virtually impossible to travel in Slovenia without noticing
its abundance of health spas. However, Rogaška Slatina
is not only unique, but encompasses a wealth of hidden
gems. It has a long history of quality glassmaking, and
among the surrounding foothills you’ll find wine
cellars and picturesque villages each with its own story
It was a cold and misty September
morning when I rode my motorbike into Rogaška Slatina
with icicles protruding from my nostrils. Brigita, the
director of economy at the local municipality took one
look at my blue face and melting nose and offered me a
As the heat from the coffee warmed
my bones, I was introduced to Grega, who would be my tour
guide for the day. Brigita and Grega then proceeded to
tell me all about their town.
aren’t many places in the world where you could
indulge yourself in some of life’s wicked pleasures,
wine and good food, and then ease your guilt by purging
your body of all the unhealthy elements of that pleasure
by simply drinking a glass of water.
about 1½ hours east of Ljubljana, Rogaška
Slatina is Slovenia’s oldest spa town. Nestled among
the lovely hills of the Macelj range, Boc, its highest
peak (960m) overlooks the town. The summit’s viewing
tower affords a magnificent panoramic view of the surrounding
countryside. The mountain was known as Monte Claudius
during Roman times. A special flower blooms here only
at Easter time, called the velikonocnica, and the area
is now a protected nature reserve
itself grew up around several natural springs that have
been known since the Romans and Celts were here. However,
it wasn’t until a written analysis was published
in 1572 in a book called Pisson by Leonhard Thurneysser
that its fame began to spread.
of this miracle water spread as far as the imperial court
in Vienna and soon people began to flood here, including
many famous names such as: Emperor Ferdinand, Franz Liszt
and the French Bonapartes. In 1803 the head of the Styrian
government, Count Ferdinand Attems, established the first
spa resort here. This soon grew into one of Europe’s
most popular and grandest, and in 2003 the resort celebrated
its 200th anniversary.
emblem is the winged-horse Pegasus. Local legend tells
of how the Greek God Apollo was riding through the nearby
mountain range when he commanded Pegasus to rise up on
his hind legs and repeatedly slam his front hooves down
hard in order to open the spring.
are actually an indeterminate number of springs in the
area of Rogaška, but the most famous of these is
Donat Mg, which is bottled and distributed all around
the country. The water from this spring is a veritable
cocktail of minerals, but most importantly, it contains
an unusually high level of magnesium; an important element
for many of the biochemical processes in our bodies. People
don’t just come here for a relaxing holiday; they
come here to get well. Magnesium is not only said to help
illnesses such as heart and liver disease, but can also
help reduce high blood pressure, cholesterol, constipation,
excess stomach acids, heartburn and obesity.
is more to Rogaška Slatina than just its famous spa.
The town also has a long history of producing high quality
glassware, one of which is Rogaška Crystal. The origins
of Rogaška’s glassmaking tradition can be traced
as far back as 1665. A project is also underway to create
a working museum at the factory where visitors can see
firsthand the age-old process of glassmaking by hand.
project is also in the pipeline. In co-operation with
the neighbouring municipality of Podcetrtek, they will
build a large artificial lake on 132 hectares of land
between the two towns. The lake will be used for recreational
purposes and it’s hoped will be a popular addition
to the region’s already burgeoning tourist trade.
contain a scattering of pretty villages each with its
own church, and many have their own legend as to the origins
of the church. Sv. Lenart, where a beautiful tall church
greets you upon arrival, is a tiny hamlet wedged into
the hills. Local legend says that a church was built here
in 1000AD, but a massive earthquake hit the region causing
the church to sink into the ground. It was hidden by vegetation
for hundreds of years until one day, while some animals
were chewing on the grass, the bell rang and the church
karst hills are completely full of water, hence the reason
for it’s abundance of springs. In the small village
of Zg. Gabernik, where farmhouses dot the verdant hills
and a great rocky outcrop looms over them, legend tells
of an underground lake where a great dragon sleeps. Locals
believe that when the weather is stormy, the dragon is
a day of luxurious pampering, or hiking, you can relax
at one of the many wine cellars where you can try the
municipality’s superb wines.
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