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Polhov Gradec

Polhov Gradec is picturesque village in the Polhograjsko hribovje hills in Central Slovenia – in the link you can check out the terms of the actual contest of Visit Ljubljana, you can win a nice prize just posting nice photos!

The main landmark and photo spot of the village is the new castle (remains of the old one can be seen on the Kalvarija hill), designed in 17th century.

The mansion is surrounded by a beautiful park.

Here is also a local museum’s permanent collection with objects related to the history of Polhov Gradec and the Technical Museum of Slovenia – Museum of Post and Telecommunications. A well with the statue of Neptun and four nymphs stands by the castle.

There is a creek behind the mansion and a nice view of the building from the back.

The best view of the village itself is from the small hill just a few steps from the main road.

The mansion is visible from this spot as well.

Somehow limited photo options of the village are greatly enhanced by the number of fantastic views in the vicinity of the Polhov Gradec. Many churches are located on the slopes and peaks of the surrounding hills which provides for great photo motifs. Reaching St. Ursula can be a pleasant short hike from the nearby touristic farm reached by car or a longer one from the valley.

A trip to the village of Črni vrh takes some more time but ii is worth the effort.

Enjoy!

 

Črni vrh above Polhov Gradec

Črni Vrh (Black Peak) is a dispersed settlement in the hills northwest of Polhov Gradec in Central Slovenia which includes many isolated farms scattered throughout the hills so the settlement itself is not a micro location in a sense we are looking for. We have picked it out because again there is one of the many small churches on the slopes and peaks of the hills around Polhov Gradec in Central Slovenia which provide for some fabulous photo motifs.

The parish church in the settlement is dedicated to Saint Leonard and t stands west of the settlement on Church Hill (Cerkovni grič). There is a point on the slope across the Church Hill where the best view of the hills and the church can be observed and photographed.

The photo point in located at the crossroads to Poljanska dolina and Pasja ravan – the exact location you can find on the map Where to in Slovenia. We visited it at the sunrise.

A few days later we passed by there in the late afternoon as well.

It was a pretty magical morning there; the settlement is pretty high in the hills, farms are far apart from each other, no traffic at all.

The sights on the other side of the street were also pretty nice but one should wait a bit longer for haze to clear and get a better photo of the mighty Mt. Triglav in Julian Alps and Škofja Loka Hills in the foreground. We are not proud of the following two photos photo but added them it for you to get the idea.

This is how the crossroad looks like.

A closer look at the foot of the Church Hill to the church is also not bad at all – there is a chapel dedicated to Virgin Mary which provides for a nice composition.

At this point the sun was high enough to reveal all beauty of the slopes around the Polhov Gradec, photo taken in front of the chapel.

And finally the view from the church itself onto the farm at the foot of the Church Hill.

As we mentioned already, there are many churches on the peaks and slopes around Polhov Gradec, St. Ursula is one of them some 15 minutes drive from Črni vrh.

St. Ursula

St. Ursula is one of the many small churches on the slopes and peaks of the hills around Polhov Gradec in Central Slovenia which provide for some fabulous photo motifs. Where to in Slovenia features micro locations for mobile photography and sometimes micro stands for really – micro. This one fits into the category but still offers many different views and options to compose a photo.

All of the featured photo spots are on the map with exact positions so we won’t bother with navigation, let us only tell you that reaching St. Ursula can be a pleasant short hike from the touristic farm reached by car or a longer one from the valley. The church is visible almost all the time on the shorter hike.

The peaks of Mala Grmada and Grmada in the vicinity of St. Ursula are popular hiking destination in these hills.

 

The “rear” view is a kind of Slovenian classic and since nothing disturbs the composition it is probably one of the best of the kind as well.

However, the church itself is only a half of the story.

The other half is definitely the view of the surrounding hills over the meadows above the farm.

St. Lawrence is another peak with a church just over the valley.

Personally we can’t wait to hike there again to observe the sunset – location is just right for that. Enjoy!

Check out also the great views of the Črni vrh in the vicinity!

Text and photos: Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

Bistra Castle

Where to in Slovenia features micro locations for mobile photographers. Bistra Castle near Vrhnika lies on the southwestern margins of the Ljubljana Marshes in Central Slovenia. Originally it was  a monastery but later became a grand mansion. Both settlement and manor take their name from the clear karstic springs, which issue forth from under the adjacent wooded hillside. Since  1951 the castle hosts the nation’s Technical Museum.

One of the oldest museums in the country has really interesting collections, find out more about them here. We are more interested  in the building itself and the karst source which also provides water for some early industrial objects in the castle’s yard.

Walking around these wooden structures above the Bistra source offer many beautiful motifs, mostly reflections.

The light can be an issue here since the castle is perched under a slope of the hill. Early morning light would be the best but the museum opening hours don’t support this idea in all seasons.

There is also a beautiful garden in front of the castle which is mostly used for different activities at the weddings and other events which are often taking place at this beautiful locations. What is even more interesting for photographers is the typical scenery of the marshes which can be seen next to the castle and its garden.

