Huddled below Triglav (2864m), the highest peak of Slovenia and its national symbol, four attractive alpine villages, Mojstrana, Dovje, Zgornja Radovna, and Belca, are home to a rich cultural heritage, healthy climate, the Triglav fairytales and friendly but stubborn locals, who have throughout centuries grown accustomed to the harsh but beautiful alpine environment.
In the mid-19th century, the village of Mojstrana was known for its cement works, located close to natural limestone, chalk and other sources of materials used to manufacture cement. This was primarily exported, and used even in the construction of the Suez Canal and the colonial Fort Canning in Singapore. At the same time, the village witnessed a growing interest in mountaineering. It was in one of Mojstrana's oldest inns, Pr’ Šmercu, that the renowned botanist Julius Kugy hired mountain guides to help him climb Triglav, while the wild beauty of the local scenery inspired the German poet Rudolf Baumbach to put into verse the story of Goldhorn. This rich mountaineering history is probably also the reason why Mojstrana is home to the Slovene Alpine Museum.
Many of the 18th century peasant baroque houses remain to this day, including the former home of the beekeeper Mihael Ambrožič, whose Carniolan honeybees gained him recognition in Germany, France and the Czech Republic.
Mojstrana and its surrounding villages are also key entry points to the picturesque glacier valleys of Vrata, Kot, Radovna, and Krma. The Vrata Valley holds two of the most popular tourist attractions in Slovenia: the stunning Peričnik Waterfalls and the massive 3km long and 1km high Triglav North Face.
At the foot of Mt. Triglav and its North Face is Aljažev dom, the mountain lodge built by the Dovje parish priest Jakob Aljaž, who played an important role in the 19th century Slovene national revival. He bought the top of Triglav, where he built a tower and so symbolically won the ‘battle’ between Slovene and German mountaineers in the Julian Alps 120 years ago. Aljaž not only built various mountain lodges, he also installed a water supply network in the village of Dovje, and encouraged the love of the Slovene language and song among the peasant population. In his honor, the locals set up a statue of the priest, pointing to his beloved Triglav, while he found his final resting place next to various well-known mountaineers in the Dovje cemetery.
The authentic alpine village of Dovje is also home to some impressive rural architecture: the Church of St. Michael, and a former smithy restored into the Pr' Katr inn offering typical traditional cuisine from the north-west of Slovenia. The village is an ideal starting point for hikes in the Karavanke range. This natural border between Slovenia and Austria offers stunning views of the Julian Alps.
One may even catch a glimpse of the Zgornja Radovna Valley, scattered with hummocky meadows. The valley has retained its traditional, peaceful character and is home to the Pocarjeva domačija homestead, dating from 1609, and the 400-year-old Gogal linden tree, as well as other sights of interest such as the Psnak mill and the Napoleon stone. Its peaceful forests used to be a royal hunting ground of the Karadjordjević dynasty, and the valley's beauty attracted even Britain’s Prince Charles, who visited Radovna around 20 years ago.
With its 100 inhabitants the village of Belca is too small for a church or an inn, but boasts “Olympic street”, the home of two Olympic hockey players and a ski jumper. Together the four villages have seen 21 of their inhabitants in the Olympic Games, with two, Alenka Dovžan and Jure Košir, returning with medals.