Novo Mesto is a small town in a river bend. Have a look at a Google image search and you know why I was there 🙂
Nice chandelier, isn’t it? I found it in a church in Novo Mesto, Slovenija. That’s more or less between Ljubljana, Slovenija’s capital, and Zagreb, the capital of Croatia.
Four million displaced persons and a hundred thousand dead earlier, they would have been together with Beograd and Sarajevo in the same small spot that was Jugoslavija. It didn’t last.
You have no idea of Jugoslavija? Well, imagine Oregon, but with seven times as many people, approximately as many as in Texas. And now imagine it to break up in six countries and one autonomous region. One of the six, Bosnia, is full of internal strife, that still threatens to tear it up into three parts. The world is strange, huh?
People in the various parts of former Yugoslavia may have different opinions about that, but I never understood why the country exploded in such a burst of violence. Of course I saw documentaries on it and of course I read all about it in newspapers at that time, but still I wonder what exactly has turned to the better.
Slovenia has recovered very early. There was almost no war in this northernmost former province, and obviously the Serbs were not interested in holding them in the federation. Slovenia had no Serbian population and no historic ties to Serbia. After all it had just been a part of Austria for much of its history.
Serbia and Croatia were the big opponents. They share a language, but historically they had belonged to different spheres of influence for more than a thousand years.
The Serbs have first been vasalls of the Eastern Roman Empire, and when Constantinople fell, they were swallowed up by the Ottoman Turkish Empire. The first five hundred years gave them their Orthodox religion, the next five hundred left them with a strong desire for independence and self-determination, paired with a fair amount of paranoia and a glorification of their fallen heroes of the past.
Croatia on the other hand had been a part of Catholic Hungary, a state in union with Austria.
Together they had been joined in the comparatively short-lived Yugoslavian state. Still, that time had been long enough to mingle populations. In the end, after a bloody war, Serbia lost its access to the sea, the very mixed Bosnia is hardly more than a protectorate instead of a functioning state, and Croatia has recovered, mostly due to the beauty of its coastline and the resulting tourism.
Today both Slovenia and Croatia are members of the European Union, but there are still disputes about Slovenia’s access to the sea. The problem is, that Slovenia’s short coast is within a small gulf and that its connection to the sea is so narrow, that it leads through Croatian and Italian waters. I’m not even sure what the whole dispute really is about. Most likely it is about fishing rights.
In any case I find it unfortunate that Yugoslavia broke up at all. If it had not, if it had just made a transition from communism to moderate capitalism, for instance like Slovenia did, everybody would have been better off and a huge number of lives would have been spared.
Today’s pictures were taken in the small, picturesque town of Piran, one of the most beautiful places on Slovenia’s coast. I used the Panasonic 12-32, an extremely light and small collapsible lens that rarely sees the light any more.
Here’s the final image of the trilogy. Would you believe that I stood just two meters from the car?
The Song of the Day is one last time “On Up The Mountain” by Jakob Dylan. Hear it on YouTube.
The dynamic range of modern cameras is pretty breathtaking. Take this image for instance: no split-ND filters were harmed in its taking 🙂
The Song of the Day is still “On Up The Mountain” by Jakob Dylan. Hear it on YouTube.
This image has been taken on a short trip to one of the biggest mountains near Villach, Mangart, a peak right where Austria, Italy and Slovenia meet. I was not at the peak, just took the road to the highest parking lot at about 2000 meters. Still, with the help of wide angles I got some nice pictures for this and the next two posts.
The Song of the Day is “On Up The Mountain” by Jakob Dylan. Hear it on YouTube.
Yesterday was beautiful, so so we decided to drive to Italy and down to the sea.
What we couldn’t see from the satellite image though, was the strong haze. There were no clouds, but as soon as we got out of the last tunnel and into the plains of Friuli, it was clear, that I could forget blue skies at the sea.
Thus we reconsidered, left the highway at the exit Gemona – Osoppo, and instead took a mountain road via Tarcento and Uccea, into Slovenia, and then back to Italy, where we joined the highway again in Tarvisio.
It’s a small road between high mountains and there was still some snow left. Not exactly what we had been looking for when we set out, but hey, you’ve got to be flexible 😀
I’ve created a map on Google Maps. I haven’t done that in some time, but it is extremely easy, especially now that they have an algorithm to automatically follow roads.