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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.

drevBut it was not difficult to proceed on the sunny side.

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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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Moravci – Moravske Toplice

That the village changed it’s name in 1983 tells all what is about to know – it means Moravci Spas and the whole village is dedicated to accommodation of tourist. Village Moravske Toplice lies just a few kilometers from Murska Sobota, the capital of the Prekmurje region. Prekmurje means “land over Mura river” and is a part of Pannonian basin or Pannonian Lowlands, a large geographical unit of Central Europe, most of it lies in Hungary.

While in other parts of Slovenia it is literally impossible not so see a mountain or at least some hills somewhere nearby, Prekmurje is different. The eastern part is totally flat and called Ravensko (Flatland), north of Murska Sobota is a more hilly part called Goričko but the highest “peak” of it is 418m above the sea.

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The region is completely different from the other parts of Slovenia. Not only are landscapes different, also language and food differs. Most  Slovenians wouldn’t understand locals speaking in their dialect since it is heavily based on the Hungarian language. But they are extremely kind and hospitable. Food is heavy but delicious and the prices are very low compared to central and western parts of Slovenia.

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We are not looking for spectacular landscape photography here and there are no real landmarks around. But on the other hand one can find plenty of beautiful nature motifs just wandering around.

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Fog is very common at all times of the year and when it is just a morning fog with the sun slowly penetrating it one just wishes it would last forever.

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Prekmurje doesn’t have a lot of snow either – it is hot during the summer and mild but wet in the winter, only eastern winds are not very pleasant at that time. It is a great destination all year round and not only for spas – hiking and biking around the flats, Mura river and Goričko Nature Park can fill quite a few holiday days. Bukovnica Lake with it’s energy points is very interesting part of it.

golfvodaThere are many private accommodations available but the best and biggest spas and hotels belong to Sava Turizem, one of the largest hotels chains in Slovenia and adjacent to their hotels there is also a great golf course Livada. It is open all year round and it has the longest Par 5 hole in Slovenia. Some of the most spectacular motifs are to find on and around the course.

lokvanjiThere is also a plenty of water around and combined with the fog and sun a golfer can really enjoy the nature and photography.

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Autumn can be of a special beauty there.

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Nature never fails to offer great photo opportunities for attentive eye.

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Even sunsets are different here since the horizon is unobstructed with hills.

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More about Moravske Toplice and Prekmurje region.

Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

 

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Sorica

Sorica is a picturesque village on the farthest SW slopes of the Škofja Loka Hills (Škofjeloško hribovje). Officially it belongs to the Železniki Municipality but it’s first inhabitants settled here much before Železniki in Selška Valley had began to develop, probably as early as 1291. They came from Tyrol and were sent here to exploit the waste woods for the benefit of the Bishops of Freising from Bavaria who used to own both territories.

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Even Železniki and Selška Valley are not on the beaten tourist track, Sorica even less since it is a 20 minute drive into the hills away. But it is positioned at the interesting crossroads. One road from here leads to the Upper Primorska region (Tolmin) through very narrow valley Baška grapa. The road is a very windy and extremely narrow one but it is definitely worth a try. Second road is even more interesting since it connects Sorica (and Upper Primorska) with Bohinjsko Lake and of course also with Bled and Lake Bled.

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No, this is not a road to  Bohinj Lake, that one is an ordinary concrete road and much better that the one to Primorska. It passes a ski resort Soriška planina which is still a pasture land during the summer.

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In fact Sorica consists of two parts, Spodnja (Lower) and Zgornja (Upper) Sorica, the later being squeezed between two slopes. In the background Ratitovec overlooks the scenery as it does the majority of Selška Valley and surrounding hills and villages. It is the last mountain (SE) of the Julian Alps and even the last of the whole Alps.

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Over the veduta of Spodnja Sorica is a good view on Davča, village of isolated farms which takes place over 10 km in lenght and covers similar area as the capitAl of Slovenia, Ljubljana. A church marks the entrance into the village what is also specific for the settlements around here – church is not in  the centre of the village but rather on the hill near it.

