There is no place like Kropa – simply a unique, amazing and unforgettable little village with long years of iron-forging tradition that left an incredible mark on the everyday life of this town. Blacksmiths’ products can be seen on every step, every street and every house – from unusual fences to stunning door handles.
The hidden cradle of iron-forging
There are many ways on how to describe the nature around Kropa, and you can choose from all kinds of words in line of steep, cold, intact and more. The small Kroparica stream runs past most of the narrow houses and the village is surrounded by steep hills and forest. The tight scaling roads are too small for cars.
But it is the nature that gave the villagers of Kropa everything they need and they turned its giving into amazing art – the art of iron-forging. They used the stream, built a water canal and used its power for mills. More than 50 mills were once used as a power source for bellows which blew the air into the ironing fireplaces, and allowed blacksmiths to forge. The villagers built traditional narrow houses, with many floors and cute bridges that lead to the doorsteps. They decorated the windows with colourful flowers and turned the houses into homes.
Kropa was once an important blacksmith village with a huge spike making industry. Lots of spikes made here were exported to different countries, until the industrial production took over and superseded the blacksmiths’ work. But that was not the end of Kropa. The villagers fought back. They used their knowledge and skills, and turned them into art. They forged iron into dragon-like candlesticks, unusually shaped fences and beautiful door handlers.
Hard life and silent guardians
Life in Kropa was never easy. The small Kroparica stream became a huge and dangerous torrent in times of heavy rain (that gave the village its name – derivative from the Slovenian word “krop”, that could be translated as the foaming of boiled water), houses hosted numerous families at once and blacksmiths were often injured during work.
And again, that did not stop the villagers. Families turned their crammed homes into funny stories, blacksmiths forgot the pain in the local inns and even saints showed their mercy to the humble villagers.
Kropa today is just a silent memory of the important industrial village that it is used to be. With less than 1,000 residents and not many opportunities to develop, it welcomes every visitor with quiet tranquillity and beautiful iron decorations.
Sightseeing in Kropa
It is hard to say what to see on your sightseeing tour, as you will only get the real insight on the village if you take time, explore its history and take a good look around you! But, without doubt, the place to start is the Iron Forging Museum.
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After you discover something about the history of blacksmiths and their work, head towards Fovšaritnica. This is a unique ethnographic collection situated in a traditional mill owner’s house. To see the private collection, you must make prior arrangements, but it is worth the extra effort.
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After those two main attractions, it is time to head towards the churches. Kropa has two churches, located on two steep hills above the city. The Church of St. Leonard was built on the southwest of the village. It offers nice views over the village and it also has quite a nice interior.
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A church dedicated to St. Mary or to the Mother of God was built later, as a tribute to the magical healings which brought numerous worshipers to Kropa. This church was once an important pilgrimage point, but it is rarely visited today.
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