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Four Slovenian Villages

  • Mojca Peterka (text) Iztok Bončina (photos)
  • 25 June 2009

SEE BELOW FOR THIS ARTICLE IN SLOVENIAN / SPODAJ SI LAHKO ČLANEK PREBERETE V SLOVENŠČINI

This is an abridged version of a longer article found here / To je skrajšana verzija daljšega članka, ki ga lahko preberete tukaj

Pince in the east, Budinci in the north, Kot pri Damlju in the south and Robidišče in the west are the four villages that pin Slovenia to the map at its four extremities.

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Locals from these four villages still remember how businessmen and politicians visited them during special annual meetings in the 1990s. On these rare occasions, discontinued before the start of the new millennium, they enjoyed the country’s attention. One story told is typical of those we heard in all four villages: “It was great fun, really great. But a few years ago they stopped organising them. I went to Pince and Budinci; there were speeches, folk dances, performances. Each village had its own representatives and the event finished up with a big party. I do not know why they stopped.”

For us, the idea of exploring these little outlying places where Slovenia comes into closest contact with its neighbouring countries promised to be an interesting experience.

Pince

Our expedition to the northeast of the country takes us to Pince, the easternmost Slovenian village. In Pince, which in Hungarian means “cellar”, we interrupt Marjeta Pankasz as she is cleaning pumpkins. She is one of 200 village inhabitants, more than half of them Hungarian. Marjeta herself is a Hungarian who has lived in Pince her whole life and is fluent in Slovenian. “Even my mother went to school over the border, and to church, too. Now there is a bilingual primary school in Lendava (Slovenia) and mass in the village on Saturdays. We used to work at home on the farm; we had cows and pigs. Nowadays you won’t find a single cow in the village. Life in the village is quiet. There are no pubs or anywhere for the villagers to socialize in the evenings, but every so often they have parties in the village centre.”

For more about Pince, see the full-length article.

Budinci

Across the wide plains of Prekmurje, the northbound road descends into the rolling hill country of the Goricko region. In Budinci, we are welcomed with a gentle rustle by a local landmark: three mighty linden trees.

At Bak's farm they wine they make ages in wooden barrels

At Bak's farm they wine they make ages in wooden barrels

We stop at Bak’s Farm, as it is locally known, where workers are in the middle of bottling must (the juice of the freshly pressed grapes). “Many of our fellow villagers, born here, have been forced to move to Ljubljana to seek a better life,” says the farmer’s wife.

Tourism is a developing sector in the village, as well as elsewhere in Prekmurje. The area has found its way into cycling guidebooks and, thanks to its flat terrain, is suitable for Nordic walking (walking with poles). And, of course, more and more newcomers are seeking to settle.

For more about Budinci, see the full-length article.

Kot

Kot, the southernmost point of Slovenia, is little more than a hamlet of six houses lying on the banks of the Kolpa River, which separates it from Croatia. We stop at the nearest house, where we are greeted by Marija Špehar. Marija grew up in Kot, but today only comes to the village to visit her mother. “The village has always been rather cut off from the rest of Slovenia,” she sighs. “There used to be close connections with Croatia across the river.”

Above the village, on the slopes of an overgrown hill called Sebetih, there used to be rich vineyards. These stocked a wine shop that once occupied the middle of the village. Today the slopes are a tangle of bushes and tall grass.

Kot’s decline began in 1970s, but when a young family named Horvat moved to Kot last year, it was like a breath of fresh air. By the tranquil Kolpa River, Mrs Horvat explains what brought them to this remote village. She talks optimistically about the plans she and her husband have made. They have already renovated a 300-year-old house. They intend to restore the property to its original state and create a small open farm with a room or apartment for guests. They also hope to reopen the wine shop, to sell wine produced in the village vineyards.

For more about Kot, see the full-length article.

Robidišče

The western village of Robidišče once had a population of 300, but now counts only eight inhabitants. It lies at 700 meters above sea level, with splendid views of Italy, which surrounds it on three sides.

