Visiting Ribnica – the town famous for woodenware or “suha roba”
When mentioning the town of Ribnica, people in Slovenia first think of the famous local tradition of woodenware or “suha roba”. First written records of woodenware date from 14th century, in a fair document from Lož. It is also mentioned in the permission given by Frederick III – the first emperor of the House of Habsburg (1415-1493) – to the people of Ribnica to export cattle, linen and various wooden objects, to neighbouring countries.
The Ribnica Tale
The present Ribnica Valley was once a huge lake. There were many fish in it – big and small. Among them was the goldfish. In Velika Gora, then, a giant lived. In the daytime he was sleeping, and at night he went fishing on the lake. The goldfish assisted him in hunting, by lighting it. Because there was no water in Suha krajina, the locals went to the lake, where one day they they also caught the goldfish. They threw the goldfish out from the lake, which made the giant terribly angry. He pulled out all the trees and shrubs, the water leaked into the holes and the lake disappeared. People from everywhere started to come to collect the fish from the bottom. The name Ribnica comes from “riba” meaning fish.
Today, Ribnica still has “fish” in its coat of arms.
Ribnica Castle with a park and a museum
Situated in the centre of the town, you can find a small castle, with a very nice and well mantained garden area. The Ribnica Castle actually denotes the well-preserved remains of a much bigger castle burnt down during WWII. Then, the castle was used as a hospital, but in 1944, it suffered the same sad fate as many other castles in this region: it was burnt down so as to prevent the Germans from using it as a military base.
Still standing and thoroughly renovated are two of castle’s defence towers and the passage linking them together. The present-day castle complex was renovated in the years 1958–61. The towers host a museum and a wedding hall.
The castle grounds also feature a garden called Park kulturnikov (Cultural Park), dedicated to those who have contributed to the intellectual development of the region. And there are many, indeed. Talking about Slovene culture, great poet France Prešeren (1800-1849) went to school to Ribnica as a little boy. Additionaly, the towers of the St. Stephen’s Church (Cerkev Svetega Štefana) in Ribnica were built on plans by the Slovene master of architecture Jože Plečnik (1872-1957).
Preserving the handicraft heritage of the region
Established in 2010, the Public Institute Ribnica Handicraft Centre is responsible for managing the Mikl House Gallery at the main Ribnica square, and the Museum of Ribnica (located at the Ribnica Castle). Additionally, the institute runs the Museum Shop (also web-based, selling various wooden-ware and pottery products) and takes care of the many educational, cultural, and touristic activities related to handicrafts.
Furthermore, the institute is developing local tourism programmes, with the centre also acting as the town’s tourist information office. The Ribnica Handicraft Centre is located in the renovated manor called Marof, next to the Ribnica Castle.
Much to see and learn in Ribnica. You can enrich the experience of your visit with having lunch at traditional restaurant Gostilna Pri Pildarju! Delicious food at only 5 euros per menu!
Let’s hit the road!