The Geoss Guide

Summary (2006)

The booklet before you, supplements and – in its abbreviated version – summarizes the second edition of the guide through the Geometric Centre of the Republic of Slovenia – Geoss. In comparison with the first edition, which was sold out in 1984, the second edition (1997) was, however technically improved and enriched in terms of its content with new findings and acquisitions, already substantially deficient after nine years. The summary therefore also encompasses some of the more important innovations that came about in the last nine years.

We arranged the descriptions in line with the Geometric Centre of Slovenia Act into two chapters: in the first chapter, we are presenting the narrower Geoss area, in which the monuments with historic and patriotic significance are arranged, and the second, wider area, extends beyond Vače to the prehistoric settlement on Krona.

The Narrower Area

Geoss Design

The Geoss project, entitled »Vače 81 Project« (Projekt Vače 81) at first, was produced by Peter Svetik at the initiative of the then Mayor of Litija, Jože Dernovšek. He commenced with the work in January and completed the project with intensive work already by June of 1981. The Initiative Committee adopted the project in its entirety at its session on 16 June 1981, which is also the birthday of Geoss. Svetik appointed two important associates to work on the project.

The land surveyor Marjan Jenko, based on calculations, has established that the Geometric Centre of Slovenia lies in the immediate vicinity of Vače. An exact calculation showed that it lay in a beautiful location near Slivna where the Geoss memorial marker stands today. The precise determination of the Centre required the exacting graphical, analytical and calculation work, which was performed by Marjan Jenko with the available technology of the Ljubljana Geodesic Institute. The plans for the Geoss memorial marker and the arrangement of the surroundings were produced by the architect Marjan Božič, for which he also obtained a large-enough slab of granite. He personally monitored the stonecutters’ manufacture of the memorial marker and operatively led the arrangement of the immediate surroundings.

The Geoss memorial marker was, simultaneously with the erection of the previous crest of Slovenia and the horticultural and architectural arrangement of the surroundings, handed over to the public at the solemn ceremony on 4 July 1981.

The Beginnings

A group of amateur enthusiasts have performed all the necessary operative works envisaged by the project. In addition to the geodesist and the architect, the group comprised experts of various professional profiles. All of them have performed their tasks as volunteers.

Once the documentation has been prepared, the local inhabitants carried out the necessary physical labour. They were encouraged and led by a local, namely the President of the Committee Jože Kimovec. The works progressed in accordance with the schedule for the first phase of the project.

Later on, especially after 1991 or after Slovenia gained its independence, the project underwent several significant changes. Already on 14 September 1989, a plate with the inscription “We live on and are masters on our own land” (Živimo in gospodarimo na svoji zemlji) was placed on a special pedestal in the presence of the mayors of the Slovenian municipalities. The space around the memorial marker was expanded and paved in 1991, the new crest of the independent Slovenia was installed in 1992, the plate with the inscription of the date of Slovenia’s gaining of independence and its admittance into the United Nations organization was installed in 1994, electrical installations were performed in 1999, the memorial marker to the Slovenian patriot in the war for the independence of Slovenia was erected in 2003, the plate with the inscription of the date of Slovenia’s accession into the European Union was installed in 2004 and the plate bearing the date of the birth of the project was installed in 2005.

As time passed by, the horticultural arrangement was being improved with summer flowers and perennials. The placement of graves, plates and flower beds was rearranged.

Access

The wider and narrower areas of Geoss are located slightly less than 40km from Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana. The area does not have regular bus lines.

The easiest approach by motor vehicles from Ljubljana is by the road leading along the Sava River towards Litija. There is a signpost at Spodnji Hotič that directs visitors towards Vače. We follow the signs and reach a small settlement of Slivna along the local road passing through Vače Geometric Centre of Slovenia, which is approximately 200m away.

If we take the motorway from Ljubljana to Geoss, we leave it at the exit Krtina and proceed through Moravče and at Kandrše take a right toward Vače.

