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Instameet Brdo Estate – Brdo pri Kranju

Autumn colors are in full blow but won’t remain for long. So it is a right moment for the next #instameet in the right surroundings of The Brdo Estate Park. Park is now open for public and represents a unique study of history, culture, architecture and nature thanks to 500 years of uninterrupted development. Many of the park’s trails lead visitors past buildings from various historical times. We’ll have free entry and a guidance.

Instameet will take place on Saturday, 29th October at 14.30 until sunset. Meeting point is at the reception of Hotel Brdo where we will start with a coffee and some introduction. 

Hastags: #instameetbrdo #brdoestate

Due to the limited number of participants an email application is obligatory: info@igslovenia.si.

More about this unique location from their web page:

A mansion was built there already in 1446. Most ob the 20th century it was closed for public – between 1935 and 1941 Brdo was under the ownership of the Karađorđević family (Prince Paul of Yugoslavia and his wife Olga). They thoroughly restyled the castle and the land and Brdo soon became one of the most beautiful estates in Yugoslavia; a luxurious government summer residence. Besides the royal family, only a few chosen ones were allowed to access the estate. After the war it became a residence of Josip Broz Tito and even today it is in a protocolar use.

Between 1785 and 1790 Karl Zois designed the first Alpine botanical garden in Slovenia. He planted it with a variety of Alpine plants, which he  collected on his mountain hikes. In addition to the botanical garden, the Brdo park also had two promenades, a viewing platform, a baroque park, a tree nursery, and the flower, winter and party gardens. At the end of the 18th century 10.686 plants already thrived in Brdo park (7.446 tropical plants and more than 3.000 fruit trees).

It was renovated many times since than but always around nature and beauty. Beautiful old trees and ponds with a castle and cottages on the estate are worth visiting for themselves. Autumn is a particularly interesting due to different colors of the nature and beautiful view at the surrounding mountains in clear weather can make your day and photo.

Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

Koper – Capodistria

Warning: all shots taken with iPhone and edited with Snapseed!

Koper is the biggest and most industrialised of the three Slovenian coast cities (other two being Izola and Piran). Luckily, as with the most of the medieval cities, it was difficult to ruin it’s old city centre which overlooks Luka Koper (Port of Koper), the biggest port in the region.

 

Koper, the oldest town in Slovenia, developed on a rocky island with the Roman name Capris.It underwent a lot of  changes of various reigns and states, all of which marked the city with their specific traits and names. Koper was called Capris in Roman times, in the times of the pope Gregory I (599) Insula Capraria (“goat island”), Iustinopolis under the Byzantine Empire (between mid 6th and 8th centuries) and Caput Histriae (‘head of Istria’) by the Aquileia Patriarchs. The Venetians rendered that name into the Italian form, Capodistria.

The longest reign over the city was that of the Venetian Republic (1279-1797), when Koper experienced economic (trade, salt production) and cultural prosperity (painting, music). The Venetian period is still echoed by the city architecture; despite numerous modern interventions, it has preserved its medieval character, with the city of Koper being a member of the European Association of Medieval Cities. In the Middle Ages, Koper was an island surrounded by walls and connected with the mainland with a wood bridge in the direction of Škocjan. It was protected by a mighty fortress – Lion Castle, and surrounded by vast saltpans. Koper’s importance began to diminish in the 18th century, when Trieste was proclaimed a free port, and ultimately ended with the downfall of the Venetian Republic.

The main square, Titov trg, is located on the top of the small hill and with it’s surrounding buildings represents an architecture jewell. Despite Koper’s Venetian character we start the tour with a Gothic town loggia which closes off the north side of the main square. It is located opposite the Praetor’s Palace and represents its open antithesis. There is a caffe bar Loggia overlooking the square but it’s opening times are mysterious.

All the interesting buildings around the square are pretty huge and difficult to capture, especially if you use only a phone. The usual crowd around doesn’t make it any easier so it takes a sound compromise to get some of what you want. The Cathedral stands in the nucleus of Koper and dominates the area between the east side of the main square  and Brolo Square (trg Brollo). The three-nave Romanesque space with three apses was built in the second half of the 12th century. In the middle of the square, right next to the west façade, stands a mighty self-supporting bell tower repaired as a city tower in the 15th century.  The upper terrace is periodically open and offers a great view of the Bay of Trieste. Don’t expect any privacy up there.

Newly renovated Verdi Street takes you to the city walls above the Marina with a nice view at the Port. Turning back to the main square you can get a nice shot of the Praetors’s palace (at least a part of it). Turning right at the vista point leads you into the labyrinth of narrow streets full of cats, entrances into small gardens and some nice urbex motifs. With some luck you would find yourself at Ribiški trg (Fishing Square), just in the neighbourhood of the Port. Find Verdijevo nabrežje street and follow it apart from the Port. Buildings at your left are built on the land which used to be a sea not so far away hence the port equipment at the sidewalk.

