Beautiful places: Žužemberk
Today another »Beautiful places« blog and of course I can not skip my own hometown so time to explore Žužemberk and surroundings.
Žužemberk is located 5 kilometers from our village Gradenc and of course, we come there regularly. Not for the shopping, because that we do in Novo Mesto, the nearest city, half an hour’s drive from us. Žužemberk does have a small Mercator supermarket and an even smaller Tuš supermarket, but the choice is, of course, limited there and the prices are quite high in comparison. In Novo Mesto you will find all major supermarkets such as Hofer, Lidl and Spar. There are a few large shopping centers where you can shop well.
What we do go to Žužemberk for are the doctor and dentist, when necessary. They are both there as well as a post office, 2 bars, 2 restaurants, and a pizzeria. Žužemberk is mostly known for its castle. Buses regularly stop in the town square in front of the castle so the »tourists« can go have a look. They are mostly retired Slovenians who take a day trip with an association :). The first part of the castle probably dates back to the 11th century. The stone door of the quadrangular tower is said to have been engraved with the year 1000. A few years ago, the four towers and their roofs were completely renovated. There is a beautiful hall in the basement with a vaulted ceiling and several other rooms such as a dungeon (prison). Every summer in July there is a festival called “Trški dnevi” (Market days). The weekend includes a market with all kinds of local products, a big party on Saturday evening, and a knights fest on Sunday with knight groups from home and abroad coming to dance and »fight«. These weekends are a real highlight in Žužemberk. This year, due to Corona, we didn’t have it :(.
The Krka river also makes Žužemberk very attractive. In the summer, the banks of the Krka are dotted with day-trippers and locals looking to cool down. The river, with a length of 111 kilometers, is the longest river in Slovenia that runs solely within its borders. There is regular fishing because there is a lot of trout and you can also kayak and raft. The river has many low »thresholds« which cause small waterfalls. With a lot of rain, the water rises quickly and in 2010 there was a major flood where even the bridge was flooded and we had to drive 20km around to get home. Fortunately, since then, it didn’t happen again to that extend.
At the bridge in Žužemberk the water is low and you can easily wade from one side to the other. A little further on is also a great swimming spot, which is mostly used by kids. There is also a restaurant with a terrace on the bank where you can relax. We come there regularly to have a drink and enjoy the view. The water of the Krka river is very cold though! It is naturally flowing and therefore does not really get a chance to warm up. But when it is really hot outside, I sometimes dare to take a dip (up to my knees;)).
The area around Žužemberk is beautiful. I would like to call it “lovely”, with many green hills and sloping fields. Like almost everywhere in Slovenia, there are also many forests. Spread over the hills you will find (farm)houses and small villages everywhere as if they were scattered over it :). Many hills are dotted with vineyards. All on a small scale because they are mainly for their own use. Almost every vineyard has its own »Zidanica«; a small winehouse/cellar where in the past (and sometimes still today) the grapes were being pressed and the wine was stored in barrels. You will find all kinds of those houses, some very old, some brand new. The new ones are often fully furnished and used as a “weekend holiday house” or for parties.
Žužemberk is located on the edge of the »bear area«, so you also have the chance to spot a bear. In the immediate vicinity of our village there seem to be about 16 of them walking around. They are occasionally seen by villagers but unfortunately Bine and I still haven’t encountered one :(. The one time a bear was seen in the valley below our house a few years ago, we were not home! However, last week we saw a pile of bear poo during a forest walk, hahaha. We do not give up hope yet ……;)