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This territory didn’t have good traffic connections with others so a specific dialect developed here, in the even more distant village of Danje a few km above Sorica even Tyrolean dialect was spoken well into 20th century (1950), which had nothing in common with Slovenian language.

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Also the architecture of the houses is based on the Tyrolean architecture.

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Today Sorica is best known among bikers and gliders and being a hometown of Ivan Grohar, famous Slovenian impressionist painter and traces of the rich history are slowly giving it’s way.

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The best views can be find just below the church (first photo with bench) and around church at the beginning of the village if coming from Železniki and at the coordinates here which are above the village from the road to Tolmin/Podbrdo, there is a place for a car or two at the first right bend, then enter the small path (photo with a second bench).

I couldn’t find any useful link so there is no added but you are lucky that Železniki was my hometown:).

Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

Kočevje

Today Kočevje is a small sleepy town in southern Slovenia but it has witnessed quite a part of a history. Unless one is heading to explore Kolpa river from it’s source or using one of the shortest routes from central Slovenia to Kvarner bay in Croatia, Kočevje is not very likely to be on the must see list while discovering Slovenia. On the other hand, distance of 60 km from Ljubljana to Kočevje is only a short trip worth traveling for the landscape itself, just make sure that you are not leaving at rush hour of Saturday morning in the summer.

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Nature lovers and hunters would enjoy in the surrounding woods which still keep deep secrets about not so distant past. The city itself offers a great photo spot, parish church of St. Bartholomew  (Sv. Jernej) above the slow Rinža river, covered with water lilies.

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Church is one of the biggest churches in Slovenia, but not so old as majority of others, it is from 1905.

The best spot to take a shot is across the river where it makes a bend behind the church.

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There you can also see the bridge close to the front of the church,  another bridge down the river offers an opportunity to shoot in the opposite direction.

I would definitely recommend to read some short history of Kočevje.

Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

Logar Valley

The Logar Valley, in the heart of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, is one of the most beautiful Alpine glacial valleys in Europe and quite popular motive on photos tagged #igslovenia. 2.000 meter peaks in the back, green meadows & pastures in the front & crystal clear Savinja River make this place – magical.

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You can visit Logar Valley in any season. In winter you will enjoy snowy fields, in summer lush green forests, in autumn and spring the colours of the nature will amaze you. You can simply enjoy the beautiful nature here or be active; The Valley offers hiking, cycling, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and many other great opportunities.

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For photographers; be sure to stop at the beginning of the Valley and capture one of the most ‘typical’ Slovenian views: White mountains, green valley and a white road in the middle. The next ‘must see’ for you is Rinka Waterfall at the end of the Valley.

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Rinka is the second highest waterfall in Slovenia! It plunges a total of 105 m from the small river above to the pool below, with a single drop of 90 m. Not only the waterfall is impressive, you will be able to snap some nice photos of the mountains here as well. The second (quite impressive) thing to see here is a coffee bar near the waterfall. It clings to a rocky crag just near the waterfall. The place is called the ‘Eagle’s Nest’.

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Jamnik, Church of St. Primus and Felician

Jamnik is a really small settlement on the eastern slopes of the Jelovica Plateau, literally bellow the less traveled road between Kropa and Dražgoše  There are many similar villages scattered around those hills, but Jamnik is famous by its Church of St. Primus and Felician, which is built close to the village at an impressive location on a hill overlooking most of the northern part of the Ljubljana Basin with the Julian Alps as a backdrop towards the northwest and the Kamnik–Savinja Alps towards the east.

