For a few years now, the Consulate of Canada in Ljubljana has gracefully been organizing awesome izlet so that Canadians abroad in Slovenia can celebrate Canada Day together. This year, we explored the beautiful region of Goriška Brda.
First, we went to the view tower in Gonjače, met our tour guide and headed to the cultural monument of Šmartno. We had a delicious kosilo – lunch in Dobrovo Castle, followed by a wine tasting and visit of the Klet Brda. After we visited the Cerje Memorial Monument and we finished the izlet by enjoying delicious food at Kujtna Domačija.
Located at the western borders with Italy, Goriška Brda – the Gorizia Hills, is blessed with three different climates: Alpine, Pannonain and Mediterranean. The area is famous for its vineyard, fruits, especially cherries, and olives.
The vineyards in Goriška Brda are locally called “brajde” and their borders are traditionally marked by fruit trees.
Šmartno from View Tower
Landscape of Goriska Brda
From the 23 meters high view tower in Gonjače, the lovely surrounding landscape can easily be admire – climbing the 144 steps was totally worth it!
The medieval village of Šmartno
In the center of Brda is the cultural monument and restored medieval village of Šmartno. The defensive wall surrounding the village used to have seven watchtowers recognizable by their crown shape but three of them were destroyed and nowadays, only four can be seen.
There are a total of 43 villages in the area of Brda and almost each of them has its own parish church.
The bell tower of the Church of St. Martin, the largest church in the area, which used to be a fortification tower, is also at the center of the village. During the 19th century, the church has been rebuilt and expanded.
Inside the Church of St. Martin in Šmartno
The beautiful color frescoes inside the church, painted by the famous Slovenian artist Tone Kralj, contrast to the monotone and sad black and white paintings. The elevated pulpit on the right side is made of a single piece of marble. The small white cavalier statue on the left, near the cross, is the only remaining from the previous building.
The Beautiful Dobrovo Castle
We were served a nice Mediterranean kosilo at the Restaurant Dobrovo Castle: sirkova minestra (corn Minestrone), frtalja (omelet with herbs), bela poleta (white poleta), toč s prsutom (prsut in Teran wine) with green peas and for dessert, we had a delicious cherry pie and coffee. Eating good food with good wine in great company!
The architecture of the Renaissance Dobrovo Castle is almost a perfect square shape with symmetric towers. A very pleasing sight to the eyes.
After our meal, we visited the upper floors of the Dobrovo Castle, which has a beautiful wedding hall. There are also various exhibitions rooms: objects, documents and furniture that belonged to the Count of Silverij de Bauger and his family and a vast collection of prints by Zoran Mušič, a Slovenian graphic artist from the region.
Wine Tasting in Klet Brda
One of the largest wine cellar of Slovenia is the family vineyard of Klet Brda, a cooperative of 400 families who have worked together for more than 50 years. Their wines are exported to approximately 30 countries.
The best wines brand of Brda are known as junaki vinogradov – the heroes of the vineyards: Villa Brici, Quercus, Krasno, Bagueri, A+ ( a premium class wine made from the combination of the best grapes of the region) and various sparkling wines.
The White Rebula, a dry white wine, is indeed the most famous and known wine of the region.
Cerje Memorial Monument
Located on top of the Cerje hills at 343 masl, the Pomnik braniteljem slovenske zemlje na Cerju – the Monument to the Defender of Slovenian Homeland, can be seen from afar. The surrounding landscape is simply fantastic.
On the ground level, text from the Brižinski spomeniki – the Brižinj Monuments, also known as the Freising Manuscripts, named after the place where they were discovered, are exhibited.
The manuscripts are most significant as they consist of three texts in the oldest form of Slovene.
“Eccȩ bi detd naſ neze greſil tevuekigemube ſiti ſtaroſti neprigem lióki nikoligeſe pet ſali neimugi niſlzna telezeimoki nuúvuȩ.”
In Slovene: “Če bi ded naš ne grešil, bi mu na veke bilo živeti, starosti ne prejeti, nikoli skrbi imeti, ne solznega telesa, temveč na veke bi mu bilo živeti.”
In English: “If our forefather had not sinned, then he would have lived for ever, not receiving old age, nor ever having sorrow, nor having a tearful body, but for ever he would have lived.”
The first floor is an interactive map of the battles during the World War I. The second floor is dedicated to defense movement during the anti-fascist period. The third floor is devoted to the Liberation War period. The fourth floor displays the war effort for the Independence of Slovenia.
View from the Fifth Floor
The fifth floor is a viewing platform and it symbolizes the future of Slovenia: a truly beautiful sight.
Osmica at Kujtna Domačija
Osmice – 8 days of feast, is a 200 years old tradition in the Karst region of Slovenia. During the osmice, wine-growing farms are allowed to serve homemade food and sell their excessive wine and other products without paying taxes.
We savored a delicious plate of prsut, salami with cheese and homemade bread paired with a glass of good wine at Kujtna Domačija.
The osmice are very popular events in Slovenia and they usually take place once or twice per year, depending on the amount of excessive wine.
The entrance of each location can be easily found as it is marked by a bouquet of ivy, called fraska. To find out when and which farms serve home products, check the calendar on Osmice.info.
I had a wonderful izlet discovering the beautiful Goriška Brda, but it was especially nice to seeing and meeting other Canadians that are living abroad in Slovenia. Last but not least, we went back home with a bag of yummy češnje – cherries!
Visit my Gallery for more photos.
Until next time,