In Trojane from the direction of Maribor, we exit the motorway and head towards Zagorje ob Savi. In Medijske Toplice, we take a right towards Moravče and turn left towards Vače at Kandrše. Once we reach the top, the signpost directs us towards the Geometric Centre of Slovenia.

Role and Significance

Geoss is actually the centre of the plane of our country as it is impossible to determine the centre of an irregular formation such as the outline of state borders. For the purpose of easier understanding, we have simplified the term and designated it as the Geometric Centre of Slovenia or in short – Geoss.

Geoss symbolized the Slovenes being deeply rooted in this territory, their vigour, resilience and defiance as despite the centuries of pressures they did not let themselves be deprived of their nationality; it represents the centuries-long endeavours of Slovenes for their existence and development. The symbol of Sloveneness and Vače, the linden tree – a holy tree for our ancestors – has grown in well until today.

It finally also represents our gaining of independence, our resolute demand that we alone are masters of our land and the only ones to make decisions. To all four corners of the Earth we are spreading the noble idea of ardent culture and the desire for co-operation on equal terms. It symbolises the heart of our country which is common to all Slovenes irrespective of the ideological, religious and other differences.

Geoss offers possibilities for various cultural, sporting and other collective open-air events and state-level visits. In the European Union, Geoss is the only such area protected by law, which also legally substantiates its significance.

Constituent Parts

Of the constituent parts of Geoss the most important is the memorial marker, a beautifully shaped sturdy rectangular column comprising: engraved corners of the sky with inscribed international symbols, a verse from the current national anthem, a list of the sponsors who made the erection of the memorial marker possible and the data on the location (geographic and latitude and longitude coordinates) and the elevation above sea level. The four-part pedestal contains the markings of the points of the sky with a carved cross denoting the Geometric Centre of the Republic of Slovenia.

The Monument to the Patriot was erected by the Union of Veterans of the War for Slovenia and handed over to the public at the cultural event in 2003. The Monument to the Patriot supplements the symbolic heritage of the Geoss memorial marker and rounds off our endeavours for independence, which we achieved following the hardship-filled past of the Slovenian nation.

The area of Geoss was subsequently over the years supplemented and rearranged by the Society. Thus, in the immediate vicinity of the memorial marker on the south side, the following are arranged in a straight line: two crests – the historic (since 1991) and the present crest of the Republic of Slovenia – and (installed on a special pedestal) two plates; the top one bearing the inscription »We live on and are masters on our own land«, erected on 14 September 1989 in the presence of all the Slovenian mayors; and the bottom plate bearing the dates which mark the independence (25 June 1991), the admittance of the Republic of Slovenia into the United Nations organization (2004) and its accession into the European Union (2005).

A linden tree (lime), the symbol of Vače and Sloveneness, was planted on the north side of the memorial marker, which has grown into a mighty tree. There are nine flagpoles arranged in the area of Geoss where the flags of Geoss, the Municipality of Litija, the Republic of Slovenia and the European Union fly at all times. Between the local road and the described monuments, there are the stone-paved space, the arranged supporting walls, a flower bed and the continuously groomed green plot with larches. There is an additionally widened and asphalted space along the road intended either for visitors or for performers or even for the Honour-Guard Company of the Slovenian Armed Forces. The Geoss memorial area is, as appropriate, illuminated by two floodlights mounted on streetlight poles.

Alongside the road from Slivna and just before Geoss, an information board has been erected and provides a brief presentation of the significance of the Geoss memorial marker and the Monument to the Patriot of the War of Independence for Slovenia.

Events

To date, several commemorative-cultural events have established themselves that take place before the Geoss memorial marker and became traditional. All are always held outdoors, regardless of the weather conditions.

