On the wings of folk imagination
Have you ever listened closely when someone is narrating a myth or a legend? In almost any place in Slovenia you will learn or hear an interesting story that will stir up your imagination. Let us take you to the world of the most famous Slovenian myths and legends. It is up to you to find their trails and explore the beauty of Slovenia on the wings of your imagination.
The Ljubljana Dragon
You have probably heard the legend about the Greek mythological hero Jason and the Argonauts, who stole the Golden Fleece and fled across the Black Sea, the Danube and Sava Rivers to the Adriatic Sea and continued to Greece. But you perhaps did not know that they also stopped in the Ljubljana Marshes. A fearless dragon lived there, but Jason beat him. Despite this, the dragon left his marks all around Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Can you find them? Here are some tips.
The Counts of Celje
There are many legends and stories known about the Counts of Celje. The most popular one is about the unfortunate love between Count Frederick II and Veronika of Desenice. Frederick’s father Hermann II forbade their love, locked Frederick in the castle tower and ordered the drowning of Veronika. As the legend says, Frederick was rescued by his loyal squire who brought him food through the hidden passage.
The legend of King Matjaž tells a story about the good king who ruled during the times of Carantania. He ruled during the golden era in the present-day Carinthia, which other sovereigns didn't like. So, they sent an army to fight the good king. King Matjaž and a hundred of his soldiers retreated to the hidden cave under Mount Peca and sat behind the stone table. The legend says that Matjaž will return and eliminate injustice from the world when his beard wraps around the table nine times and when a linden tree grows in front of the entrance to the cave in winter. Until then, you can explore his kingdom in many different ways.
Kayaking adventure through the underground of Mount Peca
Peca’s underground can be experienced in a special way. Paddle kayaks 700 metres below the ground through flooded and abandoned mine tunnels and on underground lakes, and experience the previous life of the mine accompanied by a former miner.
Erazem of Predjama
Erazem of Predjama was a brave knight who fought the emperor and turned into a kind of Slovenian version of Robin Hood. He fled from the emperor's army to Predjama Castle where he resisted their attacks for over a year. He received food and other necessities through the hidden passages of the Karst underground, but was later betrayed by one of his servants. The latter gave a sign to the emperor’s soldiers, who surprised Erazem, shot stone balls at him and killed him. But Erazem's spirit lives on.
The Kingdom of the Goldenhorn stretches throughout the Julian Alps. According to a legend, a golden-horned chamois used to rule this world, and his horns were the key to an immense treasure. Once upon a time, a young hunter from the Trenta Valley, who was unfortunate in love, shot at the Goldenhorn, but Triglav flowers grew from the drops of the animal’s blood and eating these gave it tremendous vitality. The Goldenhorn pushed the hunter over the precipice and in its anger destroyed the kingdom with its horns. But the treasure remains hidden in the Triglav mountain range. Find it in many natural beauties and wonders.
According to folk beliefs, the mythological hero Zeleni Jurij (“Green George”) marks the advent of spring. Although the subsequent mythological character of St. George is also glorified in other countries, especially in the Balkans, Green George became one of the main symbols of the Bela krajina region. Covered entirely in birch branches, Green George brings new hope and the promise of good harvest.
Learn the tale of the weak shepherd Peter Klepec, who was not in the good graces of his peers. When he protected the mountain fairy from the scorching sun, she thanked him by giving him supernatural powers. The boy managed to tame the wicked shepherds and also the Turks who later invaded across the Kolpa River. According to folk tradition, Peter Klepec came from Osilnica, a place surrounded by the vast Kočevsko forests along the upper reaches of the Kolpa River. Step into his land and experience it in your own way.
Pegasus, the winged horse in Rogaška Slatina
Rogaška Slatina is famous for its unique mineral water Donat Mg. Did you know that, according to the legend, Greek mythology is also connected with the discovery of this exceptional well? The Greek God Apollo told the winged horse Pegasus where to strike its hoof and open the healing well. With its discovery, Pegasus became an important part of Rogaška Slatina, as is proven by its statue in the town.
Although the story about Martin Krpan was written by the writer Fran Levstik, Slovenians took this powerful giant from Vrh pri Sveti Trojici for their hero of mythological importance. The story tells about the salt “smuggler” whose strength was once used by the emperor himself. When the horrific giant Brdavs came rumbling to Vienna, the emperor remembered Krpan immediately. To fight Brdavs, Martin Krpan used only a butcher’s axe, a bat made from the empress’ linden tree and his mare and succeeded in defeating him. As his reward, he got the licence to transport English salt.
Legend of the sunken bell
The legend of the sunken bell tells a story about the noble lady Poliksena, who, while grieving for her husband, collected all her gold and silver and used it to cast a bell for the chapel on Bled Island. But, while the bell was being transported to the island, a storm came over the lake and sunk the boat carrying the bell. The sad widow left Bled and went to a convent in Rome. When the Pope heard her story, he ordered that a new bell be made and placed in the steeple of the church on Bled Island. And this bell is said to have special powers.
Experience a fairytale at every step
As you wander around Slovenia and discover natural and cultural peculiarities, wonderful hidden corners and hospitable locals, you may get the feeling you are in a fairytale.