The morning mist, occasional tree and a horse – can you ask for more?

Enjoy!

See more about photo spots around the city of Vrhnika and Ljubljana Marshes.

Text and photos: Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf

Snakes’s Head Fritillary Meadow

Where to in Slovenia feature micro locations for mobile photographers. And we mean micro since this one in Ljubljana Marshes, full of fragile Fritillaria Meleagris, has no name. In fact, we’ve just made it up because we needed one for a location in the marshes where it is not easy to orientate at all. A vast plain which no landmarks, wet meadows full of drainage canals with occasional gravel road which easily ends in the middle of nowhere – and some of those meadows are in the season full of Fritillaria meleagris. 

Therefore in this case we are talking about a seasonal photo location  but the marshes are beautiful in all seasons and opportunities for a great photo are always awaiting even without these fragile lilies.

Entering the village of IG from the direction of Ljubljana find a left turn just opposite to the gas station at the beginning of the settlement. After a few hundred meters the road crosses a small river Ižica (there is another special place along this short river) and after that comes to a crossroads. The meadow we are looking for is between the bridge and the crossroads. Around the bridge is also one of the better views of the village.

The best time to capture the fritillaries is at sunset or sunrise.

Sunsets in the marshes are always beautiful but for the fritillaries the sunrise is even better timing.

These meadows are really wet, especially in the early spring when around the sunrise time could be even a bit frozen. However the flora is full of water drops which add to the photo so better prepare everything needed for the situation like this:

Totally worth getting out of bed early!

Enjoy and don’t forget to check out other Ljubljana Marshes locations like St. Anna, Lake Podpeč and Ižica.

Text and photo: Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf. 

 

 

Ljubljana Marshes – Ižica

Ižica is one of the shortest rivers in Slovenia. It is a typical river for the Ljubljana Marshes with a karst source in the village of Ig. We named the spot described bellow by the river since there are no other recognisable features to use.

Coming to the village of Ig from Ljubljana and leaving the buildings behind after a few kilometers there is a road to turn to Iška Loka to the right marked with a road sign Iška Loka. Just opposite of the exit there is another one to the left, unmarked and pretty narrow. Turn left and park right away on the left side or proceed on the gravel road until it turns right and park there.

This gravel road is pretty empty most of the time, sitting in the middle of the fields and wet meadows. The landscape is full of lonely trees and the nature is full of life in any season. Flat land, black soil, green meadows, occasional water in the canals make a special feeling which changes with the seasons and is the strongest in the mornings and evenings.

The landscape itself is pretty photogenic. The flora of the marshes is specific and in some seasons the meadows are full of blossoms.

Specific for the marshes is the Snake’s head fritillary from the lily family. It can be easily spotted here but there is another place upstream of Ižica where plenty of them are to be found.

At the turning point of the gravel road just continue in the same direction as you came from. There is no beaten path, just cross the meadows until the river can be spotted after a few hundred meters. The approach to the water changes with seasons and weather but one or two can be easily found.

The meadows. The flora. The water. Upstream. Downstream

The trees. The sunrise.

Take your pick.

Take photos. Enjoy in nature. Check out some other spots on the marshes: St. Anna, Lake Podpeč and Snakes’s Head Fritillary Meadow.

Text and photos Zoran Leban Trojar @zokus_gf.

More about Ljubljana Marshes.

Dragon Bridge

The statues of the four dragons on the each corner of the Dragon Bridge are probably the most famous and recognizable images of the city. They are masterpiece by themselves and everybody rush to take photos with them. This photo point is therefore not difficult to find but we would like to turn your attention to some additional details beside taking selfies with this somewhat terrifying pieces of art.

First of all it is not so easy to take a good photo of the beasts since they are positioned against the sky and backlighted. But they are on the opposite sides of the bridge so it is easy to find out which side suits you better. All photos in this post were taken early in the morning when light is better on that side of the bridge which is just across the road of the food market.

This is also the only corner where one can safely climb the low concrete wall next to the bridge and face the beast eye to eye and also gets the perspective of the bridge and the road – when it is empty it nicely add to the composition.

 

The bridge itself is a unique creation, an extraordinary piece of technical heritage and a superb example of Art Nouveau architecture. It was constructed between 1900 and 1901 and it was Ljubljana’s first reinforced concrete structure. The parapet lamps used to be powered by gas.

The views from the bridge are packed with the most important architectural heritage of Ljubljana: the Ljubljana Castle on the Castle Hill, the Cathedral and arcades of the Plečnik’s Open Market are extremely photogenic and offers many different angles with and without the dragons.

Reaching this point of Ljubljana from the Triple Bridge one probably passes also the point just before the Butcher’s Bridge on the photo bellow. BTW, did you know that the Dragon Bridge replaced the original wooden Butcher’s Bridge?

 

Arcades of the Open Market are also very photogenic but as a rule much more facing east. This is valid from the both parts of arcades, the one just around the corner of the Triple Bridge and the second one which begins at the Butcher’s Bridge and ends close to least photogenic dragon.

