Škofja Loka

Žiri: The road begins at the end of the valley!

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If Slovenia is situated at the geographical crossroads of Europe - with the Alps, great eastern plains and Mediterranean all converging within its borders - and Žiri is at the crossroads of Slovenia, then by our calculation this small town of just under 5000 inhabitants is the unofficial centre of Europe! While this may be a slight exaggeration, Žiri is set in an enviable location in a small basin at the end of the Poljanska Valley, just a short drive away from Škofja Loka to the east, Vrhnika to the south and Idrija to the west.

But Žiri wasn't always in the centre of things, in fact for much of it's history it has been a border town between the great empires of the east and west - most recently during the period between WWI and WWII, when it was only a couple of kilometres from the border separating Italy and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. In the years immediately following the Second World War, the borders once again receded and gave Žiri a bit more breathing room. It was at this time that the town's most recognisable company, Alpina, began to grow from a small cooperative of local shoemakers into the international firm that it is today. A repeat winner of the prestigious Red Dot award for design, many of Alpina's award winning models can be seen in a special exhibit at the city museum.

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