ljubljansko barje


The idea of draining the moors and changing them into arable land was highly appealing to various individuals as early as in the 16th century, and it was the empress Maria Theresa who in 1769 issued a decree, ordering an inventory of the Barje to be made, a plan for its reclamation to be prepared, and finally the area to be turned into land suitable for farming. In 1828, the first road was constructed across Ljubljansko barje - Ižanska cesta. This floating road, built on bundles of brushwood and filled with sand, still has the same basis as in the year when originally made. But the person, who in the ensuing decades, and even up till this very day, most clearly marked human interventions into the Barje, was Gabriel Gruber, the author of the plans and leader of the reclamation projects. The deepening of beds, digging of drainage channels, pulling down of dams, and above all the digging of the so-called Imperial, today's Gruber Channel (named after him), soon brought certain results. The groundwater level fell, the floods became predictable and controllable, and after a few millennia the authorities managed to recolonise the Barje, although more or less by force.

In the 1930s, almost immediately after the Gruber Channel was built, the City Council of Ljubljana, led by its mayor Hradetski, began to let out and sell, at reasonable prices, 20 acres large plots of land, the only condition being that a residential building and an outbuilding were built and that drainage channels were regularly maintained. Many seized this opportunity, particularly as the property ownership meant a dismissal from the Imperial Army. In the areas, where this had not been possible earlier on, new settlements grew, and owing to the soft palustrine soil a new type of architecture developed, i.e. building of houses on pile foundations. The Ižanska cesta (Ig Road) was also built and some road connections between the villages on the edge of the Barje. With much zeal, although with less success, agriculture began to be practised. During the very first years of colonisation it was ascertained, however, that the Barje's true wealth lay somewhere else.