A few meters before the roundabout enter the Muda Gate which has been and will remain the main continental city gate of Koper. The preserved triumphant arch portal and the building behind it were constructed in1516.

This is a one-arched triumphant arch that leads through a wide covered area to the inner part of the city.  It used to be a tollhouse station and through it had to pass all the visitors to the city who had arrived along the embankment from the land.  The stone outer frame of the entrance is Renaissance, from the Venetian workshop of the Lombardis. Above the high barrelled arch stands a later triangular gable.

The square behind the door, Prešernov trg, with charming old buildings is much more photo friendly than the main square.

The small Da Ponte fountain there is a bit harder to get a good shot at but it has a great history.

A subaquatic aqueduct connected the island of Koper to the mainland as early as the end of the 14th century. By the 16th century, the 10,000 inhabitants of the city were facing a water shortage, rainwater cisterns having become inadequate. In the 17th century, Niccolò Manzuoli recorded the city water supply, noting that a 2-mile distant spring at Colonna was piped to the island via wooden underwater tubes, some of which have been unearthed during excavations by modern archeologists.

The current fountain dates from 1666, replacing an older one on the same site. Its superstructure is in the shape of a bridge, surmounting an octagonal water basin surrounded by fifteen pilasters, each bearing the arms of local noble families who had contributed funds toward the fountain. The fountain was used as a source of potable water until 1898.

Again the narrow streets lead the way around or back to the main square but they are much more crowded.

This time we are to leave the main square just left of the Verdi Street, heading to the public port and the beach. It takes a very good stomach or a really hot day to swim so close to the commercial port but the beach is always crowded and sights spectacular. What about swimming with a tanker instead of a shark?

The view from the peer is open to the sunset though and any obstacles can be used to your advantage.

Processed with Snapseed.

 

Just a hundred meter back to the main square is a deserted high apartment building waiting for deconstruction. It was built in the times of fast industrialisation for the workers of one of the big factories just in the front of the old city. Nobody cared much about such things back then and it really hurts the eyes now so it is a good thing to be deconstructed. But on the other hand it used to offer the best view of the city and it’s inland background…

…and of the remaining part of the Slovenian coast too.

Useful information, also used in the text: slovenia.info and wiki.

Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

 

Maribor

Maribor is the second-largest city in Slovenia with a population close to 100K. The biggest and the oldest part of the city is located on the left bank of the Drava river. Probably are the vineyards which surround it, peaceful Pohorje Hills nearby and a lenghty shore of the river that create a special, somewhat Mediterranean easy going atmosphere in the city.

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City centre is relatively small and not difficult to find one’s way around.  A stroll from Glavni trg to  Slovenska ulica in the north would take only a couple of minutes and from Titova cesta on the east towards Strossmayeryeva ulica on the west shouldn’t last much longer. Huge majority of everything regarding architecture and history lies inside that square. But take your time and enjoy places on your way.

trgGrajski trg (Castle Square) with Kavarna Astoria and of course with the castle itself is a lively place on sunny days. Turn round at the castle tower and enjoy the view of the Franciscan church since it is difficult to find a shot from the other side, cars free. Always better to have some crowd and a  musician on the photo than some cars:)

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There is no history without a dark side, that day it was just around the corner, on the Trg svobode.

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Maribor is full of small parks and there is a huuuuuge (5 hectares) Mestni park (City Park) just north of the city centre, connecting the urban part of the city with the vineyards  covering the Piramida Hill just above the town.

parkkuglaThis is a classic view, but it is not difficult to find your own.

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A lot of trees and many of them are 140 years old. Should I add that autumn is the best time to play around with camera?

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Park is a beautiful combination of free space and order.

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Turning south-east near  Trije ribniki (Tree ponds, used to be a famous restaurant) would lead you to the Railway Station and Bus Station, further back to the city centre. Some pretty amazing details there.

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The back view was also worth a shot.

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A few hundred meters behind the bus station is an access to the river, close to the Railway Bridge. One could easily turn back to the city centre here because there is only a car park behind the station and the buildings across the street are new and ugly. But following the street to the south and crossing the road which goes along the river pays off heavily if you like that kind of view.

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It is necessary to return to the road from here and follow the river upstream but  first opportunity to go back to the river bank is just a few hundred meters away. From there on a path is always close to the water but the best views start again after the next bridge. This is Lent, the oldest part of the city with some amazing old buildings. It is a very popular place to eat and hang around with a lot of sun and plenty restaurants. Unfortunately parked cars can ruin your desired motif.stolp

Water Tower from 1555 was a part of the defence structure of the city. In reality it is not a tower at all and has nothing to do with the water. Well, almost nothing since wine is mostly – water and the tower now hosts an enoteca.

Over the water is another world and only a small part of old building worth to explore but you can cross the river and take a shot back at the Lent. A good photo from the other side requires more serious gear than a phone.