The oldest event, began already in 1986, is intended for the Slovenian cultural holiday, 8 February. The Flag Day (Dan zastave) is an event held for the first time in 1998 that commemorates the first raising of the Slovenian flag in 1848 in Ljubljana. The Day of the Union of the Veterans of the War for Slovenia (Dan Zveze veteranov vojne za Slovenijo) is an event, held for the first time in 2003, with which we commemorate the days of 1991, which were a turning point for Slovenia.

Among the now already traditional cultural events, the ones that need mentioning are An Afternoon with the Composer, the Local – Anton Lajovic (Popoldan s skladateljem, domačinom, Antonom Lajovcem), which took place for the first time in 2001, The Young at the Heart of Slovenia (Mladi v srcu Slovenije) (2003) and the performances of selected schools from all over Slovenia. Of the sporting-recreational events the oldest is The March from Litija to Geoss (Pohod iz Litije na Geoss), which was first organized in 1990. The bicycle climb to Geoss is also traditional. These are just the most important cultural and sporting-recreational events as new ones appear year in and year out.

The development of Geoss up till now was based primarily on volunteer work of a few enthusiasts, members of the Geoss Society, the diligent locals from Slivna and some of the friends of Geoss. Without the money contributed by the sponsors and the enduring support of the home Municipality of Litija the project could not have developed to the current level despite the committed volunteer work.

Literature, Souvenirs

There are numerous prospectuses, guides and books about the area of the Geometric Centre of Slovenia; however, these were only available in the Slovenian language until now. The Geoss Guide (Vodnik Geoss) and the In the Heart of Slovenia (V srcu Slovenije) book rank among the most important. The Guide presents succinctly the component parts of the narrower and wider areas until 1997 while the book is a somewhat richer chronology of the realization of the project until 2000.

In recent years, the Project Committee prepared a few postcards and souvenirs. The most interesting among the souvenirs are the miniaturised replica of the famed situla, a 6th century Celtic bronze vessel, from Vače and the Geoss wooden sculpture.

You can place enquiries as to the purchase of the souvenirs by telephone of the Geoss Society (01 / 897 60 95) or with Anka Kolenc (01 / 897 66 80 or 041 896 632). Information is also provided by Jože Dernovšek (040 457 373) and Peter Svetik (041 571 897, e-mail: psvetik@volja.net). You can also write us via electronic mail at jani.kolenc@siol.net or via regular post at the address: Dom Geoss, Vače 10, 1252 Vače, Slovenia.

Law

After more than 20 years of endeavours by the Geoss Society, the significance of Geoss was also realized by the state. Thus it was that in 2003 the Geometric Centre of Slovenia Act was adopted, the only such act in the European Union to date which regulates legally the geometric centre of the country.

Already the following year (2004), the Decree on the Concession for the Management of the Area Belonging to the Geometrical Centre of the Republic of Slovenia was adopted. On its basis, the Geoss Society was granted a concession for the management of the area belonging to Geoss in 2005.

The concession, at least for the time being, pertains only to the narrower Geoss area. For all the components of the project of the wider area, the Committee must secure financial means from other sources. The mentioned legal acts represent a new developmental period for the Geoss project.

The Wider Area

Vače

Vače are located 35km from Ljubljana and lie between Slivna (880m) and Zasavska sveta gora (852m) on the southern slope of the mountain pass into the Moravška dolina valley. The history of Vače in the present day location began with the arrival of the Romans.

Vače has been a rich market town and a privileged settlement with market town rights since the 15th century. Since then, the Romans had judges stationed there and organized weekly fairs, took baths nearby and excavated and founded iron and copper ore.

The central part of Vače is the square with the Church of St. Andrew (cerkev sv. Andreja). The square also has a multi-purpose house with a shop, post office, the headquarters of the Local Community and a kindergarten; alongside the road through Vače, there is the Mrva restaurant. The Geoss Home is located on the same side of the street nearby. Worth a visit is also the parish Church of St. Andrew.

