The core of the program plan is the new artificial lake which connects (together with existing waterways) the capital with the new resort.
The dramatic birth of the Ljubljana Moor is said to have happened approximately 2 million years ago and was due to tectonic movements. The area is located on the threshold of the capital of Slovenia and encircled by the national motorway.
Some 6,000 years ago, the Barje lake dried up, leaving a marshy plain in its place. In its greater part, layers of peat were formed, in places even up to 9 meters thick.
Although this boggy area was in no way an ideal environment for people to settle there, numerous archaeological finds speak of the fact that the area of Ljubljansko Barje had been inhabited from the very Copper Age onward This was the time of the prominent pile dwellings as well as of highly developed, technologically advanced and with wider European environment linked cultures, whose pottery and copper artefacts still astonish the lovers of everything beautiful.
Due to its location, accessibility and beginnings there are vast opportunities for development of tourism. The area is known for its settlers – a rare people of significant historic importance, settlers called Koliščarji – ‘lake dwellers’. Their settlements were said to be in the area 6,000 years ago.
The resort is located by Bistra Castle, on the western edge of Ljubljana Moors. Harmony between the classic hotel resort and all characteristic components of the Moor is evident from the program plan, which was developed with emphasis on harmony. The core of the program plan is the new artificial lake which connects (together with existing waterways) the capital with the new resort. Part of this lake is a protected area for animal species, and the central part will form tourist apartments, a similar principle to building as that used by the “Koliščarji”. The size of the resort is 42 ha.
Ljubljansko Barje, this almost 160 square kilometers large plain, originated some two million years ago through the sinking of an extensive area of the Ljubljana basin. Consequently, the local rivers deposited huge amounts of shingle and sediments there, virtually damming the Ljubljanica river where it joined the Sava and inundating the entire Barje basin at the same time. Some 6,000 years ago, the Barje lake dried up, leaving a marshy plain in its place. In its greater part, layers of peat were formed, in places even up to 9 metres thick.
Although this boggy area was in no way an ideal environment for people to settle there, numerous archaeological finds speak of the fact that the area of Ljubljansko Barje had been inhabited from the very Copper Age onwards. This was the time of the prominent pile dwellings as well as of highly developed, technologically advanced and with wider European environment linked cultures, whose pottery and copper artefacts still astonish the lovers of everything beautiful.
The regular floods at Ljubljansko Barje are the reason for centuries long attempts to drain the area. The first that tried to curb and reclaim the Barje were the Romans, who built the first road across it and regulated the course of the Ljubljanica river in order to transport the Podpeč marble along it for the needs of building the city of Emona (the present-day Ljubljana). The attempts to drain the land became more intensive in the 16th century, when first channels and canals were built. The most notable, although not particularly successful, was the work of Gabriel Gruber at the end of the 18th century. The persistent attempt to drain the land, deepening the beds and channels, pulling down the dams on the Ljubljanica river and building new drainage channels brought first success in the first half of the 19th century, when the water level subsided enough to proceed with the planned colonisation and tilling of the Barje plain. But the fact was that it was the digging and sale of peat that was bringing more money than agriculture! The exploitation of peat caused the ground to subside and this in turn brought new floods. The struggle to drain the Barje continued until the mid-twentieth century, when the idea of creating “the granary of Europe” finally died down even in the most stubborn heads.
It is almost a miracle that in spite of all the above-mentioned attempts, nature managed to remain exceptionally diverse till this very day. The cohabitation of people and nature created a unique and highly diverse cultural landscape, an endless mosaic of meadows, litter woodlands, fields, ditches and hedges. This interlacement of different habitats is home to many plants, birds and insects that can rarely be still seen elsewhere in Slovenia in Europe. Although the Barje plain covers only 1 % of Slovenia’s territory, it is the breeding site of about a half, i.e. more than 100, of all Slovene bird species. Grassland birds, such as Corn Crake, Whinchat, Eurasian Curlew, Stonechat and Common Quail, still persist at their grassland nest-sites, but the fight against huge agricultural machinery has unfortunately already been lost by the Hoopoe, Common Snipe, Lesser Kestrel, Lesser Grey Shrike, Short-eared Owl and Montagu’s Harrier.
Along water surfaces and in the extensively farmed and relatively late in the year mown meadows we can see some rare butterflies and gaily coloured dragonflies. This boggy environment is a good shelter for amphibians and the very rare European Pond Terrapin.
At Ljubljansko Barje, nature could have followed the changes caused by man and his activities for thousands of years, but now it looks that this cohabitation is gradually coming to an end. The fact is that human encroachment upon this wetland is becoming increasingly aggressive and that the need to expand agricultural production as well as to build business – residential – industrial – commercial complexes is already beyond control.
Ljubljansko Barje is the largest Slovene and southernmost European wetland. Similar areas are a true rarity in Europe today, due mainly to the intensive farming and urbanisation. About 70 % of the European wetlands are all history now. In the 1990s, the European Union adopted, for many too late but still, the legislation with which it attempted to protect rare and endangered animal and plant species and their habitats. Ljubljansko Barje, home to numerous endangered species, has been proclaimed a Natura 2000 site.