Rudi, one of the eight inhabitants of Robidišče, plays with his dog

Rudi, one of the eight inhabitants of Robidišče, plays with his dog

We stroll along the stone streets to the edge of the village, where we meet Mr Dante Škvor. He spent his childhood in Robidišče, but moved away as and adult. Upon retirement, he returned to the village with his wife, Vida, now the president of the Robidišče Preservation Society. Together they would like to give back to the village some of the pulse of life it had in the past. They maintain a small museum with a traditional open-hearth kitchen, and they also have a two-room apartment they let to tourists.

Fortunately,  Robidišče is already slowly reviving. Igor Cencič, who began producing sheep’s cheese and cottage cheese 10 years ago, has set up a charming little shop in the old school, now a popular spot for the many summer visitors in search of rest and local delicacies. “You have to offer something, then they will stop,” he explains.

For more about Robidišče, see the full-length article.

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IN SLOVENIAN / V SLOVENŠČINI:

This is an abridged version of a longer article found here / To je skrajšana verzija daljšega članka, ki ga lahko preberete tukaj

Štiri vasi na štirih straneh Slovenije

Pince na vzhodu, Robidišče na zahodu, Budinci na severu in Kot pri Damlju na jugu – štiri vasi, na katere je pripeta Slovenija na svojih skrajnih točkah.

Besedilo: Mojca Peterka
Fotografije: Iztok Bončina

Vsakoletna srečanja v 90-ih so povezovala tamkajšnje ljudi, vsako leto se je srečanje odvijalo v drugi vasi. Na veliko žalost prebivalcev so ta srečanja ugasnila še pred začetkom novega tisočletja: »Fajn, je bilo, fajn. Fino. Že ene par let nazaj so opustili. Jaz sem bil v Pincah, Budincih, bili so govori, folklorni plesi, nastopi, vsak kraj je imel kaj svojega, zaključek je bil z veselico. Ne vem, zakaj je to propadlo,« so bile zgodbe, ki so nama jih pripovedovali domačini vseh štirih vasi. Še dobro se spominjajo politikov, ki so se ob tej priložnosti pripeljali k njim, saj je to bila ena izmed redkih priložnosti, da so bili deležni pozornosti države.

Locals in Pince collect pumpkin seeds for making their renowned pumpkin-seed oil

Locals in Pince collect pumpkin seeds for making their renowned pumpkin-seed oil

Že sama misel na raziskovanje teh majhnih in obrobnih kotičkov, kjer se Slovenija najbolj skrajno dotika sosednjih držav, je obljubljala zanimivo doživetje.

Pince

Odprava na severovzhod države je vodila do Pinc, najbolj vzhodne, slovenske vasi. V Pincah, kar v madžarščini pomeni klet, sva Marjeto Pankasz zmotila pri čiščenju buč. V vasi živi okoli dvesto prebivalcev, več kot polovica je Madžarov. Tudi Marjeta je Madžarka, ki že vse življenje prebiva v Pincah in tekoče govori slovensko, »še moja mama je v šolo hodila v sosednjo državo, prav tako tudi k bogoslužju. Sedaj je dvojezična osnovna šola v Lendavi, maša pa poteka v vasi ob sobotah. Nekoč smo delali doma na kmetijah, imeli smo krave in prašiče. Danes v celotni vasi ne najdeš ene krave. Življenje v vasi je dokaj mirno. Gostilne, kjer bi se ob večerih družili vaščani ni, priredijo pa vsake toliko veselice pri vaškem domu.«

Če želite izvedeti več o Pincah, preberite celotni članek.

Budinci

Preko neskončne prekmurske ravnine se pot proti severu prevesi v valovito gričevje Goričkega. Z rahlim šelestenjem naju sprejme krajevna znamenitost. Tri mogočne lipe, ki stojijo ob vaškem pokopališču in nadzorujejo dogajanje nad razpotegnjeno vasjo. Ustaviva se pri Bakovih, kot se kmetiji reče po domače, kjer ravno pretakajo mošt. »Številni sovaščani, rojeni tu, so se bili prisiljeni preseliti v Ljubljano in si poiskati boljše življenje.«

Vas se, tako kot preostalo Prekmurje, turistično razvija. Omenjena je v kolesarskih vodnikih, zaradi ravnega terena je primerna za nordijsko hojo. Nenazadnje jo poseljujejo tudi prišleki, ki iščejo mir v neokrnjeni naravi.