We recommend to make a short walk along the left bank downstream from the Dragon Bridge to reach another small bridge. The river view is very beautiful from there – in all seasons but summer. Still a sunset or sunrise time can provide for a nice photo.

This part of the left bank ends with the Tovarna Rog (Rog Factory) which is an autonomous social and cultural centre set on the premises of a former bicycle factory. “Consensually” occupied in 2006, this vast location of 7,000 square-metres in “downtown” Ljubljana currently facilitates a rich programme of social and cultural activities and programmes. The presence of the centre is visible in the neighbourhood.

The part of the city between the river and Trubarjeva street is famous by itself but some additional sights are available from this walk.

Text and photos Zoran Leban Trojar.

All photos taken with Huawei P20 Pro

About the legend of Ljubljana Dragon.

Sources:

Visit Ljubljana

 

Boka Waterfall and the bridge over the Soča River

Let’s get some facts in the perspective first: Boka waterfall is a 144 high and 18 wide waterfall, considered to be one of the most magnificent waterfalls in Europe. It is definitely the most majestic waterfall of Slovenia and we have plenty of them here. Surely many would disagree if they were not lucky to see it in its full season when its water flow rate can reach 100m3/s. In the summer it can drop to only 2m3/s, so the seasonal flow rate ratio is 1:50! Not this summer though!

The waterfall from the bridge over the Boka stream

The waterfall is visible already from the bridge over the Boka stream in the vicinity of which most of the visitors park their cars and bikes. However, just behind the corner lies the Boka Hotel with its own parking lot which is sooo close to the another bridge, one of the only few bridges over the mighty Soča river itself. The famous shots of the kayakers on the translucent water are usually taken from the Napoleon Bridge in Kobarid – and from this one which  leads to the small settlement of the Log Čezsoški, one of the few settlements on the left bank of the river.

Towards Bovec

We were not lucky with the kayaks this time but the river itself is always beautiful and the view from this bridge is different from what we usually see in the media: it is an upstream view towards the town of Bovec and surrounding peaks of Julian Alps which just after the town divide the upper Soča Valley (Trenta) and Koritnica.

Mt. Bavški Grintavec in the background

There is even more to it – the waterfall is visible from this bridge too and the sight is even better! So if in a hurry a photo can be taken from the bridge – with a good camera it should be decent enough for a memory or a social media post.

Boka from the bridge over the Soča river

Our posts are focused on the mobile photography trying to show places where ordinary tourists can get decent photos without an expensive gear from the reachable spots. We have been doing Instagram and blog for almost 6 years now using phone cameras exclusively.  Ever since we have begun to use HuaweiP20Pro our horizons are widening – it has extremely powerful zoom which can be used handheld: the photo bellow is a zoom up from the same spot as the above photo was taken.

Zoom in from the bridge – amazing zoom of HuaweiP20Pro

 

After passing the hotel building and crossing the road just before the bridge a narrow path opens leading to the viewpoint which is accessible in some 15 minutes. It is not difficult but we would still recommend to wear a pair of decent shoes. Walking along the bed of Boka in the summer one can imagine the amount of water which flows here when the snow of the Kanin massif begins to melt (up to 8 m of snow can be accumulated in some winters there).The karst terrain with large caves can be deadly for skiers leaving the official ski runs.

The Boka stream bed

The path leading to the viewpoint is mostly in a pleasant shade of the trees with only some tricky places to watch your step.

Pleasant shade

The viewpoint is situated on the slope across the waterfall and can be pretty crowded but the views are much better than from the bridges.

 

The viewpoint view

Zoom in from the viewpoint

Most of the visitors turn around here but some other viewpoints can be reached which are higher on at the slope and a bit closer to the waterfall. Reaching them is not so easy anymore, the path gets pretty steep and can be slippery as well. We needed another 15 minutes to the next viewpoint following the orientation signs on the rocks and trees.

 

Orientation signs

Some unexpectedly good sights of the valley towards Bovec awaited us on the path.

 

The Soča Valley towards Bovec

The water is collected in the karst cave system and spring just above the waterfall, falls freely for 106 m, followed immediately by another 30m drop. The source is situated at an altitude of 725 m, the average temperature of the water is 4,5 degrees Celsium. Since the rock is pretty soft the waterfall  still increases!

 

Standing closer 

Watching this power of nature from the higher and closer viewpoint and without disruptions from other people is definitely worth all the effort!

 

Zooming in again

Returning on the the mountain paths is always more dangerous than going up so be careful stepping down! But don’t overlook this sight with which this whole short photo trip can be rounded up: the road to Log Čezsoški.

 

Left bank of the Soča river towards Log Čezsoški

Of course we had to check the situation on the bridge again when we returned to the parking lot.

Preparations

Some more luck though but not the proper light to get the effect of the kayaks hovering on the water.

 

From the bridge

Nevertheless this bridge offers excellent up and downstream views on the river and the valley caught amidst the steep mountains and it is worth to stop there for the bridge itself. The sights are ever changing.

Downstream view towards Žaga

Hey, there is some shadow underneath the kayak after all:)

Photo and text by @zokus