The Miners of Bovec

The miner's axe and the cap were obtained by the Tolmin Museum in 1954.

Iron ore was discovered in Trenta in the mid-16th century, which revived the fortunes of the valley. The ore was smelted for almost 200 years. In the late 19th century, increasing poverty lead to the inhabitants of the Bovec region leaving for other countries in search of work – some as loggers in Bosnia, Slavonia and Romania, and most of them in the mines of the neighbouring Austrian lands, as well as Germany, and at a later time Belgium, France, Holland, and America.

When the mine in Cave del Predil (Rabelj) was reopened in the late 19th century, this created new employment opportunities in the immediate vicinity and people from the entire Bovec region worked in the mine. A daily commute was characteristic of the inhabitants of the villages of Log pod Mangartom and Strmec in particular.

On the left side of the road from Bovec to Log pod Mangartom, there is a country road leading to an old, rather damaged exit portal secured with an iron gate. The over-ninety-year old water tunnel carved into bedrock, the so-called "Loški Štoln" (The Log Shaft), is no fewer than 4,860 metres in length. The tunnel was drilled through the Predelska Glava and Ruševa Glava hills in 1905. Soon after opening, it was used on a daily basis by miners from Log pod Mangartom, while a proper baptism of fire followed during World War I. Austrian soldiers laid timberwork over the outflowing water and attached narrow-gauge railway tracks on top of them. The water tunnel was a strategically important transport artery, enabling the safest flow of military equipment and soldiers to the front. There was a lot of traffic passing through it. About ninety miners from Log pod Mangartom alone worked in the mine before Second World II. A battery-powered locomotive with carriages, called Klara, would wait for the miners at Level 13 of the mine shaft to transport them through the tunnel to an iron barrier, which had been built by the Germans in the late 1943 in order to prevent raids by partisan units. After World War II, the barrier would be opened for the train transporting the miners to pass through – this was the case up until 1970.

From then onwards, the miners would get to the mine by bus via the Predel Pass. During the time of Yugoslavia, the portal and the surrounding area were guarded and controlled by soldiers. In late June 1991, the mine siren sounded for the last time and the mine was closed down. What remains today are merely some memories – both bitter and wonderful ones. The Tolmin Museum houses a number mining objects, including parts of the miner's uniform, a miner's cap, and a miner's axe. One of the most interesting items is the miner's axe used as part of the miner's parade costume – it features scenes from work in mineshafts, two miner's hammers, and a stylised torch.

 

Opening time
Tolmin museum, permanent exhibition

Tuesday - Friday: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday,
Holiday: 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Monday closed
closed also Jan 1, Nov 1, Dec 25
Entrance fee
Tolmin museum, permanent exhibition

individuals
adults: 4 €
children, students, seniors: 3 €
preschool children: free
families with chidren up to 15 years: 7,00 €
groups
adults, seniors: 3 €
children, students: 2 €

Tolmin museum, temporary exhibition

adults: 2 €
children, students, seniors: 1 €
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