Lake Cerknica – The lake that is and is not
The miracle of the vanishing lake was a mystery for ages. Today it is a secret no more: the water drains through underground caves or sinks through swallow holes in the bottom of the lake. We can describe it as one of the wonders of the natural world. A lake with a thousand faces throughout the seasons of the year, which has been included in the European network of special protected areas, known as the Natura 2000 sites.
Natura 2000 is a broad ecological network of areas designated by the European Union member states. Wild plants and animals and their habitats that are rare or endangered in Europe require protection. The main objective of the network is to conserve valuable biodiversity for future generations.
The traditional lake boat (»Drevak« in Slovenian) is the last survivor of the cultural heritage of generations of peoples who adapted their lives over the centuries to the cyclical rhythm of the disappearing Cerknica Lake.
The today’s inhabitants of this region have organized themselves as the guardians of the local heritage; their “Heritage House” is an educational centre on safeguarding their culture and natural heritage.
Our group visited the village to attend the performance of the villagers presenting the events from the Middle Ages when the Christian population was fighting for their very existence being under constant and continuous threat by Ottoman (Turkish) attacks whose main objective was the grand city of Vienna in the north.
We witnessed a staged battle between the Christians defending themselves and the attacking Turks all dressed in original uniforms, using original arms: powder cannons, swords, battle axes, bows & arrows, etc. It was a grand presentation worthy of our attention. The best came right after – all who wanted were able to try out their skills in using the arms of our ancestors. Besides witnessing the “military campaign” we used the remaining afternoon to acquaint ourselves with traditional boatbuilding, blacksmithing, listened to a captivating lecture on the tradition of flax spinning and weaving during the long winters – among the people of the village there was a common belief that if a woman and a man could work well together while breaking flax, they would work well together in marriage.
Last but not the least, we were offered a wide variety of local specialties prepared by the women of the village, just one word: amazing tastes.
It was a thrilling experience and adventure to be remembered by all of us.
Copyright by Moric Pardo