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We have found enough beautiful motifs on the Lent itself, like this one bellow the Koroški Bridge.

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Also on a beautiful sunny day one can find a photo opportunity without people in the way.

trtaMuch more difficult is find a moment without crowd in front of the Old Vine, the oldest vine in the world. The confirmed age is about 400 years and it still bears grapes. About 100 2,5, dl bottles are filled every year. It is an official THE sight of the city and is a must for all tourist groups but believe me – you can find a lot more in Maribor for your photographic thirst than that.

All information available regarding Maribor you can find in the link at the beginning of this post. For more photo inspirations about Maribor I can strongly recommend Igor Unuk who also acted as a photo guide during our Maribor #instameet.

Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

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Above Lake Bled in a hot air balloon

To be honest, I do not like anything that has  to do with heights. I am not a fan of flying and bungee jumping is usually only a part of my nightmares. Nevertheless, when Domen from 3glav adventures invited me to try hot air ballooning over Lake Bled I couldn’t resist and even haven’t thought much about how high would we go and how would I feel up there. All I had on my mind was that flying over Lake Bled should mean amazing views. Lots of them!

Since hot air balloon can only move up and down and everything else depends on the winds, it took us 2 weeks to find a day that worked for all of us (meaning that I had time, 3glav adventures was available and weather conditions were perfect). However, it was well worth the trouble!

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Mission number 1 was getting the balloon standing up. Since I could not help, I was searching for any option to take that ‘classic Instagram’ photo of a person walking inside the balloon. Forget it! Huge fans, ropes all around, hot air … it was simply too dangerous to get so close. This is all I got. 😀

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Once the balloon was up everything went very fast. Suddenly there was Bled Island bellow us and I hardly managed to snap a few photos of it before we were already flying over the Bled Castle. Amazing! The perspective up there is sooooo different! I probably forgot to breathe in the first minutes of the flight since there was so much going on and there were so many amazing views.

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At this stage, we were flying about 300 meters above ground and I had no time to panic. Changing phones in my hands ( I always carry around two phones), trying even to do some photos with the camera … I hardly noticed that things below us became really small. Well, we were already on 1.300 metres above Lake Bled. The views were spectacular! Once again, there was not much space and time for panic attacks.

 

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Some ‘panic time’ was available when balloon was slowly descending but all I had to do was to look around and the beauty of what I saw had calmed me down. Just before landing I had an opportunity to take last few photos and that was it. The end.

This was one of the best (photo) experiences I had in my life and the best one since I’ve started to work on @igslovenia project. Not only I was able to see Lake Bled in a way I have never seen it before, I also had the chance to do it with a bunch of great people. No, I am not saying this because I’m a nice person or somebody asked me to. It is plain and simple truth. There are people and there are teams that just know their business and know what people want and need. Team 3glav adventures for sure is one of them and I can easily say: Whatever sport activity you are planning near Lake Bled – check 3glav adventures.

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PS: All the photos were taken by Iphone6.

 

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Lake Cerknica

Lake Cerknica, the largest disappearing (intermittent) lake in Slovenia, is one of my favourite places in Slovenia to photograph. It might not have the charm of Ljubljana castle or the definitive beauty of Lake Bled, but it has something more. I would call it the ‘raw beauty’ or simple beauty of nature that is changing all the time! When full, Lake Cerknica is the biggest lake in Slovenia, when there is not a lot of water you will ‘only see’ fields on which cattle can graze. But not only water, everything changes here, paths, colours, boats, trees, flowers … you just have to keep returning and discovering new point of views.

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If you are looking for a short (photo) visit just park your car near the Museum of Lake Cerknica and walk down by the road. Most of the photos you can see here were taken from the road. To discover the real magic of the lake and its surroundings take your time! Check all the paths you can find, search for boats in the water, sinkholes, rent a bicycle (another thing that you can to on the spot, at the Museum). Don’t forget! The lake freezes in the winter and you will see many people ice-skating on the lake!

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Robanov Kot Valley

Robanov Kot Valley is a small, scenic Alpine Valley tucked under summits of Križevnik, Molička Peč, Veliki Vrh, Mala Ojstrica, Krofička and Strelovec. Like the nearby Logar Valley, Robanov Kot was also created by a glaciar during the last ice age. No valley is perfect without some creek or river, so also Robanov Kot needs one; Bela stream, a tributary of the Savinja River runs through the valley not far away from the few farmhouses. Robanov Kot Valley is perfect for hiking and climbing, but the amazing views give enough photo opportunities also for photographers.

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If you combine your visit here with visiting also the Logar Valley and Rinka Waterfall, your day will be perfect.Try to avoid visiting in high season (July, August) since you can be here (almost) alone in other months. For taking photos; Early mornings are probably the best. If you are lucky, you will catch some morning mists and be able to observe sun rays slowly spreading throughout the valley.

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