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Intertwining of lace and mercury in Idrija

From 20 to 22 June the 33rd international festival of world-famous Idrija lace will be held in the historic town of Idrija. The three-hundred-year-old tradition of bobbin lace-making sees a revival in the oldest mining town in Slovenia, which has been placed on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites. Each year the event is a harbinger of summer when Slovenia is brimming with open-air festivals. Idrija Tourism invites all tourism media and journalists wishing to cover the traditional event to a three-day Lace Press Visit which will take place from 20 to 22 June 2014. For further details, interested journalists can contact .

The Idrija Lace Festival fills the historic centre of Idrija, 50 kilometres from Ljubljana, with numerous visitors from all around the globe. The event links the remarkable tradition of Idrija lace makers and its miners. Lace-making developed when the Idrija mercury mine, the onetime second largest one in the world, was at its peak 300 years ago. The craft was established and turned into an art form by the miners’ wives, who also set up a Lace School, which is recognised far and wide.

The first evening of the Lace Press Visit will be marked by the opening ceremony of the Idrija Lace Festival, the raising of the festival flag and a treat at Gewerkenegg Castle. On the next day you will hear the story about the foundation and development of the oldest Slovenian mining town. You will find out about a tub maker who first bucketed mercury while soaking his buckets. You will get to know Napoleon’s lover from Idrija, with the telling nickname The Dog Countess. Dressed in green and black overcoats and equipped with a helmet, you will enter the mysterious underworld of the miners from Idrija through Anthony`s Shaft. Miner’s House will be fragrant with the famous Idrija žlikrofi, a protected Slovenian culinary showpiece.

Among the stands put up in the town centre you will be able to chat with the first ladies of lace from the Association of Lace Makers. Try holding the wooden thread bobbins between your fingers yourself! A fashion event featuring the latest lace-making trends and lace body painting will be a feast for the eyes as well. On the third day a parade of lace makers accompanied by the Miners’ Brass Band will lead you from the Lace School to the venue of the national lace-making competition for children and adults. In the International Centre of Idrija Lace you will be able to make your own lace. At the farmers’ market bread from the traditional Slovenian bread oven will be served alongside delicious local cheeses, curd and yoghurt from Idrijske Krnice. You can also try a herbal liqueur or tea from Herb House.

Snow-white Idrija lace is part of Slovenian cultural and historical heritage and a world phenomenon. While on a visit to Slovenia last year, Japanese Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko made a stop at the lace-making school in Idrija where they marvelled at the lace masterpieces. The Princess was so taken with the lace that she even wrote a poem about her experience and presented it at the traditional reading by members of the Japanese imperial family. Princess Kiko dedicated her poem to the silent language of children’s hands creating Idrija lace.



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