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We have to admit that this  is not the only church atop a hill in Slovenia and many of them offer great sights and photo opportunities. Nevertheless Jamnik is probably the most photographed one and definitely owns a lot of it’s fame to the spread of social media like Instagram and others.

jamnikAlready the road to the church itself is a fascinating view and each step further reveals a different scenery. It is beautiful in all conditions, even in not so good weather, when fog and mist can make the picture totally mystical.Never mind if on the day of your visit mountains in the background are hidden behind the clouds – it’s a dramatic view and you would have an excuse to come again.IMG_7366In late spring and early summer everything is so green and blossoming, but it has a special charm in winter, too, especially if snow covers also the mountains behind. Sun rises above mountains somewhere just behind the church, depends on the time of the year, and sunset can colour the same peaks in psychedelic colours.

 

IMG_7362If happens that this would be your first visit to the region, steep hills can surprise you, but for centuries people around here survived farming on the same hills.

Coming from Kropa you would find an exit leading to the church just when road slowly becomes less steep, but watch out since it is very narrow and windy all the time. Only two or three cars can park there so if you find it full just continue, about 300 m further you can find more space just above the village itself. Coming from the Dražgoše it is probably the best tactics to park the car wherever available once you spotted the church and entered the village area. A few steps more can do no harm but offer even more fascinating views.

IMG_7364All photos are made with iPhone 6s, but I would recommend to bring some real gear for the distance shots.

Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

Zelenci Springs

Zelenci Springs is a nature reserve near Kranjska Gora, at the three-country border of Slovenia, Italy and Austria. Most people will say that Zelenci Springs are the source of the Sava Dolinka River but this is technically wrong, since the water from underground Nadiža Creek (originating in the Planica Valley) just re-emerges here through the porous bottom of the shallow  lake.  Anyway, river  flowing  from here to the Danube River is Sava, so Zelenci Springs is a kind of  source of the Sava River. Lake is ‘famous’ because of  its brilliant green water which gave the name to the springs and its surroundings  (Zelenci is a deadjectival plural noun from Slovene zelen ‘green’.)

The lake.

View from the tower.

View from the tower.

But who cares about the name!? What is really important is the place itself. The best way to describe Zelenci is – nature at its best! There are numerous paths leading around so you can really explore the place. Leave your car on the parking near the bar. You can’t miss it (and – don’t miss it. You can get a nice cup of coffee there or eat a decent meal for a reasonable price).

View from the wooden bridge.

There are two best places to take photos  – the small lake itself and a long wooden bridge nearby. There is also a wooden tower beside the lake that offers even better views, but be careful! Lately it isn’t safe so climbing on it was forbidden the last time I was there.

Best views are from the tower.

Best views are the ones from the tower.

Zelenci are really beautiful in the early morning, before sunrise, when they are covered with amazing mist, or around sunset when the surrounding mountains shine in the (red) light. If you decide to visit it during the day, you will probably meet lots of people there and getting a nice photo will not be that easy.

Since the place is a nature reserve there are many unique animal species found there, as well as some sparse and endangered plants.

Nature at its best.

Jeruzalemske gorice National Park

Jeruzalemske gorice Natural Park (you would also find it as Jeruzalem park, Ljutomersko Ormoške gorice – Hills) is an area of hills rising between rivers Mura and Drava, almost on the border with Croatia in SE Slovenia. Two main entrances into the region are towns Ljutomer and Ormož, later being closer to Ptuj, the oldest town in Slovenia, its first mention is from 69 AD. It used to be Roman Empire largest Eastern stronghold so it comes to no surprise that was the Romans who planted the first vineyards there.

Crusaders who migrated into the land in the 11th century took wine producing on even higher level and named the main settlement after their object of desire, Jerusalem.

Wine producing was always focus of this area, since its sheltered sunny position and suitable terroir represent excellent conditions for a variety of white grapes.

The road accros the area is a pure wine road, almost everything in sight are vineyards, vineyards to be, wine cellars and tourist farms with wine tasting. The hills are not very hight but due to their position some amazing landscapes lie before the eye far beyond the hills themselves.

Landscape is amazing throughout the year, but autumn is the best time to try the new vintage and to take photos of amazing colourful scenery. Almost everywhere one stops there is a photo opportunity at hand or probably a few steps by the dirt road away.