Because of the beautiful location, wonderful vistas and the historic significance, Vače is an extremely attractive excursion point.

Geoss Home

In the house with the house number 10, two important Slovenes were born: Matevž Ravnikar and Anton Lajovic. Commemorative plates for both have been built into the façade of the house. The house was purchased for the »Project Vače 81« Committee (today the Geoss Society) by the Geodesic Institute Ljubljana already in 1984. The Society renovated it later and converted it into a museum with four collections: the geological collection (by the author Stanko Buser), the archaeological collection (by the authors Avgust Stušek and Davorin Vuga), the presentation of important Slovenes born in Vače and its surroundings (by the authors Sandi Sitar and Peter Svetik) and the project documentation (by the author Peter Svetik).

Today, the house is called the Geoss Home. One of the rooms of the house has been allocated for the needs of the Geoss Society. A telephone, a computer and some furniture for the sessions of the Committee have been fitted in it. Numerous paintings donated to the Society by the participants of painting colonies have been hung on the walls of the rooms.

The Parish Church

The beginnings of worship reach back to the 12th century when monks from Stična were coming to Vače. The first church was wooden while the following were built of stone. The majority of these were devastated by fires. The fifth church was also destroyed by the great fire in 1834, which turned the major part of Vače to ashes. The present Church of St. Andrew is the sixth in this location and was consecrated in 1884.

In the Church of St. Andrew, there is the renowned Holy Sepulchre (the work of Czech glaziers) from 1864 and Metzinger’s Stations of the Cross, which was salvaged from the old church. In addition to these, there are numerous other valuables in the church; the paintings in the church are by the painters Matevž Langus, Valentin Janez Metzinger and Fortunat Bergant. The excellent church organ was manufactured in 1967 by the master Fran Jenko while the church clock is from 1838. The sacristy bell bearing the year 1645 must also be mentioned.

The Fossilised Sea Shore

Above the cemetery at Vače – above the meadow – a 3-metre vertical limestone cliff rises, which is a great Miocene attraction (its age is around 13 million years). It stretches 20 meters in width in the east-west direction and is the remnant of the former and now fossilised sea shore.

Traces of clams have been preserved in the limestone. The majority of the remains are of date mussels from the genus Lithophaga. The area also has numerous fossilised oyster shells preserved.

The remnants of the fossilised sea shore at Vače are the most beautiful place in Slovenia and among the most beautiful in the world.

The Avenue of Creativity

The »Avenue of Creativity on Prehistoric Ground« (Aleja ustvarjalnosti na prazgodovinskih tleh) is the name given by the Geoss Society to the road leading from Vače to Klenik. Alongside it, several sculptures have been placed made of oak wood. They were sculpted by self-taught sculptors at the sculpting colony at the end of the 1980’s. The sculptures were placed on the Avenue in 1990.

The sculptures represent events from everyday life, predominantly in Vače: Onward (Naprej), The Spinner (Predica), The Hourglass (Peščena ura), The Wheel of Life (Kolo življenja), The Woman with Flax (Ženska z lanom), The Rift (Razkol) and Tears (Solze). Before entering the Klenik settlement, visitors can take a look at the flax kiln (a lot of flax was produced in Vače in the past).

The Avenue invites people for a pleasant light walk with the simultaneous viewing of all the sculptures, the flax kiln, the birth house of the finder of the situla bronze vessel from Vače – Janez Grilc, the commemorative plates and the enlarged replica of the situla from Vače with a commemorative plate to France Stare.

Situla from Vače

The most renowned excavation find at Vače and in Slovenia in general (in all the periods researched by archaeology) is the so-called situla from Vače. It was excavated by the self-taught antiquarianism enthusiast, the farmer Janez Grilc from Klenik (1860–1931), namely on 17 January 1882. The artefact, which was most probably created at the turn of the 6th century B.C., reflects the traditional influences of the Mediterranean world.

