The Slovenia Times

Three Communites



The area of present-day Metlika was inhabited as far back as prehistoric times. The town has a good strategic position below the winegrowing hill Veselica, and the water which once surrounded the old town provided a good natural defence throughout its history. This was much-needed, for Metlika survived invasion by the Turks, earthquakes, fires and other turbulent events in its 640 years of existence. The Bela krajina Museum, which is based in the Metlika Castle, opened in 1951. The permanent exhibition, consisting of numerous objects, spatial representations, pictorial and documentary material, presents local lifestyles from prehistoric times to the mid-20th century. Visitors can also see a 15 minute film "The Images of Bela krajina." Worth checking out are the Gangl Gallery with temporary exhibitions, the Slovene Fire Brigades Museum, the Kambic Gallery and the shops Beti and Komet. Children can enjoy themselves at a fun fair behind the Metlika castle. Near Metlika is the village of Rosalnice with its renowned "Tri fare" ("Three Parishes") pilgrimage site, a group of three Gothic churches from the 14th and 15th centuries, which are squeezed together behind a high churchyard wall. The churches stand side by side; the northern church is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, the central church is Ecco Homo (Behold the Man) and the southern church is dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. All three churches still contain their original Gothic presbyteries and are therefore, from an architectural point of view, the most important examples of gothic architecture in Bela krajina. In a forest glade near the village of Rozanec, there is a preserved temple to the sun god Mithra from Roman times. A curious sight can be found along the road from Crnomelj to Metlika, in the direction of the village Otok: a DC-3 aeroplane. The plane is dedicated to all Slovenian and Bela krajina airports operating during the time of the National Liberation Front. The plane can be seen at any time. The recreational airport Prilozje lies in the vicinity. The Krnica Tourist Association offers some local hand-made products from different parts of Bela krajina: clay flasks, head-coverings, weed bottles, wooden dustpans, slippers made of maize bast, wicker baskets and other straw baskets and embroidery work. Painted Easter eggs called "belokranjske pisanice" are famous far and wide; a skilled craftswoman can make up to 20 "pisanice" in an hour. A particularly beautiful and artistic type of Easter egg is the "drsanke," a painted egg whose image is created by a knife on the painted surface. This is a very demanding task which can take a long time to complete. Crnomelj Crnomelj was first mentioned in 1228, under the name "Schirnomel." Today, it is the biggest settlement in Bela krajina. The town's old centre is situated on a promontory in a narrow bend where the Lahinja and Doblicica rivers meet. It is called "a town above a town" because of its rich archaeological finds. The remains of buildings and walls from the Roman period and the Middle Ages can be seen through the glass floor of the Pastoral Centre. Another attraction is the Malericeva House where art and craft products are exhibited and sold (Bela krajina Easter eggs, braided bread, etc.). History lovers should visit the museum collection in the castle. Semic Semic was first mentioned in the 13th century and was named after the castle, which stood below the hill Semenic. The town extends along the foothills of the Kocevski Rog mountain chain and along the slopes of the Gorjanci mountain chain. If you take the train, you can experience the most spectacular view when you emerge from the Semic tunnel. White houses and vineyard cottages are dotted between vineyards, and underneath them is the Semic square with the shining St. Stefan parish church. Nearby are the Smuk flatlands, a haven for hunters and nature-lovers. The source of the Krupa River is the largest and one of the most beautiful and biologically important karst springs in Bela krajina. The spring is the habitat of the cave salamander (Proteus Anguinus) and the only known habitat of the cave mussel (congeria kusceri) in Slovenia. When the water level is high, the river flows from under the steep, 60-meter-high rock wall at the rate of 1,000 litres per second into a lake with an island in the middle, then cascades over the waterfall and flows into the Lahinja River. In the vicinity are three karstic caves - the Malikovec cave, the Lebica cave and the Judovska hiSa cave. If you appreciate honey and its related products, visit the Pavlin family beekeepers, who have sixty years of experience in ecological beekeeping. They have received numerous awards for their honey, medica, propolis, pollen, royal jelly, various honey mixtures and beeswax candles. They offer tours of their beekeeping operation with a professional description of the products they make and sampling of their many products, including honey wine, homemade bread, honey baked goods, etc.


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