Only a few few steps from Ljubljana’s last suburban streets spreads
Ljubljansko barje (Ljubljana Moor). This almost 15,000 hectares large
marshy plain is marked by an interminable mosaic of grasslands, litter
woodlands, fields, ditches and hedges. They host numerous endangered animal and plant species.
Ljubljansko barje of present day is a precious and unique green
space, dominated by the Ljubljanica river. Due to its natural values
it is a part of Natura 2000 network, and since 2008, a designated
Nature park. The region has been populated as early as in the
Neolithic, when the local population used to build pile – dwellings.
Remains of pile-dwellings were discovered as early as in 1875. Later,
in 2002, the world’s oldest wooden wheel was also discovered here.
Two groups of pile dwellings in Ljubljansko barje are part of a serial transnational nomination for inscription on UNESCO World
Heritage List, together with Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria
and Italy. With its outstanding universal value they contribute to an
exceptional representation of prehistoric pile dwelling civilizations,
spanning over a wide geographical area for more than 4500 years
More than 130 years have past since the first discoveries of pile dwellings in
Ljubljansko barje. Extensive excavations from the end of the 19th century
and systematic research in the 20th century have broadened our knowledge about the oldest permanent population in the Ljubljana basin. More
than 40 pile dwellings have been identified to this day, with the last one
discovered as late as in 2009 in Ljubljana. Since the first pile dwellings were
discovered in 1875, Ljubljansko barje became a synonym for a prehistoric
village on piles. The pile dwelling findings are kept by the City museum of
Ljubljana and the National Museum of Slovenia.
WHEEL WITH AN AXLE
The world’s oldest wooden wheel with an axle according to analyses, over
5000 years old, was found during research of pile dwelling settlement at
Stare gmajne near Vrhnika. Besides the remains of the wheel, an separated
axle ha salso been found.
In the spring of 2002, a team from the Institute of Archaeology Scientific
Research Center of the Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts, under
the guidance of Dr. Anton Velušček continued with the project of wood
sampling at the location of Stara gmajne near Vrhnika. A surprise awaited
them in one of the drainage ditches. Besides rich findings and two dugouts,
they have also found the remains of a wooden wheel and a separated
wheel axle .
The wheel was composed of two ash -wood plates that were connected
by four oak wedges. The choice of ash -wood was not coincidental, because of its strength and because it grew in the vicinity. The axle was
constructed from one piece of oak wood and was 124 cm long. The wheel
is surprisingly accurate and extremely skilfully constructed. The manner of
attachment and joining point to an exceptionally skilled master craftsman
and a real connoisseur of various types of wood. The wheel from Ljubljansko barje can be regarded as the pinnacle of world heritage due to its age
and technical superiority.
Pile dwellings are a typical phenomenon of the prehistoric era and appear
on lakes and in swampy regions of the Alpine region. Approximately 1,000
settlements stretch from eastern France to Switzerland, southern Germany
and northern Italy to Slovenia. The preservation of this extraordinary inheritance was possible due to the waterlogged locations they were found
in. Remains of wooden houses, tools and other useful items, food and
even clothes are valuable sources that help in the research of the life of the
people who have left us no written sources.
Pile dwellings are a special form of dwellings in areas with lakes and
marshes. The prehistoric pile dwellings in Europe appear as early as in
the Neolithic Age and exist throughout the Copper and Bronze Age.
They spread from north over the borders of the Alpine world all the
way down to the Balkans.
The largest number of pile dwellings, over one thousand, is to be
found in the Alpine region, which also include the pile dwellings of
Ljubljansko barje. The common characteristic of pile dwellings is the
construction of dwelling places on piles – carrying posts that were
used as stabilization in wet environments. The construction method,
size of dwelling places, their position and ch
WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE?
How did the people from the pille dwellings settlements live and what did
they eat? Settlement of the area was first made possible after the warming
that followed the last Ice Age. Gathering, hunting and fishing were soon
supplemented by agriculture and cattle breeding. Cereals were cultivated
with the use of wooden, stone or horn tools.
The population was most probably already introduced to the grapevine.
Fruits and other nature products represented an important part of their
nutrition. They bred sheep, goats and cattle while also providing a large
quantity of meat by hunting stags, deer, boars, beavers, otters and water
Nowadays, the type of their nutrition, the methods of preparing the food
as well as the climatic and environmental conditions they lived in can be
deduced on the basis of research on plant and animal remains, that were
found in layers of earth in pile dwellers’ settlements.
TRAVERSING THE DISTANCES
Although there were no roads, the prehistoric people traversed the distances that spanned hundreds of kilometres. This is proven by the imported items and raw materials that arrived from as much as 500 km away.
Pile dwellers did not construct roads. They traversed their land paths by
foot, and from 4th millennium B.C. onwards they also used cattle pulled
carts. More frequently used were water paths. The most common transport vehicles were boats – up to 12 meters long canoes and dugouts that
were made from one single tree trunk.