Hayracks are a Slovenian architectural peculiarity and represent the most recognisable constituents of the Slovenian cultural heritage. They are present in rural, suburban and even urban areas all over Slovenia; however, in modern times, they have begun to lose their primary usefulness – drying of hay and cereals. With the objective to preserve this important architectural heritage, a unique outdoor museum of hayracks will open its doors in June in the Dolenjska region.
A tourist, educational and cultural centre, where hayracks of all ages and types known in the Slovenian ethnical territory will be presented in a natural environment, will be established in the area of Šentrupert.
The mission of the outdoor museum is to raise awareness about the protection and preservation of the rich and diverse Slovenian wooden architectural heritage. It is intended to present the hayracks of the Mirna Valley, their historical development, construction and relevance as part of the Slovenian cultural heritage. At the same time, one of the objectives is to become an attractive tourist point for foreign visitors.
In any case, it is an interesting tourist product, since hayracks can primarily only be found in the territory of Slovenia – some can be found abroad, but only in Western Italy and Southern Austria, where they were erected by resident Slovenian minorities.
The 2.5 hectare area in Šentrupert is already home to 19 hayracks with a footpath running through them. The entire project will be officially opened in June.
The outdoor museum will represent all typical types of Slovenian hayracks – from single (single, single coated and single parallel) to double (low, `na kozla`, `toplar`) hayracks; moreover, `ostrv` and `mini hayracks` have also been set up, representing the most simple drying equipment. The oldest hayrack in the museum is Lukatov toplar from 1795, which is the second oldest hayrack in Slovenia and had to be thoroughly restored. The restoration was in all cases carried out in accordance with the old technology, while used elements were made from the same type of wood. Lukatov toplar is the only hayrack in the museum with a straw roof, as the racks originally had.
The municipality would like to develop the museum, for which around half of the funds were obtained through the European tenders, into an internationally-recognisable cultural and tourist destination. Besides the museum, presentations of the history of hayracks, workshops of old countryside errands, folk construction, home crafts and use of field crops will be carried out. Furthermore, the Hayrack Land provides an excellent atmosphere for the organisation of various cultural, entertainment and other events, including weddings and the almost forgotten sleeping on freshly dried hay.