Če želite izvedeti več o Budincih, preberite celotni članek.

The author having fun by the Kolpa River in Kot

The author having fun by the Kolpa River in Kot

Kot

Kot, najjužnejša točka Slovenije, je vas, bolje zaselek, s šestimi hišami. Leži na bregovih Kolpe, ki jo ločuje od sosednje Hrvaške. V iskanju sogovornika stopiva do najbližje hiše, kjer srečava prijetno gospo. Marija Špehar je svojo mladost preživela v Kotu, sedaj pa v vas prihaja na obisk k svoji mami. »Vas je že od nekdaj  odrezana od preostalega dela Slovenije,« zavzdihne, »in preko reke Kolpe je bila tesno povezana le s sosednjo Hrvaško.«

Vas je začela zamirati v 70-ih letih, ko so si mladi poiskali delo v Črnomlju. Ko se je v Kot lansko leto preselila mlada družina Horvat, je zavel nov veter. Polni optimizma in z jasno vizijo razvoja turizma so blizu svoje domačije spremenili travnik ob Kolpi v prostor za piknik.

Gospa Horvat optimistično pojasnjuje načrte, ki jih imata z možem. Obnovila sta 300 let staro hišo, ponovno nameravata vzpostaviti domačijo, kot je bila nekoč in v njej urediti manjšo turistično kmetijo, s sobo ali apartmajem. V vasi bosta znova odprla vinotoč, kjer bosta prodajala vino, pridelano na vaških vinogradih.

Če želite izvedeti več o Kotu, preberite celotni članek.

Robidišče

In že sva na poti proti zahodu. V vas Robidišče, včasih s tristo prebivalci, sedaj le z osmimi. Vas, ki s skoraj 700 metri nadmorske višine ponuja čudovit razgled, s treh strani obkroža Italija. Po kamniti ulici se sprehodiva do roba vasi, kjer srečava gospoda Danteja Škvora. Svoje otroštvo je preživel v Robidišču, se kasneje odselil, po upokojitvi pa  vrnil  v rodno vas. S svojo ženo Vido, ki je predsednica Društva za ohranitev Robidišča, želita v vas vnesti nekaj utripa minulih časov. Sredi vasi ohranjata majhen muzej s črno kuhinjo, imata pa tudi apartma in dve sobi, ki jih oddajata popotnikom.

Igor from Robidišče feeds his horses

Igor from Robidišče feeds his horses

Robidišče se počasi obnavlja, rastejo celo nove hiše. Igor Cencič je v Robidišču pred desetimi leti začel s proizvodnjo ovčjega sira in skute. Na začetku vasi pri stari šoli je uredil lično prodajalno, ki je kmalu postala priljubljena točka obiskovalcev. Tu se spočijejo in okrepčajo z domačimi dobrotami. »Ljudem moraš nekaj ponuditi, potem pa se ustavijo pri tebi«, je pojasnil svoje mišljenje o prihodnjem razvoju turizma v vasi.

V zahajajočem soncu, ki z zadnjimi žarki poboža vas in njene prebivalce, Rudi upajoče zavzdihne nekam proti vzhodu: »Tu bo še polno ljudi. Prepozno ni nikoli. Mogoče čez nekaj mesecev, ali nekaj let, ampak prišli bodo. To je lep kraj.«

Če želite izvedeti več o Robidišču, preberite celotni članek.

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agriculture, Europe, human interests, local knowledge, mountains, outdoors, personal experience, responsible travel, Slovenia, Southern Europe,

3 Responses to “Four Slovenian Villages”

  1. Lovely place, there is something special in this land.

  2. Stefan Simunic says:

    Thank you Mojca for this wonderful piece on Slovenia! I totally agree with Luke that Slovenia has that special something. It\’s one of my favourite countries to visit in Europe and I have many fond memories of my time there.

  3. Luke Ford says:

    Slovenia is such a beautiful country, and such a contrast to her neighbours. I really enjoyed reading this article about the four villages of Slovenia meeting together. Of all the places I have visited in Europe… Slovenia had that special something that would make you return! Thank you Mojca for this detailed account of Slovenian life. 🙂

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