The scenes in the »epic« on the life of the military nobility – perhaps even of the Grand Duke himself – are as follows: the first scene depicts the procession, the second depicts the gift offering, the feast and the dual and the third depicting animals.

The situla from Vače is 23.8cm tall and is made of bronze tin. It has three separate parts bound with bronze rivets. The handle is made of thick ruled wire, which ends in a stylised duck’s head on both ends. The figurative representations are made using the embossing and chasing technique (toreutics). The Haltstadt find is kept by the National Museum of Slovenia in Ljubljana.

At Klenik, the Geoss Society has positioned an approximately five times larger replica of this drinking vessel, which is thus made available for the visitors to view. Next to it is a plate for the most prolific researcher of the area of this prehistoric settlement, Dr. France Stare.

Vače of the Iron Age

Along the Geoss circular path there is a large settlement and burial ground complex, one of the largest in Slovenia and the south-eastern Alpine area.

The surroundings of Vače were populated already during the Neolithic period while the more condensed and planned settlement by the population came about in the beginning of the Palaeolithic period, called the Haltstadt period, in the 8th century B.C. There were a great many finds of older Haltstadt graves with burials by burning (from the period between the 8th and the 7th centuries B.C.). From the graves it is possible to conclude that these were the distinctly wealthy members of the military aristocracy with offerings of weapons and precious objects.

With the onset of the Roman period, the settlement moved to lower locations. The iron hoe is the only find known to exist from this period.

There have been 16 Haltstadt houses excavated in Krona up to now, which have a rectangular shape with foundations made of stones stacked without the use of mortar. These were mud plastered log cabins.

The found iron slag pieces undoubtedly prove that metallurgy and forging flourished in this settlement.

The majority of the excavated valuables are abroad. Excavations were namely led predominantly by foreign researchers …

During the Occupation in the 1941–1945 Period

As the whole of Slovenia, the Vače area was also in the clutches of the occupier. The Sava River was an important traffic artery; in its immediate surroundings, the Italian and German occupiers have divided the Slovenian territory amongst themselves.

The area’s inhabitants immediately took up the rebellion initiative of the Liberation Front. This was the area of operations of the Kamniško-zasavski detachment, which organized numerous diversion raids and maintained the connection over the Sava River – an extremely demanding task because the railway across the Sava River was heavily defended.

A German stronghold was maintained at Vače until July 1944 when the Partisan units planted an explosive in a mail package, which destroyed the stronghold.

The four-year liberation struggle wrote the area of today’s Geometric Centre of Slovenia into our history with red letters.

Hiking and Study Trails

The Geoss commemorative trail runs across the wider Geoss area and leads the visitor through interesting parts of central Slovenia between the Savska and Moravška valleys. The trail is around 30km long. Along the trail, one can see a myriad of cultural-historic sights and natural beauty, but most importantly, the vistas in all directions are something to behold. The trail is truly enjoyable and not too tiring. The Geoss Guide has a map of the trail attached to facilitate orientation on the trail. The commemorative trail is situated at the crossroads where there are no other markings but the markings of the trail that read » Geoss Trail« (Pot Geoss).

In addition to this trail, there is the trail along the Avenue of Creativity on Prehistoric Ground, which is suitable for shorter walks. Among the study trails, I should at least mention the geological, forest and the historic trails. Their lengths vary from 3 to 5km.

Conclusion

In this summary, only the most interesting characteristics of the Geoss project – the Geometric Centre of Slovenia – are presented.

The descriptions should be sufficient for a moderately demanding visitor. Those wishing to get to know this interesting area in greater detail can refer to the given addresses and ensure expert guidance around the area.

We wish all the visitors to have a pleasant stay and get new knowledge on the otherwise small, but interesting Slovenia, from all aspects.

 

 

 

Compiled using the available literature by Anka Kolenc and Peter Svetik in June 2006.

 

Proxy by Datajoy
Udaljenost gradova