ljubljansko barje

The Ljubljana moors

No more than a few steps from Ljubljana's last suburban streets spreads Ljubljansko Barje (Ljubljana Moors). This almost 16,000 hectares large marshy plain is marked by an interminable mosaic of grasslands, litter woodlands, fields, ditches and hedges. Here and there, solitary green hillocks rise from this countryside, indeed "shamefully" low for this Alpine country. Almost encircled by motorways, the Barje arouses no special interest in a hurrying traveller. What on earth can be so special in this landscape, which lies on the edge of the city and whose name is, on top of it all, closely associated with moors? All those, however, who happen to find themselves in its interior, are pleasantly surprised. As if the black palustrine soil has sucked up the city bustle and as if the obstinate moor mist has lifted a spell from the human's presence in these places. Although Ljubljansko Barje has been created by humans through their tireless overexploitation of the area, the eyes of inquisitive people are quickly deluded by the infinite greenery, while their ears are filled with the songs of birds, insects and frogs. Here, the wheels of everyday life simply stop.

The Slovene language knows no less than 24 expressions, mostly of folk origin, for the phenomena associated with stagnate water. The terms Ljubljanski morost (morass) and močvir (quagmire) had been generally used until 1880, when the name Ljubljansko Barje (Ljubljana Moors) was for the first time used by Fran Levstik in his report on land drainage, upon which the extremely unpopular morass or quagmire completely disappeared from the people's vocabulary.

 Today, Ljubljansko Barje is geographical name for the area spreading between the Ljubljanica river, Vrhnika, Krim and Škofljica. Barje is a common name for the villages of Črna vas, Hauptmanca, Lipe and Ilovica, and for Ižanska cesta (Ig Road), therefore for that particular part of Ljubljansko Barje, which is now within the borders of Ljubljana City Council. In Slovene, "barje" denotes a boggy area with its characteristic fauna and flora.