Škofja Loka

Železniki: Iron, Lace and Cookies


With some 7000 inhabitants Železniki is the main town of the Selška Valley, and has a long proud history dating back to the middle of the 10th century when the German Emperor donated it to the Bishops of Freisburg. It's not a coincidence that the town's name is derived from the Slovene word for iron, as Železniki owes its existence to the rich deposits of iron ore in the surrounding hills and the related ironworks industry that dates back nearly 700 years.

While the ironworks was shuttered at the beginning of the 20th century, the town's most recognisable sight is the perfectly preserved smelting furnace that still stands defiantly in the main square - the only remaining structure of its type in Europe and now a protected technical monument.

Nowadays Železniki is thriving once again, and is home to several leading Slovenian firms, most notably the furniture maker Alples, and Domel, which manufacturers electronic motors and other components. The town's museum, which details its rich historical, cultural and industrial heritage, is reason enough to visit, but the municipal region also extends high up into the mountains to the idyllic village of Sorica, which was the birthplace of famed Slovene impressionist painter Ivan Grohar.

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