Life in Potoki in the olden days

An exhibition in ex-dairy in Potoki

From the exhibition

The village of Potoki lies below the sun-bathed slope of Stol, just above the Nadiža river. Although it is one of the smaller and less-known settlements of Breginjski kot, it has an interesting past and many special characteristics. By the end of World War II, most of the villagers were farmers. They made their money by selling milk and milk products, whereas crops, such as maize, potatoes and cabbage, were used mainly for their own needs. The convenient, sunny location also provided excellent conditions for fruit-growing and viticulture, and the nearby forests were ideal for skilled hunters.

Because Potoki is located just off the main road leading from Kobarid to Breginj there were once several inns in the village. Until the middle of the twentieth century, three smaller mills were operating on the streams which run past the village and which gave the village its name. The farmers mowed some forage grass for the cattle and small ruminants on the meadows in the vicinity of the village, but most of it was mowed on steep hay meadows high above the village. On the Božca mountain pasture, just below the ridge of Stol, they have been herding and making excellent cheese from a mixture of cow and sheep milk since 1960.

The earliest periods of settlement between mountains Stol and Mija are mainly evidenced by various archaeological finds, as well as numerous tales and legends. An important holy area in the vicinity is the St. Volar hill. Here stands the Church of St. Hilary and Tatian and, according to legend, the pagan giants “Gejdi” or “Ajdi” had worshiped their gods here even before. Archaeological findings indicate that religious ceremonies in the nearby Turjeva jama cave were being performed as early as the Bronze Age. The rich oral tradition and the still-preserved knowledge of ancient beliefs, healing sites and the use of medicinal plants testify to how strong the people's connection with nature and its elements once was.

The village of Potoki hides countless stories and curiosities. Some of them are on display at a small exhibit at the former village dairy. The first exhibition of photographs, collected in 1951 with fieldwork, was prepared in 2012 by the Slovenian Ethnographic Museum. The existing exhibition was then expanded at the request of the locals in 2019, and supplemented with additional contents and objects. The present exhibition is thus the result of the collaboration between the Tolmin Museum’s curators and the locals, who contributed most of the items and made sure that the rich oral tradition was preserved. Among them, it is worth mentioning Ivo Lavrenčič, who for years has been recording the stories and narratives of his grandmother Giuseppina and other elderly villagers, often in the form of simple rhymes and songs.


Text:  Karla Kofol, Barbara Sosič, Miha Mlinar, Marko Grego
Photographs: Marko Grego, Karla Kofol, Miha Mlinar, SEM
Design: Marko Grego
Publisher: Tolminski muzej with the support of Občina Kobarid

Visit announcement: Ivo Lavrenčič, 051 610 752

Leaflet of the exhibition
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From the exhibition
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