with altar apse has a bell tower leaning against one of its side walls, and you can enter the semi-circular chapel by walking through it. The interior of the church is vaulted. This church is an important cultural monument. Holy masses are celebrated on the first Sunday of each month at 14:00. According to Slovenian tradition, a maypole, which is a symbol of freedom, is traditionally erected on the last Sunday in April. The celebration of the patron saint of the church is held on the last Sunday in September at 10:00, and is followed by a church sociable. The church and its surroundings are well-kept. However, the church is not the only thing that catches the eye. It is surrounded by three majestic lindens, which are dendrological natural monuments in their own right. The broadest is of 2.91m in circumference and 15m tall. Under the lindens, the benches invite you to take a seat and relax.
Spruce above a Stream - The Potnik Spruce 650 MASL Return to the last crossroad, where the signpost will direct you to the pathway that leads into the gorge with a stream. Descend for a while along its bank until you reach the astonishing wonder of nature—the Potnik Spruce (point 3, 650 MASL). The Potnik Spruce, too, is a protected dendrological natural monument. In its immediate vicinity are the remains of a disused marble quarry, which is classified as a geological resource. The Potnik Spruce was named after the nearby homestead, i.e. the Potnik Homestead. It is not extraordinary in terms of its dimensions: its diameter at breast height is “only” 0.9m and it is 38m tall. The Pohorje Massif is abundant with such spruces, some of which are even broader. What makes the Potnik Spruce unique is its natural site; it sprouted on a small bridge above the stream, while its roots extend into both banks. The bridge is a peculiarity on its own. It consists of white fine-grained marble, which, in the past, was used by the locals as building and decorativematerial. Its beauty was recognized already by the Ancient Romans who used it to build the Roman Necropolis in the Šempeter ob Savinji settlement and the Orpheus Monument in the town of Ptuj. In its natural form, marble can be observed in the nearby disused quarry. The bridge, upon which the spruce thrives today, used to be a part of a transport path from the quarry. Organic substance, which has accumulated over time, and sufficient humidity created a perfect environment for the tree to grow and thrive.
Dendrological monument - The Potnik Chestnut 695 MASL Following the same path, you return to the gravel path that then leads to the asphalt road. Then you go right at the sharp turn and after several turns of pleasant strolling, you finally arrive at the Potnik Homestead (Potnikova domačija). Right next to it you are greeted by the Potnik Chestnut – a dendrological natural monument of Slovenian-wide importance (point 4,695 MASL) and if we want to hug that giant tree, we would need quite a few arms. The Potnik Chestnut is one of the widest sweet chestnut trees not only on the Pohorje Massif but also more widely in Slovenia. In 2007 the circumference of the tree trunk measured exactly 9 meters but there is also another sweet chestnut in the tree’s close vicinity, with a circumference of 5.5 meters. Both chestnuts belong to the so-called shade trees, not only because they are planted in the immediate vicinity of the house but also to add shade to the property. The purpose was to provide protection from the sun, win and lightning strikes. Furthermore, the trees offer bedding, bee gazing, decorative branches, fruits (chestnuts) and chestnut flowers for making herb tea (linden). Several generations of owners raised and took care of those trees, even grew up with them. In many cases shade trees grew to exceptional dimensions. Thus, it is not surprising that in Slovenia a lot or even most of very wide trees are part of this category. Particularly, trees planted near castles or churches are included into this category as well. In the past, both Potnik Chestnuts have endured difficult times: they were struck by lightning, damaged by stormy gusts or heavy snow and its roots sustained heavy damage due to road constructions. As a result their tree trunks are lumpy and hollowed, their bark deeply furrowed, and parts of treetops are dying off or showing symptoms of fungal infection. On the other hand, both produce new growth and yield fruits. Albeit, how much longer? This is difficult to say, as we do not know their age. The wider of the trees is believed to be around 600 years old. That said, however, in favorable habitat and soil sweet chestnuts can live up to 1,000 years, so the Potnik chestnut might continue to grow for many years, decades or even centuries.
Geomorphological monument Following the signpost, continue your way to the Vešner cave (Vešnerjeva jama) (point 5, 725 MASL). This geomorphological natural monument can be reached after a few minutes of walking through the woods. A large karst spring is located some 100 m away. Seeping through the cracks in the marble, water is transported to the spring through underground caverns. After 1 km, the spring flows into the Brunik brook, which is the left affluent of the Polskava stream. Measuring just 2x1 m, the Vešner cave is too narrow and too steep to allow descent without appropriate protective equipment. Compared to Slovenia’s myriad of caves – to date more than 8,000 have been discovered – the Vešner cave with a depth of just 9 m seems to be small and insignificant. And yet it is unique. The majority of Slovenian caves are carved out in limestone rocks. The Vešner cave, however, is formed in marble and is the only one of its kind in Slovenia! Marble is a metamorphic rock formed through metamorphosis or transformation of limestone and dolomite rocks. Because of its soluble structure, karst caves can be formed even in marble. In Slovenia, limited marble deposits can be found on the Pohorje Massif and the Kozjak Mountains. Because of its unique appearance, marble is popular with Slovenian builders, present and past. On the slope to the right of the Vešner Cave, there are remains of a smaller quarry, where marble used to be mined in the antiquity. However, the Vešner Cave is not unique only for its geological origin. Despite its small size, it offers protection to some unique cave inhabitants such as grasshoppers, spiders and bats. It is thus important the cave remains unpolluted and intact.
A Journey in the Pohorje Past - The Vešner Homestead 755 MASL Return to the main road, follow the turns and continue uphill. As if you had suddenly turned back time for a few centuries – the Vešner Homestead appears before your eyes (point 6, 755 MASL). The building is a cultural monument of national importance and an ethnological monument, depicting the simple lifestyle though different historic periods. The over two centuries old building has been authentically renovated and can be visited by appointment. It is built from stone and wood and covered with a tufted straw roof. The residential part of the house has three vaulted basements. The Vešner Homestead is a perfect example of a secluded homestead, which is typical of the Pohorje and has almost completely preserved the building stand of a former subsistence farm. The buildings were progressively built in the early 19th century. The residential house is particularly prominent. It is covered with straw, has a black kitchen and a perpendicularly attached outbuildings (barn, hayloft, granary and fruit press). The whole complex is a unique example of an excellently preserved homestead.
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